March 28, 2013

How to Handle Student Excuses

By:

“Grandpa’s heart exploded, but he’s fine now,” one student reported the morning after missing a scheduled exam. “I caught dyslexia from another student last semester,” responded another when his teacher asked him about all the spelling mistakes in his paper. And then there was the pet rabbit that swallowed a needle on the day of the big group presentation. Excuses like these are so preposterous that they can’t help but make us laugh, but dealing with them is no laughing matter.


December 4, 2012

Strategies for Writing Better Teaching Philosophy Statements

By:

Teaching philosophy statements are now prepared for a variety of reasons: as part of a job application process; to be included in a promotion and tenure dossier; for a teaching award; or to foster reflection about how and why you teach. Regardless of purpose, the goal ought to be preparation of statements that reveal those beliefs and practices characteristic of an individual teacher. Writing teaching philosophy statements that accurately describe the instructional self isn’t easy, given that so many of us begin teaching careers with little training and continue them with episodic professional development. A set of resources can do much to assist the process and an impressive collection appears in the article referenced below.



April 18, 2011

What Students Want: Characteristics of Effective Teachers from the Students' Perspective

By:

As an undergrad, I put myself through school waiting tables – a truly humbling experience that made me a better instructor. With a mission of 100% customer satisfaction and my livelihood on the line, the patron’s experience became my highest priority.

Taking that mindset into the classroom, I strove for 100% student satisfaction – within the confines of academic integrity, of course – and achieved great results. It turns out, oddly enough, that students love being important, valued, respected, and honored. And through the resulting faculty-student connection, students willingly transform into vessels of learning.


September 15, 2010

Being Ariadne: Helping Students Find Their Way

By:

Thinking and writing metaphorically is often a recommended way to clarify one’s approach to teaching. Having a particular mental image provides a reference point, or compass, to guide teaching decisions and actions. There are many interesting and colorful characters in Greek mythology that might serve as possible metaphorical models for teaching faculty.


April 27, 2010

Transforming Your Teaching Style: A Student-Centered Approach

By:

When I started teaching 27 years ago, like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz I believed that just having a brain would make me successful. And so each class session I would literally “take the stage” on a raised platform to deliver what was in my head and on my papers. Even though there were 60 students in the class, there could just as well have been none because I basically ignored the students. They were objects, sponges whose task was to absorb course content.


December 29, 2009

What to Look for in Teaching Philosophy Statements

By:

What should faculty reviewers look for in a teaching philosophy statement of a candidate? Correspondingly, what should those applying for academic positions put in a teaching philosophy statement? The author of this article suggests models of teaching and learning. Of learning, he writes, “Candidates should demonstrate knowledge of models of how students learn, how best to encourage learning, and how to assess whether learning has occurred.” (p. 336)



September 18, 2009

A Teaching Philosophy Built on Knowledge, Critical Thinking and Curiosity

By:

I believe that success – whether personal or professional – is generated from three critical building blocks: knowledge, critical thinking, and curiosity. These building blocks have an enduring, cyclical relationship; knowledge helps us to understand the world around us as well as ourselves, critical thinking gives us the ability to incorporate knowledge and apply it endlessly, and curiosity, which is the result of realizing the limitations of current knowledge, drives us to acquire additional knowledge.


August 19, 2009

The Pietas of Teaching

By:

Recently, I encountered a snag in my teaching. Unlike past difficulties connected to particular classroom challenges, this one was more pervasive. For several months I contemplated the cause of this “bigger” dilemma. Upon reflection it became evident that my off-balance feeling was linked to the pietas of teaching.