Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Philosophy of Teaching

The Teacher as General Practitioner

I recently read two wonderful books on the medical profession, one by Jerome Groopman (How Doctors Think) and the other by Atul Gawande (Better). I’ve been thinking about how closely the tasks of teachers and doctors are aligned.

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Letting Go of the Reins

Sometimes we are so concerned with following our lesson plans to the letter that we miss what is truly important: teaching moments. A teacher has to learn to listen to his or her class and realize when the moment to abandon the lesson plan has come. This willingness to release some control over the class and allow it to develop more or less organically does not always come easily, however. Goal-induced anxiety can make a teacher reluctant to let go of the reins out of fear that the class will go off in some random direction.

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What to Look for in Teaching Philosophy Statements

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)

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Helping Students Fill Gaps in Basic Knowledge

I once observed in a class in which the instructor returned a quiz. One of the questions indicated that an employee had just received a 10 percent raise. The employee was now making $50,000. The question asked what the employee’s previous salary was.

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Reflecting on Your Teaching Practices

The two nurse educators who authored the article referenced below begin with a quote from the first page of Stephen Brookfield’s book Becoming a Critical Reflective Teacher. “One of the hardest things teachers have to learn is that the sincerity of their intentions does not guarantee the purity of their practice.”

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A Teaching Philosophy Built on Knowledge, Critical Thinking and Curiosity

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.

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Finding the ‘Sweet Spot’ of Teaching and Learning

Avid golfers and baseball players often talk about the elusive “sweet spot.” Find it, and you can make the ball go exactly where you want it to go, almost effortlessly. There’s a sweet spot to teaching, too. And, just like in sports, it takes a little experimentation to find and is a thing of beauty when you get it right.

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The Pietas of Teaching

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.

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Reflective Teaching Strategies to Promote Student Autonomy

The two nurse educators who authored the article referenced below begin with a quote from the first page of Stephen Brookfield’s book Becoming a Critical Reflective Teacher. “One of the hardest things teachers have to learn is that the sincerity of their intentions does not guarantee the purity of their practice.”

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Philosophy of Teaching Statement Focuses on Student Learning

My philosophy of teaching can better be described as a philosophy of learning. In order to be an effective instructor, I must focus on student learning and adjust my teaching strategies in response to the pace and depth of student understanding. I view teaching as an interaction between an instructor and a student; thus, the impact of this interaction on learning, rather than my activities as an instructor, is of primary importance.

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