Effective teaching is a critical component – indeed the most important component – of any teacher education program. Not only is it important to clearly communicate the course content to the students through my instruction, I view my classroom instruction as an opportunity to model strong, effective teaching practices for the current and future teachers who are in my classes.
The ultimate aim of my teaching is, as John Dewey once indicated, to bring about a better condition of things than existed earlier. In our current educational climate, a better condition may be defined as increasing the achievement of K-12 students in an era of growing diversity and accountability. I believe that the most effective way to better the conditions for public school students is to provide them with teachers who have a high skill level in both content and pedagogy, since it is clear that teacher quality is a significant factor in student achievement.
The specific goal that I have for the students in my class is to maximize their learning. This does not simply mean that the students will be required to obtain and remember information presented in class; rather, they are required to apply their learning in the field with K-12 students. Students can only apply what they have seen modeled and what they themselves have experienced. Because I expect my students to deliver effective instruction that includes research-based practices and learning experiences that are engaging, motivating, and developmentally appropriate for students, I model that type of instruction in class. A high level of student involvement is encouraged within a student-centered, supportive environment.
In this section, I will describe my teaching responsibilities during my time here, my teaching philosophy and goals, assessment information related to my teaching, my efforts to improve my teaching practice, and academic advisement and other professional interactions with students.
I believe that my primary responsibility is to prepare the most effective educators for their entrance into K-12 schools – teachers who know the content and use research-based practices, teachers who are reflective and are able to problem solve and work collaboratively to meet the needs of all learners, while supporting those who need more, and challenging those who are ready to soar. I realize that the prospective educators that I teach are dependent upon me to help them become that teacher. I believe that I contribute to their development through my effective instruction in my courses. While I have been a professor, I have taught several undergraduate and graduate courses. They are as follows:
Graduate Courses Taught
ED 511, Introduction to Education
ED 593, Teaching Social Studies in Elementary Schools
ED 594, Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Schools
ED 5023, Test & Measurements
Undergraduate Courses Taught
ED 101, Introduction to Education
ED 306, Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Schools
ED 315, Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary Schools
ED 1202, Advocacy, Collaboration, and Cooperative Learning
ED 1204, Engaging Young Children
ED 2212, Historical and Philosophical Foundations of American Education
ED 3424, Integrated Math and Science
ED 3232, Measurement and Evaluation
SPED 3143, Introduction to Exceptional Children
Teaching Philosophy and Goals:
My teaching philosophy is grounded in inquiry and mutual scholarship, in which all of my classes are transformed into societies of pedagogues and pupils. In my instruction, I develop standards of interaction so that class discussions and activities occur in an atmosphere of reciprocal trust and respect. In this atmosphere, individual academic influences are nurtured and acknowledged, and critical reflection and scholarly engagement becomes commonplace. Not only has this been my scholarly disposition throughout my career, but it reflects my personal conceptual framework; this empowerment-oriented model of instruction fosters academic excellence, collaboration, diversity and lifelong learning.
Education is a radically optimistic endeavor; education has the potential to serve as a transcendent power in the world by engendering equity and justice. As a professor, I am flexible, and I expose students to a myriad of issues that define the art of teaching. Further, I help them both discover and develop their own perspectives on pertinent topics. My philosophy of teaching reflects my conviction that fostering a culture of critical thinking is the most efficient way to help students construct knowledge and develop critical thinking skills. Since I have been a professor, I have had the privilege of teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses, and I am satisfied with the results. I have taught several different courses and I have received positive, constructive evaluations from my students.
It is important that professors remember that our students are not simply mini-versions of ourselves, as their learning environment is significantly different from the environments in which we learned. For today’s learners, the use of digital tools is an everyday occurrence. They come to school prepared to learn at various levels through the use of an assortment of interactive mediums and leveraging multiple intelligences. Many of our candidates are technologically savvy, and they expect us to model techniques that may serve as an example of how they might effectively teach their K-12 students in the information age.
I believe that I provide students with advantageous learning experiences – ones that expand their methods of instruction and scholarship. I further complement these with innovative methods that can be applied to extend their present teaching practice. In addition, I stay abreast of current research and trends in my discipline by reading specialized reports, monographs and empirical studies, as well as participating in other professional growth activities. I am a member of educational organizations that inform my teaching, and I have an ongoing research agenda that is related to my instruction.
Finally, as a professor of education, I believe it is important to model effective instructional practices and to foster scholarship opportunities for my students so that they can increase their understanding, reflect on their learning, challenge themselves, and gain knowledge through their own experiences. I use research-based instructional strategies that are grounded in sound educational theory and are based primarily in socially constructed learning theory. My courses require students to complete intricate tasks, often in peer groups, and to amalgamate information to create their own understanding of a content area. I ask that my students acquire technology skills and concepts and use them to address real-world problems. These developments follow from a hieratic premise of instruction that suggests that subject matter becomes momentous, and consequently comprehensible, and is used in context-rich activities. I believe that professors who use this strategy will be better able to offer a superior educational experience to their students.
Efforts to Improve Teaching Practices:
I consider myself to be an insightful practitioner; therefore, I am personally and professionally obligated to excellence. I consistently reflect on my instructional practices and outcomes in each individual course, and I seek both regular and extemporaneous student feedback. These may provide the foundation for alterations in instructional approach. In semester-long courses, I utilize a midterm feedback sheet in which I ask for direction on what the students believe is going well and what they need in order to increase their learning. This provides me with critical insight into students’ perception about the course, including specific feedback on my instruction and reflection on their own performance.
Academic Advising and Other Professional Interaction With Students:
During my time as a professor, I have had the opportunity to engage in informal discussion with students who have requested to meet with me as well as formal meetings with my advisees. These discussions have provided me with helpful insight on a variety of levels and topics. I take pleasure in getting acquainted with individuals who have dedicated substantial time and capital to obtaining a degree in education.