Understanding is a foundation for effective problem solving and decision making and knowledge is the key to accurate understanding. Helping my students to achieve better understanding of their world and to master the ways to continuously improve it is what I strive to achieve in my work. Teaching , to me, is not a one-meal served, it is about how to help learners be independent agents in achieving better understanding through scientific knowledge and critical thinking.
Mission and Goal
My teaching philosophy is deeply rooted in my overall mission in life; to leave a positive mark on this world. My ultimate goal in teaching is to effectively teach my students and instill in them the love of knowledge and a passion for continuous-learning. I want my students to understand that learning should take place not only in the classroom, but throughout their everyday lives. I strive to help them be critical thinkers and life-long learners. I view teaching as a great opportunity to serve humanity by helping students enriching their lives and the lives of others through the knowledge they gain.
Values of Human and Knowledge
The value of knowledge and value of humans provide the general guidance for my teaching methods and practices. I believe that scientific knowledge must guide humanity in the pursuit of development and prosperity. Health care is astonishing example where scientific knowledge had led to great advancements in a very short period of human life. Scientific knowledge to me is the key for continuously improving the mental framework, structures and processes that shape our societies and systems. The value of human provides the impetus and incentive for the continuous development and refinements of human knowledge.
My teaching philosophy centers around my core principles and values relative to teaching. These are:
Maintaining a healthy relationship with students and the sincere caring for them is essential to effective teaching. For that, I make it a priority to learn each student name during the first week/s of the semester and to know their interests, areas of strength and areas for improvement. I actively listen to their concerns and use all communication media available to me (face-to-face, email, Facebook, and twitter) to reach them and understand them.
Engagement and Involvement
I believe that student engagement and involvement in teaching is vital for effective learning. For that my approach to teaching involves methods that encourage student active participation and involvement in course activities. I find electronic and social media tools to be very helpful in engaging and keeping students involved in learning process.
The ability to think critically is one of the most valuable skills I try to instill in my students. I believe that an important outcome of teaching is to help students become critical thinkers. Critical thinking skills allow students to build upon the knowledge they gain. To achieve this I try to provide them with an environment and situations that encourages them to utilize logical reasoning and empirical evidence to assess arguments, values, claims, and situations objectively and critically; reach conclusions and deal with their personal biases and preconceptions. More specifically, I try to guide students to ask questions, assess statements, admit ignorance as the start point to better understanding, be curious, examine problems from different perspectives,identify criteria for evaluation, look for evidence and proof, strive to find solutions, actively listen to others, suspend judgment until sufficient data and information are considered, and to change opinions when proper.
The use of technology that benefit teaching and learning is highly valued and pursued by me in teaching my courses. Now, I utilize blackboard, social media outlets, iPhone, emails, cloud computing and other technologies to enhance the effectiveness of communication and reach to available resources.
In the “information age”, information and knowledge are easily available and abundant. The challenge of students in this frontier is the abundance and large amounts of information that they have to examine. I help my students in this regard by identifying for them the most valuable resources relevant to course learning outcomes and I teach them how to evaluate the merit of information and information resources available to them.
I believe that respecting and dealing with diversity and variation among students is vital for effective teaching. Students vary in their cultures, values, readiness to learn, and in their abilities among other things. I must be attentive to students’ reactions and be ready to adapt my methods accordingly. I try to speak at a level that is understandable to most of students. I stop frequently in the middle of class to request students’ questions. I try to make the requirements very clear to all students. I design collaborative assignments, utilizing social media outlets, that involve some kind of team work in which learning outcomes are being achieved by the students while they are leaning from each other (click here for an example).
These principles and values are not independent from each other, they exist in an integrated and interdependent system of thought that provides me with the guidance in setting the ground for teaching and interacting with my students and peers.