Teaching Philosophy - The Edutainer!

Teaching has always come very natural to me. Being such a creative individual really provides me with the ability to think outside of the box and create a very dynamic classroom environment. Coupled with my strong experience in technology and software, I always seek out a variety of ways to utilize creativity and technology, creating an exciting and engaging student-centered learning environment. 

Philosophy


My teaching philosophy is rather simple, and my approach is Socratic in nature. I believe individuals and groups begin to learn when they have coerced out their comfort zones. Just as Socrates engaged his students through discussion, which challenged them while trying to provoke a contradiction in hopes to seek the development of critical thinking skills. It is my belief and experience that when an individual or group leaves their comfort zone, many times this creates a challenging situation for them. If all challenges are clearly identified, assessed, and promotes the practicum an individual begins to have a learning experience. A learning experience leads to retention of information and something learned. I feel each class should provide a student with something valuable to take with them and most importantly something to apply to their future goals and profession.

 

Student-Centered Approach


I promote a classroom that moves away from a traditional pedagogy approach, in which I am the leader, decision maker, and my students are dependent upon me, to an andragogy approach. Knowles (1984) pioneered this new method of teaching, which involved the student becoming the center of learning. Strategies, which I implement to execute this approach involves student-centered activities, meaningful discussions, critical thinking, the use of technology, and a warm and friendly learning environment. The author Greive (2005) encourages teachers to ask themselves: do you support open communication, provide appropriate feedback mechanisms, utilize collaborative learning strategies, do you ensure student needs are met, are students recognized as individuals, and are teaching strategies and techniques varied (p. 32). These are just some of the questions I think about when developing and teaching a class. These questions also help me to improve myself as a facilitator in the classroom.
 

Student Assessment


All learning must end with the assessment of student outcomes. Developing assessments for each task and providing this criterion to students before work will assist students in understanding my expectations for the functions. Assessments are not just a tool to create grades, but a way to lessen student anxiety, provide an understanding of expectations, and further outline what should be accomplished to achieve success.

 

Student Engagement (play)

The Chinese Proverb

 

Tell me; I’ll forget - Show me; I’ll remember - Involve me; I’ll understand!

 

This proverb was something I heard when completing my Masters in Education. This resonated with me. I found through my education and experiences as a teacher that as we all know, students all learn and understand information differently. We have visual learners, auditory learners, and contextual learners. Knowing that there are so many types of learners, how do we engage our students on all these different levels? My method is to create an audible-visual and physical environment. All my lessons contain visuals with lecture along with the Socratic method of discussion. Then I always try to create a situation where students physically engage with the topic or content. I know this may sound strange, but the best way I can explain it is, each student will have the opportunity to touch something that is associated with the topic. Some examples are using arts and crafts to create a visual of the problem, utilize mind-mapping, playing such games as jeopardy and even creating videos. These are just some of the engagement activities that take place in the classroom where students can now touch something that represents what they are learning.  They have the opportunity to play. This method to me makes the Chinese Proverb to an even new dimension, Tell me; I’ll forget - Show me; I’ll remember - Involve me; I’ll understand - Play with me, I’ll Learn. Many studies have demonstrated that playing stimulates the mind making learning that much more meaningful. Meaningful learning many times will provide excellent outcomes and a positive experience for students. 

 

2020 Ronda Mariani