I am from China, and my philosophy of teaching is a combination of both the Eastern and Western cultures. From the Eastern culture, I bring to my teaching high expectations for my students and a very nurturing environment through individual interaction and assistance. I view teaching as a very challenging yet rewarding responsibility, which not only imparts knowledge of a discipline but also inspires intellectual growth. From the Western culture, I value the diversity of learning styles and student experiences.
As a teacher, I want students to feel personally changed by their participation in a course I teach, and I think this value is shared by both Eastern and Western cultures. Learning is most likely to happen when students become personally engaged with the material and perceive the subject matter to be directly relevant to their own lives. I want my students to be successful, and I provide resources necessary for them to achieve goals; however, I do expect rigor and effort on their part. Most of my courses are designed on the basis of Constructivist “Learning by Doing” (Dewey, 1897) and Cooperative Learning (Johnson & Johnson, 1997) theories. In my various teaching experiences, I have employed a variety of strategies to meet my students’ where they are with the following being standard ones.
- Understanding the diversity of learning styles and student experiences, through a more detailed self-introduction using Blackboard Discussions or other online tools, has helped me make course materials relevant and foster critical thinking skills.
- The learning environment that I create values students’ ownership of their learning and promotes students’ responsibility for learning. I ask each individual what they will bring to the class and how each person can contribute to creating a classroom that is stimulating and respectful of diverse views and experiences. Students develop their real-world and performance-based instructional design projects not just to submit to the instructor for a grade, but also to share with one another as an authentic audience.
- Providing access to my expertise is also a priority in my teaching. I actively encourage dialogue with students during office hours, by appointment, through telephone, online discussions, emails, video conferencing or online surveys. I have an open door policy, and value the time I spend visiting with students and getting to know them on a personal basis.
I know I am successful in my teaching when students tell me that they have learned “to apply the skills to their work” or “to think more critically about …” I believe it is an honorable responsibility of a professor to uphold the quality or standards of a graduate program at a higher education institute. My teaching philosophy has been influenced by my cultural background. What has influenced yours? I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed. School Journal, 54:77-80.
Johnson, R. T. & Johnson, D. W. (1997) Cooperative learning: Two heads learn better than one. Transforming Education (IC#18), Winter 1988, Page 34, Copyright (c)1988, 1997 by Context Institute. http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC18/Johnson.htm