A Tale of Two Voices: PDS Journeys of Junior Faculty: National Association for Professional Development Schools, March 9-12, 2011 New Orleans, LA (With Claudette Thompson)
The central tenet of my teaching philosophy is that learning is something that occurs throughout life. As an adult and teacher, I am continuously learning and re-learning concepts as well as applying them in a variety of situations. This requires me to have a base of knowledge in order to learn the concepts and know how to apply them in a wide array of circumstances.
As a teacher it is my responsibility to provide my students with the basics they will need in order to become lifelong learners. In other words, I am responsible for guiding my students in the discovery of knowing how to learn new concepts and how to use them in new ways. They need to learn how to learn on their own. Teaching students to learn how to learn requires a teacher to play a variety of roles as well as knowing when and how to employ them.
First, there are times when the teacher is the “sage on the stage” presenting relevant information for students in the form of lectures. Didactic instruction is necessary at times to quickly and concisely present essential information that students will need. Another role the teacher has is that of facilitator. In this role the teacher needs to be an active listener in order to come to an understanding of what the student knows in order to know how best to direct instruction for the student.
It also means that the teacher needs to use observational skills as well to see how the student is using information. In this role the teacher is evaluating what knowledge the student has and how it is being put to use. This allows the teacher to determine if there are any misperceptions that need to be corrected as well as how the information is being used at present and how it could be furthered. This provides the teacher with information that leads to the choice of appropriate instruction.
Guiding students in academic content knowledge and application is one role the teacher plays. Lifelong learning also includes how to be good citizens.
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