A class I'm taking this spring has introduced me to the concept of the teaching philosophy. In my 20 years as a non-formal educator, I have thought a lot about how and why I teach, but I have now fully experienced the power of documenting and sharing that philosophy.
Why should non-formal educators understand and develop their own teaching philosophy?
Barbara Bowers, a nursing professor at University of Wisconsin - Madison, in a Chronicle of Higher Education article says, ". . . the purpose of the teaching statement is to be self-reflective, to identify where you might need some help from others, or you might need to do a little more work on your own to improve, and to look at which of your strategies are effective and which ones aren't."
The purpose of a teaching philosophy is both summative and formative, according to the University of Minnesota Center for Teaching and Learning. In their tutorial, Writing a Teaching Philosophy, they identify knowing your teaching philosophy as essential to develop for search committees and teaching portfolios, and just as important for self-reflection and improving your teaching.
Can you articulate the following when it comes to your teaching style?
- What are your aspirations and goals as an educator? For your students?
- What does your learning environment look like?
- How do you assess learning?
- What measures do you use to improve your teaching?
- Why is teaching important to you?
- Social Reform
Have you taken the teaching perspectives inventory -- or something similar? Do you find it valuable? How do you use this knowledge about yourself?
-- Nicole Pokorney, Extension educator, educational design and development
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