My primary aim as a faculty member is to create an enriching educational environment that not only fosters academic excellence but also contributes to the personal growth of each student. I understand that effective teaching transcends mere knowledge transmission; it shapes how students engage with and interpret the world. By crafting courses that are intellectually stimulating and incorporating active learning strategies, I aim to enhance my students' capacity to retain and apply the knowledge they acquire.
In my role, I see myself as a facilitator who paves the way for my students to achieve their full potential. To that end, I employ a range of carefully selected methods. Accessibility is one of my foremost priorities; I promptly respond to all student queries and calls for clarification. Since my courses prepare students for careers in education, the focus extends beyond mere grade accumulation. Instead of traditional grading systems, I implement a mastery-learning approach, which emphasizes the acquisition of vital skills and knowledge.
One of the distinguishing features of my teaching philosophy is the iterative feedback loop. Students are encouraged to submit preliminary drafts of their assignments for constructive feedback, which they can then integrate before final submission. This method ensures that they have ample opportunities for formative feedback throughout the course.
As an educator who prepares future teachers, it's imperative that I model both exemplary pedagogical practices and deep pedagogical content knowledge. In alignment with current research on preservice teacher preparation, I diversify my teaching methods to present new material and revisit previous content effectively. I also demonstrate specific techniques aimed at enhancing student learning, serving as a live case study for my students, who will soon have to adapt these methods in their own classrooms
During the 2013-2014 academic year, I had the privilege of teaching two critical undergraduate courses at Blue Lake University: EDU 201 - Classroom Management and EDU 401 - Curriculum Development. Both courses were designed to offer a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills tailored to meet the distinct needs of future educators.
EDU 201 - Classroom Management: In this course, my primary objective was to provide future educators with a robust framework for effectively managing classroom environments. The course was structured to cover key aspects such as discipline management, fostering student engagement, and creating an inclusive learning space. I made it a point to cover the art and science of classroom management, laying down both theoretical principles and actionable strategies.
However, students expressed a desire for more group work activities and fewer quizzes. I took this feedback to heart, and in the Spring 2004 semester, I reduced the number of quizzes and introduced more collaborative assignments. This was reflected in the student evaluations for that term, which scored me higher compared to the Fall 2003 semester.
EDU 401 - Curriculum Development: This advanced course was aimed at equipping students with the skills required to design, evaluate, and implement effective educational curricula. Students not only delved into the theories and principles but also gained hands-on experience in curriculum planning, instructional design, and assessment strategies.
Student feedback in the Fall 2013 term suggested the inclusion of more recent articles and an expansion of topics in online discussions. After more than just consideration, I updated the course materials and discussion topics to align with this feedback in Spring 2014. The result was a tangible improvement in student evaluations.
Teaching Related Professional Development: I believe in lifelong learning. During this academic year, I also took part in teaching-related professional development. I completed two Google Certified Educator workshops, each designed to enhance my skills in integrating technology into the classroom. Level I introduced me to the basics, while Level II validated my abilities to implement technology at an advanced level.
I attribute the improvement in student evaluations to the proactive measures I took in adapting my teaching methods and curriculum based on student feedback. I firmly believe that higher scores in the Spring 2014 semester evaluations were not a stroke of luck but a direct result of these adjustments. My experience during the 2013-2014 academic year reaffirmed my belief in the importance of receptivity to student feedback as a means for continuous improvement.
One of the most gratifying aspects of my academic career has been the opportunity to teach first-year courses. The prospect of working with students at the dawn of their academic journeys fills me with a sense of purpose and joy. Their curiosity and eagerness to learn reinvigorate my own passion for teaching. But most of all, I appreciate the mutuality of the learning experience: while I may guide them through the rudiments of their chosen fields, they continuously inspire me to refine my pedagogical methods. In pursuit of teaching excellence, I have actively incorporated student feedback into course improvements. For instance, when students suggested more interactive activities, I introduced collaborative exercises designed to foster critical thinking and peer learning. Furthermore, I constantly engage with research-based strategies to inform my teaching practices. This symbiosis between research, student feedback, and classroom application has significantly enhanced the effectiveness and relevance of my courses. Nonetheless, the journey towards teaching excellence is a never-ending process, and I am fully aware that there is always room for growth. While I've made strides in fine-tuning my teaching methods and strategies, I recognize that the academic landscape is ever-evolving. Therefore, my commitment to professional development remains steadfast, driven by the desire to continuously learn, adapt, and provide the best educational experience for my students.