I believe that education should be accessible and adaptable to anyone who is open and willing to learn. I also believe that the goal of education is for the student to grow and develop as an individual first, and that if a student successfully learns; credentials and career success will follow. I believe in the student centered classroom. I believe that learning is the most powerful when students create connections between their experiences and the ideas that they encounter in the classroom. I believe that my role as instructor is to act as a scaffold as my students work with and grow into new ideas and processes.
My goals as an instructor and as a mentor to my students are twofold; first, for the students to embrace the concept that learning is a lifelong process and is not intrinsically tied to a grade or external outcome, and secondly, that they make connections between the classroom and their external lives and careers. To meet these goals, I strive to create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable to take risks and to fail and to create authentic assessments that allow the students to bridge the classroom to their external worlds. I focus on the developmental process, making myself approachable and available to my students so that they can receive individualized coaching if they desire, and make clear that I am more focused on seeing development and improvement over the course of the semester rather than perfection on an individual assessment.
Recognizing that my students all have unique skills, abilities, experiences, intelligences and learning styles; I strive to structure class time and lessons so that students can be exposed to new material from a variety of angles. Topics are introduced through reading and expanded upon in class through the review of exemplar videos, classroom discussion, and modeling. Students work with this new knowledge by constructing their own pieces, and through drafts, editing and revision develop their thinking and skills. Students are able to transfer their knowledge and skills from one topic to another, growing over the course of the semester and ending in a very different place both developmentally and technically.
Peer review and personal reflection are integral components of my approach to learning. The students’ self reflection on their performance and learning process prompts them to integrate their learning and practice and think about future applications. Reviewing and commenting on the performance of other students engages the students in critical reflection and assessment of others, which strengthens their concept of the subject matter and allows them to integrate the behaviors of their fellow students into their own practice.
I gauge my effectiveness in the classroom in seeing my students transfer and apply their skills in other contexts. I know that I have done my job well when my students come back to me and tell me that they utilized skills or knowledge that we covered in class at work or in their personal life. It is because of this I continually strive to grow my knowledge of my subject areas as well as develop my pedagogical skills; so that I can maximize the transferability and durability of the knowledge and skills that I present to my students.