My Philosophy Statement as a Facilitator for Learning
I constantly push my students to extend themselves beyond their comfort zone as they face new experiences, so it’s only fair to do the same to myself! I believe I cannot lead where I am not going and cannot give what I don’t have. Teaching in Computer science demands flexibility, as the field is dynamic and practical. My conception of teaching and learning is a two-way process and as such, I value the feedback provided by my students. The challenge noticeable and communicated informs me constantly of the need to relook at different approaches to facilitate learning. I believe that I am not the magic in the classroom; my students should have hands-on experience in working out solutions through problems rather than just being feed with theoretical sermons on the subject. The impact of a hands-on experience tends to stay for a much longer time.
Teaching Goals and Implementation
I define my key role as a Lecturer as that of inculcating curiosity in learning the various concepts and techniques. To facilitate this, I will keep my classes interactive. I will also introduce discussion sessions that may incorporate different learning and teaching styles such as group discussions, personal lecture reflections, and practical lab sessions. I would also invite industry partners to come and interact with my students for them to have an appreciation of what it is like out there in the industry and orient them to the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) assessment expectations as their course is one of the key aspects that have to be demonstrated practically in industry.
My approach to the whole learning process is guided by the philosophy that, students are ultimately responsible for their own learning. As a Lecturer, I have a responsibility to help my students gain an understanding of the material and applications of that material practically. If I can teach my students how to discover answers on their own, I would have given them capabilities, they can use well past the end of a particular course and skills that will be valuable in their future professional development. I would rather teach them how to fish rather than giving them the fish.
Assessment of Goals
I would also like to keep my courses flexible. For example, students can have the option of pursuing a bigger project instead of doing multiple smaller ones. Given the subjective nature of the evaluation of projects, I will pay careful attention to the evaluation criterion as I value progressive evaluation over the semester through assignments, projects and quizzes rather than just through tests. Above all, I will ensure that my assessment is fair and just and conforms to the institution’s Teaching, Learning and Assessment framework.
A major pillar of my teaching style is that I recognise that on many occasions the importance of varying teaching strategies will appeal to the different learning styles and preferences as Kolb’ learning style inventory broadly explains. I believe that it’s important to convey to students that the set rubrics are a guide to some of the expectations on any given assessment and they should not feel restricted to explore further solutions, as this will build in them a sense of creativity and reaching for their best. By taking this approach, I can help students hone their skills towards practical implementations for their professional growth.
I use a variety of techniques to motivate my students. The easiest technique is to convey enthusiasm for the course topics. Most of my enthusiasm comes from my love of teaching, but my enthusiasm also comes from recognition of the technical and societal implications of computer science topics. In most cases, students become enthusiastic in response to my very active lecture and discussion style. The use of examples from real life also provides a source of motivation; associating topics from the classroom with either current events or my professional experiences helps show the students why the topics being covered are useful and important.
I leverage mostly on research to improve on the relevance and current updates on the courses. Besides discipline specific research, I embark on research that provides useful teaching, learning, assessment and curriculum development techniques to equip myself with the necessary skills for facilitating learning and continuously work on improving my teaching approach. I am open to try new ideas and approaches in an attempt to keep improving as a Lecturer than never trying something new out of fear that it won’t work. I embrace all my students without a focus on their personal backgrounds be it race, color or creed.
My teaching philosophy ultimately speaks to these key goals: to always challenge my students to excel and expand their capabilities; to always challenge myself to do the same in my teaching, using my computer science education research to support my improvement efforts; and to constantly explore and implement exciting new curriculum innovations and be a role model in my respective department as I carry the flag of the of the Teaching and Learning Change Agent.