Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is a myriad of best practices supported by human learning theories of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.  For example, I adhere to the need to show measurable outcomes which is rooted in  behaviorism; an example would be the utilization of measurable objectives (aka SMART goals).  Moreover, I use positive reinforcement to enhance learning.  On the other hand, I use Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory to address misconceptions.  For instance, I coined a term called, “smart mistakes”.  These type of errors are often based on preconceived rules, such as regular verb formation applied incorrectly to irregular verbs or the application of false cognates to a second language.  I strive to recognize the source of the student’s mistake, and then guide them (scaffolding) to the correct response.  Personally speaking, students respond favorably to positive remarks, especially with error correction; additionally, peer remediation is a powerful tool which can be staged via cooperative learning.

In addition, I adhere to cognitivist’s self-regulated learning.  For example, I’m a constant learner myself who reflects on my own understanding of a topic or methodology and seeks ongoing education.  My philosophy spills over in  my teaching; I believe students learn by applying their knowledge in building their understanding of a subject.  Teachers teach best as facilitators, allowing students to demonstrate their skills or knowledge in a student-directed classroom.  Students need opportunities to lead class discussions, work on collaborative projects, and evaluate their peers.  Moreover, I acknowledge that the transfer of knowledge isn’t automatic and must be facilitated via coaching (Speck) and other follow-up support, so that it’s sustained.

I believe that adult students are autonomous, goal-oriented, practical, and need respect and motivation (Knowles).  I focus on the factors for motivating students to enroll in the course and try to enhance their learning and decrease any barriers.  I recognize that learning occurs within each individual at different speeds.  I describe how this is natural and not a deficiency in order to reduce anxiety (Krashen’s affective filter).

I believe learning results from a stimulation of the senses.  In some students, one sense is used more than others are for learning or recall (i.e. learning styles).  Therefore, I present material and provide various learning platforms that stimulate as many senses as possible, in order to increase my chances of teaching successfully.  Additionally, I strive to reduce any barriers for persons with disabilities by providing adaptive technology and/or modifications to material.

I integrate four critical elements into my lesson design: motivation, reinforcement, retention, and transference.  Motivation is created when you set a positive tone for the lesson, an appropriate level of concern, and an appropriate level of difficulty.   I reinforce their efforts, no matter how small.  I ensure they’ve learned the benchmarks and are able to recall (retention) and apply new knowledge (application) to a concept.

I provide appropriate and timely feedback.  I believe students need to practice what they’ve learned.  I utilize Bloom’s higher order thinking skills in order to interact with students at a deeper level.  For example, I have students  ask their peers questions in small group to improve their understanding via analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  For example, students can evaluate each others presentations using rubrics and share their feedback.

I recognize that not all learners enjoy or benefit from group work.  Consequently, I utilize peer tutoring which, in my opinion, has a strong impact on both the giver and receiver of the instruction.  Peer tutoring can occur cross-grade levels, among the community F2F or online, or within the classroom.  For example, Skype in Education is a great two-way learning platform to match learners with peers.  Last but not least, teachers can learn from their students!

In summary, my philosophy of teaching adheres to a pragmatic approach, which focuses on the students’ individual needs and expected learning outcomes.  Online learning platforms and/or regular classrooms can provide multiple opportunities to address each student’s need appropriately.  Students appreciate explicit and timely instruction and correction from a thoughtful teacher.  Online learning can be as fulfilling as face-to-face (F2F) instruction in the traditional classroom if the instructional designer appropriately provides authentic learning activities from meaningful content.   However, it’s my belief that hybrid classes are most likely the best learning situation to meet the needs of all students due to learning styles, disabilities, and the innate need for human contact.  Please contact me to learn more.

Sandra Rogers

8 Responses to “Teaching Philosophy”

  1. bill coscarelli November 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    I stumbled upon the blog when you wrote about Instructional Development recently . As one of the first IDers (1977) in the field and now a retired prof, I have enjoyed reading your thoughts.

    I would encourage you to revisit the Bloom figure though. The use of the verbs, tied to Bloom level, is misleading–though commonly done. The critical part of an objective is the condition statement–that is what shifts the Bloom level. For example, I could ask you to LIST three reasons why leaning failed in a situation. If you were testing on the topic as you presented it in lecture–then you are at the Knowledge level as they would be repeating what was covered in the classroom case. If you give a previously unencountered learning experience and ask the test taker to LIST the three reasons learning failed, then you are going to be above Knowledge. Which level above knowledge will be dependent on the previous learning experience.

    In passing, I might add there is a New Bloom; but I find Dave Merrill’s work more prescriptive for the classroom.

    • teacherrogers November 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback, Bill! I agree that the Bloom figure was an adaptation. I removed it and will find his original taxonomy.

  2. Mark Armstrong October 26, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    I was intrigued by the part about students bringing different “senses” (and to different degrees) to the learning process, and how you respond by deliberately trying to “hit” as many senses as possible to maximize your chances of successfully communicating with your students.

    You certainly have a very well thought out philosophy! Wishing you all the best.

    • teacherrogers October 28, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      Hi Mark, Thanks for your positive feedback. I actually put a lot of thought into my teaching philosophy. In fact, I recently updated it as I applied new information from an educational psychology grad class I took over the summer. I’m honored to have you visit my blog. I really like the illustrations you do.

  3. teacherrogers June 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Glad to see so many “tweets” about my philosophy! Hope to get some feedback.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Blogging4Broke » Blog Archive » Personal Branding for this 21st Century Educator - November 8, 2011

    [...] potential employers, students, and my professional peers.  I personally believe that by sharing my teaching philosophy with others, it challenges me to revisit my long-held ideals about teaching.  In fact, it’s a [...]

  2. Personal Branding of this Sandra Rogers « TeacherRogers' Blog - October 21, 2011

    [...] My Teaching Philosophy [...]

  3. Instructional Design & Development Model for an Online Course « TeacherRogers' Blog - October 8, 2011

    [...] My Teaching Philosophy [...]

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