My education, as a student and as a teacher, has allowed me to refine my beliefs and develop a teaching philosophy that is reflective of my experiences. I believe the purpose of education is to allow all people, regardless of identity and/or circumstance to have access to knowledge. I am extremely passionate about teaching and learning, not only for my students, but for myself as well. There are four components that drive my teaching philosophy: diversity, authenticity, inspirational, and experiential.
Diversity – I believe that students learn best when they have access to a variety of pedagogical methods. I truly believe that we all learn and are engaged in a variety of ways. My diverse approach allows all students to become engaged in my lessons. I lecture, lead discussions, and allow my students to lecture and lead discussions, while also providing hands-on experiences. For example, when designing a media and technology lesson on exploring curriculum, I allow my students to choose from a variety of presentation styles. For example, students can make a video, a presentation slideshow, make a cartoon, record audio, or type on a document. I embody diversity and equity within and beyond the classroom by providing opportunities for all learners. I am inclusive in my teaching by encouraging students from a variety of backgrounds, abilities, and experiences to enhance my courses with their expertise. I also diversify the learning experiences by including a variety of perspectives, including local, international, and indigenous points of view.
Authenticity – When working with students I strive to create authentic lessons. I believe that students learn best when they are able to work through real-life, authentic scenarios. When working with teacher educators, I create activities that they can use in their classroom practice. For example, my students work in groups exploring media and technology inquiry-based lessons that they share and teach. I let the teachers/students choose their own subject, grade, and inquiry level to use in their own classrooms and teaching. I also encourage a choice of media and technology that is what the teachers have access to, whether that is high or low technology options. I provide practical skills and understandings that can be used in their own practice. By providing authentic learning for my students they are able to develop transferable skills such as oral and verbal communication, problem solving, and critical thinking. I communicate clearly, logically and effectively through these authentic practices.
Inspirational – When I teach, it is my chance to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching and learning. I develop confidence and understanding for my students and they are able to further my understanding and knowledge. As a teacher of media and technology, I inspire enthusiastic integration, while maintaining a high level of critical thought. I develop a strong rapport with my students through active listening, humour, support, and actions that improve the learning environment. I am very passionate about education and want my students to become passionate as well. I encourage them to become designers of their own education. One way that I encourage this passion is by scaffolding lessons and units to encourage students to strive to their best ability. I give students an opportunity to share their pre-existing knowledge and beliefs. As the students share their ideas, not only are they able to learn from their classmates, but I learn from them as well. Together, as I facilitate and guide them, my students are able to construct new knowledge that builds upon their previous knowledge. I am extremely supportive of my students in any need, including academic and social support.
Experiential – I believe that students learn best when they get hands-on experiences. Hands-on experiences can include small or large group discussion by sharing their ideas or thoughts, creating or producing something, such as a video or website, and teaching other students a variety of skills or ideas. I know that my students highly value the hands-on experiences. I often bring iPads or have interactive websites, so that my students are engaging with interactive pedagogically chosen apps (i.e., PuppetPals or iMovie) or websites (i.e., Pixton) or interactive games or activities (i.e., Kahoot or Plotagon) to engage in the activity. I provide opportunities for hands-on interactive lessons in my daily teaching, which also allows me an opportunity to provide both oral and written constructive feedback.
I acknowledge that I still have much to learn to be an effective educator. As I continue to grow and learn, I am evolving. Ongoing assessment of my teaching style refines my practice. As I interact with students and colleagues, I continue to adapt and refine my practice to become a more effective educator, which is grounded in my passion for teaching and learning.