Another post from my Learning Journal written for the course, Foundations of Teaching and Learning.
Starting in a new position is a good time to reflect on one’s own teaching philosophy and what the aims of education are. In my opinion the two main aims of education are to transfer knowledge and to inspire critical and creative thinking. I feel that those goals should be the teacher’s objectives, but I also know that it is not easy to keep those goals in sight in some situations.
Of the basic teaching styles I think I follow the Personal Model approach though I would like to see myself more in facilitator role. I would rather help students find their own answers to solutions but I know that for many of them I need to first show them how to do it. For instance, I am not the type that would just hand over the car key’s to a new driver and say “go at it!” Rather, just like when I learned to drive, there was a classroom lecture followed by in-car driving supported by the driving coach. It’s the same thing in a (normal) classroom – some talk about issues or concerns followed by relevant and real examples with my support being ready when called upon.
Given the nature of my instruction I can understand why I also score high as a formal authority since one who teaches in that style is “concerned with the correct, acceptable, and standard ways to do things and with providing students with the structure they need to learn.” A lot of my work focuses on the ethical use of information and teaching students not just how to avoid plagiarism but why they should want to avoid it. It is also very easy to fall into a “this is how you do it” mode of thinking when teaching hot to use specific tools instead of staying open and letting students fidn their own way. it often feels easier to help the students by showing them exactly how, for example, to do a database search rather than explore more abstract concepts such as appropriate use or ethics of information.
Essentially sometimes I feel constrained or conflicted in my teaching style since there are concepts I would like to get across to students but often I think they just want to be shown the steps directly instead of figuring it out which makes me wonder then if I’m meeting the aim of education to inspire critical & creative thinking.