I teach to help students mature in their thinking about the world and themselves. Using traditional and active learning techniques, I also aim to empower students by example to take responsibility for their educational results by tapping their creative potentials. These twin goals require students to grapple with abstract thinking and concepts and to address the complex emotions that arise when long-standing assumptions are challenged. Summarized negatively, I envision teaching as the art of discouraging superficial, strategic learning for short-term benefits.
Teachers cannot lead students through these illuminating (if sometimes painful) learning experiences unless they are convinced, as I am, that students are capable learners craving growth notwithstanding the often very significant educational hurdles they face. Thus I expect realistic but great things from my students.
Moreover, I hold myself to the same high standard. Successful teaching requires dedication, creativity, flexibility, and openness. Although learning objectives must be concrete, pedagogical strategies and techniques are necessarily provisional and open-ended, being and remaining only as useful as they are effective at creating an optimal learning environment. To my mind, excellent teachers demonstrate awareness that the roles of student and teacher are fluid and reciprocal, and that teaching and learning are mutually reinforcing, creative enterprises.
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