Teaching is an art, a skill. Being able to do so effectively requires practice and technique as demonstrated by the fact that it is its own dedicated research field. Current research on the appropriate pedagogy for college students shows that students will accomplish more when their professors expect, challenge, and encourage them to do so (Kuh, 2004). When students are held accountable, they feel responsible for the work and information that is presented to them. It is important to make students feel that, although they are currently students, in the near future, they will be working professionals and even colleagues. Creating an environment in which students realize that they are accountable for, not only their coursework, but for their overall success is central to my teaching philosophy.
Additionally, providing students with a rationale as to why the subject is personally valuable has been found to be crucial to motivating students (Jang, 2008). I typically begin each lesson by explaining why the coursework is useful to them or how it might personally affect their lives. This activity helps students engender a sense of internal motivation and personal investment in the subject matter. Altogether, my teaching philosophy centers on the students’ futures. Above and beyond the materials to be covered in a course, I want students to feel motivated towards and accountable for their future success in the profession of their choosing.
To foster student accountability and motivation, I make use of activities that clearly set my expectations for students while simultaneously explaining the importance of each assignment. For example, in Statistics laboratory, I have students collect in-class data from the very first meeting. This allows them to learn about the basic components of statistics, but also allows them to see that statistics is not just about numbers. Instead, it shows students that when applied, statistics regards everyday people just like them. With this in mind, I open their eyes to the use of statistics in everyday life. This activity brings awareness to the utility of understanding and performing statistics. I maintain this awareness by tying current events into each lecture.
As a teacher, I also strive to challenge students. Being intellectually stimulated helps students hold themselves to a high standard and engenders a sense of responsibility for their successes. In my courses, I create opportunities to challenge students’ writing skills. Each week students complete an assignment in which they have to explain and describe research findings. These activities push students to understand the lessons in such a way that they are able to share their knowledge through writing. I teach students that academic writing can be a key to success in the working environment. I hold students to high writing standards, expecting any written correspondence from homework assignments to emails to be written appropriately and professionally. By encouraging academic writing skills, I force students to develop as conscientious and critical writers, using their writing as a medium for expressing their ideas clearly and skillfully.
Below you will find my teaching evaluations, demonstrating that students enjoy my teaching style. Because teaching is important to me, I make an effort to research ways in which to do so effectively and am open to adapting to the best methods and to the students’ needs as they change. My capacity to engage with and encourage students is tied into my ability to understand students’ potential. As such, I will be an effective guide and mentor, helping students achieve their academic and professional goals while maintaining my efficacy as a teacher.
Summary Course Evaluations Academic Year 2016:
At Florida Atlantic University, one question on the Student Perception of Teaching (SPOT)
course evaluation assess overall instructor competence. Scores are presented as means.
6. Rate your instructors overall teaching effectiveness in this course.
1 (Excellent) to 5 (Poor)
Course Enrollment #6
Intermediate Statistics Lab
Spring 2016 27 1.3
Fall 2016 29 1.6
Fall 2017 13 1.14