If I have a teaching philosophy; it is a learning philosophy. It is a philosophy centered on the idea that learning is a lifelong process that involves self-reflection and reflexive participation both in communities and the world. Learning does not require teachers, but learning does need appropriate structures and guidance that enable students to learn and to engage effectively with complex material.
Students have life stories that are full of meanings and contexts. Their stories provide the paths and relations through which they engage with the material they learn. They come to the university seeking a learning environment, a place that nurtures learning, encourages the pursuit of learning, and recognizes accomplishment in learning. The university houses the resources necessary to co-create that learning environment with my students, where I serve as their guide to the material that they wish to learn.
My classroom is a community of learners, each person involved in their personal process of learning and discovery. Each person sharing their insights with this learning community. My job as guide is to be the first among peers, to be the one that has learned the material, and to be the one that helps the others to learn it. To ensure that our community accomplishes its goals, I set the agenda and map the waypoints. I introduce them to historical examples, central questions, important concepts, modes of thought, methods of inquiry and try provide a reliable map of the territory. As my students learn the material, its relationship to the world and engage with both, they will critically reflect on the growth and development of their subjective map, they will learn to construct their learning from their shared experience and they will practice communicating their learning with others.
Engaging students with technology is an important aspect of my learning philosophy. I try to provide environments where students can learn about information and communication technologies, and particularly networked systems for creative and scholarly production. By using information and communication systems such as books, journals, computers, databases, networks and virtual learning environments students become familar with the many tools available to them. More importantly, they become capable of adapting to new systems and environments. While encouraging use of technology, I also encourage them to be both critical and creative in their use of technology. I actively use technology in the classroom as a tool to facilitate engagement with the world. Using information and communication technology is only one way of engaging the world, I also encourage students to actively explore, travel, and learn about the world in which we live.
In short, by taking a learning centered approach, I am student centered. In providing rich learning environments and encouraging students to explore the materials and engaging them to discover the world, I am their guide to the material, but we learn together, as I learn about them; they learn about me, and everyone learns more deeply about the material we are learning.