Reflective Practice in Tertiary Education: Generating your own teaching philosophy

Maurice-Takerei and Anderson (2016) discuss the importance of consciously framing a personal teaching philosophy,…in order that, as educators, we take on the responsibility to engage in change within the classroom. They elaborate by citing McFarlane (2015); stating the importance of making  ”… an attitudinal (or paradigm) shift- from a perspective that focuses on remedying deficit and dysfunction, to a position of agency that targets potential and opportunity”

Pappas (2014) cites Knowles specifically within the context of eLearning here: https://elearningindustry.com/9-tips-apply-adult-learning-theory-to-elearning and in doing so, helps to frame classroom practice, and a teaching philosophy, that may, in turn, inform delivery and strengthen a reflective practice on resource development, and the relevance of resources within a shifting learner profile within the classroom.

Maurice-Takerei (2016) advises reviewing one’s teaching philosophy on occasion to identify any shift in belief or ideas. A series of useful questions are posed to guide the framing of such a philosophy:

“Questions to Consider

  • What do I believe is the purpose of education/ training/ learning?
  • What do I value about my subject/ discipline/ area of expertise?
  • How do students/ trainees learn? What are the best methods for learning my subject/discipline?
  • How do I judge my own teaching work? “

From a personal perspective, it is reassuring to reflect on research that reiterates a belief that culturally responsive teaching practices and approaches are an integral part of being a “quality” educator, fostering success in contemporary educational environments.

My response to the above four questions (currently) are:

  • In my current role, my purpose is to engage students via a culturally responsive learning environment, with the intention of supporting them in their pursuit of succeeding on a chosen study pathway.
  • I value my expertise in eLearning, in that it facilitates confident interaction with students, to assist them to engage effectively in web supported learning, as well as other learning modalities. As to subject expertise, working in the field of academic writing allows me to demystify terms and concepts that may initially (to the learner) feel intimidating, but, in the long term enable them to communicate clearly.
  • Students learn in the first instance in class, through face to face interaction, the web supported learning is trialled by learners within the classroom setting, and then integrated through a series of tasks and assessments which are submitted via their Moodle course.Software and applications are integrated into everyday tasks, in order to build familiarity with current apps, but also to build confidence at finding other apps that may be useful in their future studies. The introduction of apps, such as TinyScanner, allow students to discover that their workload can be eased by investing time researching such tools.
  • Practical sessions and simulations of assessment submissions are shared via their course; in order to develop confidence and generate actual experience, with real time consequences of meeting due dates, and academic protocols around the submission of work.
  • I assess my success through the response of the students. Do they actively adopt tools and concepts I have shared with them? Do they demonstrate enthusiasm and motivation toward ongoing study? Do they attend my courses as required, or are they making excuses to not attend or engage with the workload?
  • Does the content and assessment material pass moderation? Are my peers supportive of the methods I adopt?

How does this reflect my intention to include culturally responsive teaching methods?

By developing teaching situations and learning experiences which address diversity within the classroom, I endeavour to allow for flexibility of interaction with learning resources.

Flipping the classroom is a prime example of a methodology which can facilitate this. By getting students to research and then demonstrate their understanding of a given topic, they have the opportunity to process and present their understanding in a culturally appropriate framework.

Is there an example of culturally responsive delivery that has been particularly successful for your learning environment?

Have you experienced a notable shift in your teaching philosophy? If so is there something identifiable that has led to this shift?

I look forward to discussing this with you.

References

Macfarlane, A. M. (2015). Sociocultural Realities: Exploring new horizons. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press.

Maurice-Takerei, L. a. (2016). Designs for Learning: Teaching in adult, tertiary &vocational education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Auckland: Dunmore Publishing Ltd.

Pappas, C. (2014). 9 Tips To Apply Adult Learning Theory to eLearning , Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/9-tips-apply-adult-learning-theory-to-elearning

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Jane Shaw

Teacher at HRDNZ
I’m an experienced teacher within tertiary education, and accomplished fine artist.
Originally from England I am now a New Zealand citizen, living and working in the beautiful Bay of Islands.
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Jane Shaw

I'm an experienced teacher within tertiary education, and accomplished fine artist. Originally from England I am now a New Zealand citizen, living and working in the beautiful Bay of Islands.

janeshaw has 5 posts and counting.See all posts by janeshaw

One thought on “Reflective Practice in Tertiary Education: Generating your own teaching philosophy

  • 8th October 2017 at 12:50 pm
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    I love this post Jane 🙂 Sadly these days, I have so little time I can dedicates to reading teaching and learning theory, and it reminds me how much I enjotyed doing this back in my ‘teacher training’ days. Those Maurice-Takerei questions are so basic, and yet so fundamental to what we are trying to do as teachers on an everyday basis … I might just make a note of them and answer for myself when I’ve got a spare 10 minutes 🙂

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