My Teaching Philosophy
Submitted by Misbah Zafar
Acknowledgement: I appreciate Dr Khair-ulnisa Ajani and Miss Shanaz Cassum for being my inspiration to write my teaching philosophy as a novice educator.
The core of my teaching philosophy is to instill a “love of learning” in all my students and make them effective lifelong learners. I would foster my students’ understanding that learning should occur not only in the classroom but also in their everyday lives. I will aspire to help them become lifelong learners and take advantage of their learning opportunities.
For me, teaching is more than merely imparting information through lectures and directing students during clinical practice. My belief is that teaching is both an art and a science. It is a science since it promotes the development of methods and practices based on empirical research. As an art, teaching encompasses elements of instruction which cannot be completely computed, measured, or demonstrated, like how a course's design, an instructor's demeanour, and a teacher's teaching philosophy affect students' perceptions.
Learning, Learner, and Teacher
In my view, learning is like constructing a home, where students are the builders and teachers are the foremen. Builders are responsible for the construction of their homes, while foremen are available to facilitate, supervise and assist throughout the process. Although the foreman will supply a larger portion of the materials, the builder is ultimately in charge of how the building is constructed. Similarly, the foundation of a home is very basic, solid, and straightforward, like the basic skills we teach in early school life. As a result, something very complex can be built on top of it, and the builder is free to decide what he wants. Builders may find that certain ways of constructing materials are better remembered, while others may be lost. Thus, the teacher as a foreman can show the student (builder) to learn how to learn as in Fink’s taxonomy, and then build the house of knowledge, but the builder can also copy others or use their unique ideas to construct this building.
I will create a positive learning environment in which students can develop social interaction and enhance their learning by cooperating with weaker students instead of competing. In addition to influencing learners' behaviour, such a learning environment also impacts their achievements, satisfaction, success, and sense of well-being and engagement. Furthermore, the promotion of intellectual diversity depends on creating a positive learning environment in which respect for others is fundamental. In my role as a teacher, I need to create a classroom that is inclusive and where students feel safe to share their ideas (Donohoe, 2019).
A nurse educator's ability to deliver a high-quality education depends greatly on the selection of appropriate teaching strategies. As a nurse educator, I believe in a learner-centred approach in my teaching methodology that actively engages the learner in the learning process. For a learner-centered approach, I agree with humanist and constructivist theories. Humanistic learning theory suggests that students learn more effectively when they feel supported by their teachers and understand their needs. Furthermore, active participation and critical thinking skills are important elements of constructivist theory.
I will use diverse strategies based on learning theories by considering all my students. To improve students' understanding, I will offer case studies, problem-based learning, simulations, and flipped classrooms based on constructivist theory. In addition, my role-playing strategies, demonstration, and return demonstration have their origins in cognitive theory. The establishment of norms at the beginning of a learning unit is based on behaviorist theory, as it is important for consistency and change in student behavior according to established criteria. Hence, teaching strategies based on different theories of learning will make learning interesting and will enable my students to learn, research, and engage with the world around them (Oermann, De Gagne, NPD-BC, & Phillips, 2017).
While developing a teaching plan, I will consider my students' learning preferences. Accordingly, I agree with the VARK learning preferences model by Fleming and Mills. Considering different learning styles, I will vary my teaching methods, assignments, and learning activities. For example, visual learners will benefit through the use of colors, charts, and graphics for the visual aspects, and kinesthetic learners will benefit from role-modeling and learning by doing in simulations and clinical laboratory settings. Besides this, encouraging learners to accommodate various learning styles is also important.
Teacher Students Relationship
In my opinion for an effective learning program, students must be involved in the actual learning process. However, when teachers prescribe most of the curriculum with minimal student involvement, tensions in the learning process can arise, thus can lead to frustration and anger among students. Therefore, to avoid this situation, I will take my students as partners in their learning journey. Because in my perspective when students are encouraged to speak up and become partners, the class dynamic changes by encouraging collaborative work, resulting in a more productive and creative learning journey.
Moreover, in my opinion, for a good partnership in the learning journey, I must be cognizant that I am a nurse educator from the millennial generation, and I must teach another Z generation, and there are differences in values and learning motivation between these two generations. The generation Z is diverse, with global awareness, voluntarism, environmental awareness, and technological dependence. Because of this generational gap, I will incorporate technology into my lesson plans and assessments to engage my students.
I value regular and timely student evaluations because this will allow me to evaluate my teaching effectiveness. Considering this as a teacher, I will strongly emphasize formative evaluation so that I can track my students' progress and will also help students to know about the areas of improvement in their learning process. As a result of the formative evaluation, I will adjust my teaching strategies accordingly to prevent my students from falling through the cracks. While doing these evaluations I will stay fair by recognizing my values and beliefs.
Considering nursing a profession of practice, I believe that clinical teaching plays an important role in refining the psychomotor skills of nursing students along with the theoretical background. Because as compared to classroom teaching, nursing students spend a lot of time in nursing and simulation labs. Undeniably, clinical teaching gives real-world examples to the students that eventually help them make the switch from classroom instruction to clinical settings (Gaberson & Oermann, 2010). However, we must not undervalue the importance of teaching in the classroom because students apply the skills they learn in class to their clinical work. As a result, I believe that a vital component in ensuring a smooth transition of learners will be the consistency of the lessons taught in both classroom and clinical settings.
My professional grooming will involve Boyer's four types of scholarships. Firstly, I will conduct original research and look for connections and bridges between theory and practice. Then, I will communicate knowledge effectively to my students. Since scholarship of discovery generates the knowledge for evidence-based practice in nursing. Secondly, based on scholarship of integration, I will work with colleagues in different fields to gain a comprehensive understanding of shared concerns. Thirdly, being nurse educator I will also demonstrate excellence in theory-to-practice integration through scholarship of application. As part of the scholarship of application, I will encourage my students to self-evaluate, make critical decisions, and evaluate themselves. Lastly, the scholarship of teaching is at the core of faculty roles. Therefore, my classroom and clinical teaching will combine scholarship of discovery, scholarship of application, and scholarship of integration, while communicating effectively with nursing students (Billings & Halstead, 2019).
In a nutshell, my enthusiasm for enhancing teaching in nursing will continue to grow. Hopefully, the values and beliefs I hold will help me, my students, and other faculty staff members to create an environment that would be conducive to high-quality teaching and learning by producing competent nurses.
- Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2019). Teaching in Nursing e-Book: A guide for faculty: Elsevier Health Sciences.
- Donohoe, A. (2019). The blended reflective inquiry educators framework; origins, development and utilisation. Nurse education in practice, 38, 96-104.
- Gaberson, K. B., & Oermann, M. H. (2010). Clinical teaching strategies in nursing: Springer publishing company.
- Oermann, M. H., De Gagne, J. C., NPD-BC, C., & Phillips, B. C. (2017). Teaching in nursing and role of the educator: The complete guide to best practice in teaching, evaluation, and curriculum development: Springer Publishing Company.