My Teaching Learning Philosophy
Submitted by Hina Nizar Karim
When I was a child I love to enjoy a game teacher-teacher with my friends. This exercise of playing was fun for us and, I always fought with my friends to become teacher. In the preschool, teacher use to teach us with game and some handful activities, it enhances our cognitive learning and I enjoy going school daily. But, with time the art of teaching shift from cognitive learning to task oriented. In the primary and secondary school, teacher emphasizes on completing the task on time and memorizing facts; achieving good marks in exams. Learning was no more fun and slowly I hating going school, teaching learning process and role of a teacher.
Later, when I graduated from school and collage I have same experiences and feelings in my mind and heart. But, somewhere in the corner of my heart I have an expression to change this practice of teaching learning. At one point of time I found myself in a very crucial position, I wanted to change this teaching learning practice but on the other hand I realized that it's not an easy task to change the education system.
Today, fortunately I am in a better position to work toward practicing my own teaching philosophy which is based on the assertion of Peter (1965) who decisively articulates that there should be a conceptual connection between education and engaging in teaching activities. Currently as Nurse Educator I am in a better position to teach my students to think critically and analyze what they are doing and why they are doing? I made conscious efforts that what I teach my students is worthwhile and students are able to understand its concepts and engage themselves in learning activities. This conscious effort is a step towards my teaching learning philosophy. In the paper I have discussed and reflected the teaching learning process, role of teacher, adult learner and learning environment.
Teaching Learning Process
My philosophy of teaching learning revolves around the profound belief of Peter (1965). According to Peter "education is that something of value is being passed on"(Gribble, pg7, 1969). I strongly believe there are certain responsibilities of teachers to make teaching learning effective. First of all, educators must create a difference between education and teaching. Education is a form of knowledge; something valued that must be transfer into learner and these knowledge will be utilized by learner. For example reflecting on my one BScN class where students were given many reading materials to read in two hours. The class has never studied that topic before and the terminologies were meaningless to them. Nothing of "value is passed on" and, students have learned nothing beneficial neither they were involved in activities that is called Education. Whereas, teaching involves many activities which a teacher uses for learner, it might not be beneficial for every student and student might not learn or found it meaningful. Here I would like to reflect on my first class as a novice faculty. After taking a class I told my senior faculty" I taught that class but they learned nothing". Though my intention was to teach students and teaching strategies were designed in a way to make student learn but then also I could not.
My second philosophical claim about teaching learning process is based on the assertion given by Santrock (2008). Teaching learning process must be student centered. It must provide opportunity to students to learn according to their interest and needs. Unfortunately, I had not experienced this freedom in my education. We were forced by teachers to complete assignments, follow rules and set criteria of assessment. Students were never involved in planning the curriculum. However, I believed that following planned curriculum and without any input from students may create some problems for students.
Teacher facilitates the transformation of learning. I strongly believe this is the essential duty of a teacher by virtue of their role. A crucial responsibility of a teacher for their students includes giving instruction, facilitation and coaching the learner. A teacher must enhance their student learning by examples and sharing their own views. When I was in school i.e. primary section, I was afraid from my teacher. My teachers were very authoritative and strict. There primary role was to finish given task in 1 hour and student task was to blindly accept all the tons of information without refusing or asking any questions. But, after joining BScN my perceptions partially change towards role of teacher in learning process. Here I learned that teacher is a facilitator whose responsibility is to make student learn. My teacher used multiple strategies like debates, presentations, problem based learning to enhance student overall cognitive learning process and student can achieve their educational goals. I really liked my faculty "inquiry based approach", once on clinical my teacher asks me to relate sign and symptoms of patient with his diagnosis and I could not. Later I read patient disease process in detail and presented in a form of concept map. It enhanced my capacity to gather information, synthesized, analyzed and implement on patient with sound rationale.
This is also my strong believe that overall aim of teacher should be to facilitate student learning rather than making them marks oriented. Teachers must realize that every student have their own learning style which is based on their past experiences, their living environment and internal characteristics. It is only a teacher who understands these personal characteristics or traits of student and helps them to achieve success in academia. Similarly, not every student is vocal or active in class participation, it does not mean the more you speak the more you are knowledgeable. Few intelligent students speak less and share their valuable feedback when required. Therefore, the art of identifying and exploring thoughts from student minds lies in the hand of faculty.
I believe that learning environment should be conducive that enhance student self directed learning skills. When I was in school I was not aware of term "self directed learning" but when I joined Masters in Nursing (MScN), it gave me opportunity to know and learn "self directed learning" style. In MScN my learning enhances by effective feedbacks and facilitation of my faculty. Valuable feedback given by faculty not only enhances my learning but also help me to make a conceptual model and implement it into real world.
One more view I would like to reflect upon is on virtual learning. I strongly believe that with advance technologies in scientific and medical academia it is important to adopt some level of virtual learning. Virtual teaching learning environment enhances student deeper learning and it is based on my experience of virtual teaching learning assignment. As a faculty this teaching experience provides me an opportunity to planned and implement online teaching activities that foster student learning.
Beside "student centered" learning approach I also believe that student is responsible for their own learning. My philosophy regarding adult learning revolves around three assertion provided by Knowles. First, students as a adult learners are responsible for their own learning. Faculty will not do spoon feeding instead she will facilitate and provide opportunity to share ideas and clarify any question if raised. Second, every adult student shares some common or uncommon experiences. It is the faculty responsibility to let student share any experience which can facilitate its learning and enhances self confidence in him. Third, when adult enter the learning environment they are ready to learn. It is faculty responsibility to provide him environment for self growth and learning. Nevertheless, it is primarily student responsibility to learn and get benefited from its faculty rich experience and utilize the learned concepts in real world.
To conclude, I must assert that with the passage of time my philosophy about teaching learning, learning environment and adult learning has changed. When I reflect back I realized that the environment I received in school and college was not fruitful for my learning. Due to which I am not able to have full command on my thoughts and words. But now I realized I am in a better position to implement my teaching learning philosophy as a nurse educator. Not fully but, still I have a authority to implement it so it will enhance my students learning and I am glad that I am currently practicing my imagination of teaching learning philosophy.
Gribble, J. (1969). Introduction to philosophy of education.
Santrock J.W. Educational Psychology. (3rd ed). New York: The Mc Grew hill publishing company.
Kenner, C., & Weinerman, J. (2011). Adult learning theory: Applications to non-traditional college students. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 41(2), 87-96.