My Teaching Philosophy Statement
Bearing in mind that student will constantly observe that the best teachers who cared about teaching courses sessions. This observation is one of the single most important components of effective teaching sessions, as it leads to have student's intended learning objectives (ILO's) thorough the course preparation, and systematic continuous evolution of teaching skills, and the pleasure in watching students are gaining knowledge and prepared. The amount of time that a teacher give or puts will reflect, and directly translates to how the students gained learn skills that are required by the Society. However, a teacher must be able to recognize how students learn and to achieve the greatest level at the teaching sessions and via group and individual level, and let their lesson plans metamorphose as they interact with the students.
The ultimate goal for me as teacher is to communicate new information to students, not just memorizing facts, but also to learn how to think. This process can be made more efficient when both the teacher and the students enjoy what they are covering. Combined, these aspects allow a teacher to determine how a certain group of students will learn best.
In my teaching experience, efficient learning by students consists of the combination of formal lecture periods, and smaller discussion sections or sessions.
During lecture episodes, students are exposed to an stream of an organized information that will coach them the basic masses of the course subject. The impact on the student is enhanced when the lecture is given as a description (narrative); where the information is clear and organized, and presented in a story-like manner rather than to have a very tedious and dull lecturing sessions. This also allows the lecturer not just to present coherent information, but also to keep captive students. In physical sciences, and in particular within earth sciences, I'll be very happy at the time they expand their knowledge, increasing their skill by adding course new material. Concepts that are the fundamental building blocks of subject and sometimes abstract, are often taught in reduced form in order to quickly lead the students to see the big picture, particularly at the introductory level.
For example, when teaching an introductory course in earth sciences, the lecturer must explain how atoms are the building blocks of molecules, which link to form minerals, and these minerals combine to form rocks. The students are not necessarily familiar with the fundamental chemistry in order to understand the subject at every component, however the goal for me is to have student(s) to understand the most driving forces behind how and where these rocks and minerals form, and not advanced chemistry.
The students are asked to take a rise of confidence; they have to trust the lecturer enough to accept these possibly unfamiliar ideas in order to move on to see the larger framework. I do believe, students trust in the teacher is also derived from the enthusiasm to teach. When students see that their teacher has an enthusiasm for teaching and for the subject, they will have an easier time accepting that the difficult material because they trust the teacher. For a teacher to say “this is complex, but we will return to it after trying to see the bigger picture”, requires trust by the students so that they don’t just go way. Teachers who lack the enthusiasm to teach run the risk of losing this trust in students, who might easily just tune out the subject, rather than try to understand a perplexing concept. I do believe that the lecturer is responsible for reviewing this more difficult material in a discussion section where the subject can be treated with greater detail, allowing the students to have more time to integrate all parts of a subject to see the whole big picture.
In discussion sections, students working in smaller groups to explore subjects at a deeper level than presented during lectures. In this open discussion environment, the discussion can progress on tangents instead as a linear narrative, allowing students to work on a specific subtopic before moving on to the next concept of the general subject. I'm acting as to facilitate the discussion using a Socratic type method to guide the conversation. While students are not always happy to ask a question, and get a one in response, this method is ultimately very fulfilling for them.
In my experience, if students are simply given an answer, they are not forced to go through any thought processes to figure out the problem. However, when asking them questions in response to theirs, they can be lead along a line of thought where they work through the answer themselves, with some assistance in the course. Students feel satisfaction for working through the problem, and for effectively they are teaching themselves the answer. By not spoon-feeding them responses, they develop the tools to work through a general problem, and not simply how to memorize answers. They now learn how to adapt to different systems, where the synthesis tools are the same.
At introductory levels, discussion sections are often inactive because of student’s tentativeness (hesitancy) toward giving responses. In order to stimulate conversations, the discussion leader has to rely on opening skills to motivate students to talk. The simple act of learning a student’s name and a piece of information about them shows the students that the teacher has a vested interest in their class, and is genuinely interested in helping their students. Calling a student by name makes for a more friendly relationship between teacher and student, and again allows the students to put trust in the discussion leader.
I'm always free to ask questions in order to lead a discussion, without getting blank stares in return. In more advanced classes, a discussion leader might simply be able to pose a few questions, and only irregularly add insight to facilitate discussion. This can be one of the more pleasurable teaching experiences, as the teacher can now watch as the students learn and teach with each other based on the knowledge set that they have been given by the teacher.
Some of my favorite teaching experiences have been when I have been able to integrate both lecturing and discussion components into a single set. This can frequently occur in the form of review sessions. I have been a teaching assistant for the course “Volcanoes” (a core sophomore level class in the department of Geological and geophysical department) several times. For the final exam, I have developed review sessions in order to help the students assess the large amount covered in this course. For each session, I have developed a question and answer packet that the students work through during the session. Thus, my goal is to help them organize the information they have been taught, and to make sure they understand the material at a detail level, but also to understand how each part fits into the whole and to see the big and whole picture.
During the review sessions, I'll have the students work together to answer the questions. When new questions arise, I instruct them to ask each other so that everyone is part of the learning process. When they reach a question they can’t answer, it is now my task to do some lecturing, and help them to sort through the course material. I can review the difficult and tricky material of the course, or present them a clearer picture than what was presented during the initial lecture. It is also in this a debate or a review sessions that students can clearly see how I have an enthusiasm to teach. When helping students through a tricky problem, I enjoy watching the light flash in their eyes when they work a problem through to completion. My enthusiasm to teach translates to their enthusiasm to learn. This enthusiasm coupled with proper instruction allows the students not only to meet their educational goals, but also enjoytheir time during the process.
Dr. Bassam Abdulmutti Abuamarah
Assistant Professor of petrology, geochemistry and mineral of Granitoid rocks
Geology and Geophysical Department
College of Science
King Saud University
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