Teaching Philosophy

    Portfolio Home

    Section 1: Curriculum Vita

    Section 2: Teaching
        Courses Taught

    Section 3: Leadership

    Section 4: Scholarship

    Section 5: Service

    Section 6: Appendices

Learning is the process by which initial ignorance is replaced with wisdom. From infancy, humans are constantly learning and developing. Learning, as a concept, is not the product of schooling, but the result of living. Teaching is an important catalyst in learning, as teaching promotes, guides and cultivates learning. Teaching, by definition, requires student learning.

My teaching philosophy is founded on a liberal concept of humanity, which includes fundamental beliefs in the abilities of individuals to purposefully work toward personal growth, function in beneficially interdependent relationships, and guide their own lives through rationality. I view education holistically. Because each student is a whole person, education is a whole concept. While schooling is composed of curricula, divided into fields and courses, education must be an overarching and unifying framework.

Education should drive toward three unique, yet independent human qualities: individual growth, social relationships and rational decision-making. Education should encourage the self-actualization of individuals. The liberal tradition of education is based on an appreciation for the wondrous capacity with which every individual is endowed. Education should help one realize his or her own potential. Because each individual functions in a society, education should facilitate the individual's process of building, refining, internalizing and applying a personal paradigm for social relationships. Education should help one find one's place in the world. Life is fundamentally an ongoing series of decisions. As a result, education should strengthen the individual's ability to make decisions through rational processes. Each of the three roles of education is unique, yet no role can be completed in the absence of the others.

I strive toward a pedagogy that treats each student uniquely and appropriately. While my courses are designed with formal requirements aimed at course objectives, I allow students the opportunity to negotiate individual learning contracts. I not only encourage, but I expect and claim student participation in the educational process. My classroom teaching minimizes lectures and leads toward discussion, during which I use methodic questioning.

Since I view individuals and their learning holistically, I create holistic learning environments. Whether I am teaching Career Development or US Government, I seek to incorporate student learning from other courses. Academic courses are categorized into subjects, yet life is the integration of subjects.

I measure my effectiveness as a teacher by the work of my students. During class discussions, I observe students as they form, integrate and communicate ideas. I offer my students periodic opportunities to anonymously evaluate my teaching and the course. I involve students in the creation of portfolios, where each reflects on his or her individual learning and demonstrates individual cumulative progress.

I teach because I love to learn and I appreciate learning as part of humanity. I teach because I love to participate in the progress of individuals from where they are now to where they want to be tomorrow. My teaching philosophy is formed by my commitment to being a catalyst in that progress.