I believe that exploration, creativity, and relationships are at the heart of learning. I approach teaching as an opportunity for discovery within the learning process for both me and my students. Teaching and learning are important to individual growth as well as contributing to the evolution of the overall knowledge base within a discipline.
I view my role as an architect for learning, with an emphasis on building transformative environments that nurture creativity and build confidence in students. Although I may be the subject expert in a course, I know that I do not have all the answers. Rather, I believe that students and the instructor should collaborate to innovate and create new discoveries. When learning takes place within a reciprocal learning environment, we are able to make those new discoveries, and as a result, we gain from the learning process as a group. It is the idea of working together for a larger goal of pushing boundaries and forging new paths that is at the very core of my teaching philosophy.
I approach classroom learning from the perspective that nurturing students’ creativity is just as important as learning a new tool or application. Everything starts with an idea or creative vision; therefore, it is essential that students know how to draw from their own creativity and find their voice. I encourage students to engage deeper in course topics through exploration and promotion of the creative process. In this way, students transform their thinking and begin to grow within an educational environment.
I always want to ensure that students are both having fun and understanding important topics. At the same time, I recognize the importance of measuring teaching and learning effectiveness, which can happen in a variety of ways. Augmenting the more traditional assessment tools, a key component for measurement is the quality of relationships built with students throughout the duration of the course. This is especially important when the relationships lead to new avenues of learning that were not a part of the original course goals or outcomes.
My goal at the end of a course is for students to have evolved into deeper and more creative thinkers, and for them to recognize that the true power of learning is in wielding their own creativity rather than relying on a tool or application. After a semester, students should be asking new questions, digging deeper into theories, and going well beyond what was expected. With increased confidence and shared knowledge, the student becomes both the teacher and the learner. As a result, they are able to forge new paths to creativity and innovation.