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|Posted By: Lin Lin on April 9, 2006|
I was surprised (joyfully) by these two recent postings you made -- "Lifelong teaching…" and "Are schools robbing students?" I can see how similar we think of teaching and learning, maybe because we have worked together for so long that we are starting to develop a similar mindset, for good or bad, but I thought to share my "statement of teaching philosophy," which I wrote a few months ago in preparation for my job search. It's amazing to see the similarities:
"I see teaching as a life-long learning process. It takes one a continuous effort to reflect on, innovate, and transform one’s practices in order to become a better teacher. This is especially the case living in a society with fast evolving new media and technologies.
My recent practices in teaching and in helping others with their teaching practices have made me think more about the idea of “learning through teaching.” That is, I am intrigued by the idea that the students may learn better if they are encouraged to be teachers of the subjects that they are going to learn, an idea that has been often discussed in literature, and has been evidenced in my own research and practices. I have also found that as much as teachers wish to create a constructive and student-centered learning environment, many do not consider their students as real contributors or experts in a learning environment, and thus cannot let go of the control in their teaching. Consequently, students remain as passive recipients rather than active seekers of their own learning.
By “learning through teaching,” I would like to encourage each student to approach each subject as if he or she were teaching the subject. I think doing this allows the students to access a whole new level of commitment, understanding, and passion around the subject. With the ever evolving technology, this is particularly important, because each student, not surprisingly, often brings with him or her some special expertise and knowledge that a teacher or other students do not hold. Encouraging each student to be a teacher provides positive and synergistic energy for everyone in the environment to teach and learn from each other. This practice also provides the teacher of record with the time and effort that he or she might not have otherwise to scaffold and orchestrate the learning environment.
By the same token, teaching becomes learning. It is learning to find the stumbling blocks, obstacles, and disorienting moments in one’s own and the students’ understanding and experiences of the topic at hand, and learning to discover ways to overcome them. In today’s world learning is an extremely dynamic life-long commitment. The learner’s challenges change daily as do the technologies we use and the knowledge we seek. With all these changes the enduring values we can count on are respect, independent and critical thinking, team work, and intellectual dialogue. The learners as well as the teachers must master individual, collaborative, and expert practices in order to understand the whole range of knowledge acquisition. I see teaching as one of ideal professions that offer such continuous learning opportunities – to learn with/from colleagues as well as with/from the students."