humans are constantly learning and developing, progressing from
ignorance to wisdom. 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.
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 rational decision-making.
Education is holistic. 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
involve three unique and 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 wonderful
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. In other words, education should
help one find one's place in the world. Additionally, education
should strengthen the individual's ability to make decisions through
rational processes. Life is fundamentally an ongoing series of decisions.
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. While my courses are
designed with formal requirements aimed at course objectives, I
allow students opportunities to personalize the education. I expect
student participation in the educational process. My teaching is
framed around discussion, during which I use questions to guide
Since I view
individuals and their learning holistically, I create holistic,
interdisciplinary 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 in the future.
My teaching philosophy is formed by my commitment to being a catalyst
in that progress.