I let students know repeatedly that I am interested in their success. I share with them why I think biological topics are of interest and at what depth they should be understood. As a practicing scientist, I also attest to the excitement of scientific discovery. I give students ample opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. I try to be accessible and encouraging.
Teaching is a commitment to provide a transformative experience. You need to be rigorous, relevant and authentic.
There are two main things I try to do in teaching - have students develop critical thinking skills, and create opportunities for hands-on learning. If after finishing my course students forget the facts and figures discussed but have a new approach to asking critical questions and finding answers for themselves, and if while going down the road they find themselves distracted by wanting to know more about why the landscape around them looks the way it does, I'll consider that a great success.
Keeping up with advanced technology is not only essential in research and industry, but also in education. The fundamentals of courses usually do not change. However, the methodology in which these fundamentals are applied in industry and research does change at a rapid pace. As a result, every course must adapt to the times and integrate modern day applications of course fundamentals.
To care about our students' success, in my opinion, requires providing them with the ability to think analytically and solve problems, which are skills transportable across a myriad of careers. I guide our students toward intellectual autonomy, which I see as the ability of students to deliberate and make well-informed decisions. Students who can do this can begin to teach themselves and others in society.
Being an effective teacher educator at UT Austin requires that I walk effectively on the two legs that define my role as an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction: the research leg and the teaching leg. My goals as researcher center on studying how early childhood education stakeholders across a range of political and educational contexts respond to policymakers — high-stakes standards-based accountability reforms. To adjust my gait so that my teaching of undergraduates reflects my research interests, I have structured my classes so that students learn how to weave together theories about how young children develop and learn with appropriate instructional strategies that prepare culturally and linguistically diverse children for success in Texas' high-stakes early childhood classrooms. Moreover, I have intentionally designed my classes so the learning experiences that undergraduates engage in mimic what I hope they will provide their own students within their classrooms.
My strong belief is that teaching engineering has to be exciting and inspiring. Discovering new engineering challenges, problems and solutions is the main focus of instruction. Students have to get from their professors the enthusiasm and the tools for succeeding in their careers and becoming long-lasting engineering learners. It is amazing how they learn to be creative, yet very analytical in their approaches, and passionate, yet careful and rigorous in their conclusions. I always thought that if the students are excited about the material I teach and understand it, then they can perform and they like it.
My teaching philosophy is to create an environment where students reach their maximum potential in developing the critical thinking skills that they will need in their chosen professions. Whether in my classroom or in my laboratory I want my students to become the best problem solvers they can be. I want to help them learn how to identify useful information and how to use that information in creative ways.
I want students to leave my classes curious about the world around them. In my courses, I hope to waken their innate ability to investigate. I want them to look at the social and political world and discern patterns. I want them to ask themselves: Why? How? When? Under what conditions? My wish is first that they wonder, and then that they discover.
I believe that the subjects that fascinate me — politics, poverty, Latin America — are important and complicated issues. I insist that my students embrace complexity when they take on such subjects, and that they realize that whatever they think a solution might be, someone is going to disagree with them. In my classes I do not provide solutions; the best I can do is to try to show them how to think about complex issues.
Developing students' abilities to think critically is an essential part of teaching in interdisciplinary fields. It is vital that engineering students understand the fundamentals of their discipline as well as the phenomena of interest so they can be more effective in creating solutions to critical problems. My approach to this challenge is to make students stop and think rather than just learn facts. During lectures I continually pose questions to my students such as "why is this important?" and "what does this equation really mean?" Developing a fundamental understanding of both their own tools and the problem of interest will help them to integrate seemingly disparate areas and come up with creative solutions.
As a history teacher, I think my responsibility is to be both an elder and a griot (a storyteller), someone who cultivates students desire to seek knowledge (of a society's history, culture and values) and use this knowledge in ways that can aid the transformation of society (OR: in ways that promote positive social change).I aim to use history to expand my students' perspectives and increase their awareness of and appreciation for other cultures.
Teaching has always been a passion for me, and I strive to translate this passion into excitement and curiosity in my students. Once I can pique a student's interest on a given topic, I focus on first teaching the underlying science, and then relating this science to real-world applications. I have found this combination of passion, science and application to be incredibly valuable components in teaching tomorrow's engineers.
My approach to teaching involves not only voraciously reading physiology literature to expand my knowledge in the field, but also attending teaching workshops and seminars to continually learn effective teaching methods that will enhance student learning. I focus my goals for learning on gaining factual knowledge and using factual knowledge in an integrative fashion. My dedication to my student's success comes in several forms and includes an open door policy, individual assessment of each student's academic strengths and weaknesses, and creating individual mentoring plans designed to instill confidence in their strong academic characteristics and provide improvements to eliminate their poor study traits.
My overarching teaching goal is to light the fire of analytical thinking. I do this by getting students to become intrinsically motivated to learn, regardless of their starting point. If I can help students nurture this norm, then they will have a positive attitude towards learning that they will carry with them well after graduation.
Babies are born with an innate ability to learn, and their parents are their first teachers. It is in such unstructured learning environments that we become fully engaged in learning; finding out what cookies (or rocks) taste, smell, sound, feel and look like. Structured learning environments tend not to be so inclusive in our senses and often devolve into rote learning processes. This type of learning, while appropriate for computers, is not appropriate for humans. In contrast, our students must develop a lifelong passion to learn; and from this a desire to create new/better ideas from old. As a professor, I seek to instill these passions and desires into my students, independent of the course/topic that I am teaching. Based on what I have seen, I know that the future for humanity is very bright.
E. M. Forster put it best, "Only connect," and that has been the constant goal of my career in the classroom: to bring students to a fuller understanding of how language, history, and literature enhance our lives. To read better is to live better.
Our students share their most valuable and scarce resources such as time and intellectual curiosity with the belief that we will prepare them to succeed in their professional careers. As their teacher, my role is to identify the best way to help them turn these resources into an investment that will forever change their lives. I show my appreciation of the trust they place in me by carefully and continuously assessing the veracity of the learning process, questioning and reevaluating the activities I do in my classes and seeking their feedback as a means of improving my teaching. For this reason, my guiding principle has always been to spread the passion of learning and touch every student's life in some meaningful way.
Entrepreneurs and innovators change society. They imagine six impossible things before breakfast, and then roll up their sleeves. I encourage an experimental approach to learning. My courses are personal, interactive and engaging. The goal is to bring out the unique entrepreneur in each student with a lot of dreaming, thinking and doing. As an enthusiastic educator and researcher, I strive to keep the connection between theory, evidence and practice real.
Throughout my career, I realized that teaching is also a learning process for me. Teaching helps me expand my scope and learn beyond the normal territory of instruction. Thus, my teaching philosophy embraces adaptation, innovation, practical experience and sustainability. Adapting to today's new business environment, I continue to be innovative in my curriculum and pedagogy. As a person guiding students' path of learning, I constantly update myself and incorporate current hands-on activities to make the educational experience more practical and relevant. In light of the changes in how academia operates, I put an emphasis on sustainability, i.e., developing new curriculum and instructional framework with the goal of better utilizing resources to help shape the future.
Our students make us successful as teachers and researchers. Without them we cannot succeed. In return, we should give them an intensity and passion for learning, a sense of rigor and clarity of thought, persistence and confidence in their abilities. It is our responsibility to endow them with a sense of their own responsibility, a feeling for our place in the history of human development and a good sense of humor. In the end, we always learn more from them than they do from us.
I design my classes and research activities to provide students with opportunities to spark their imagination, curiosity, creativity and critical thinking skills to engage them in their studies and guarantee their success. With these activities, students learn complex concepts, develop writing and presentation skills, face failure and solve problems, design a path for success and develop time management skills.
As an educator, my responsibility is to create opportunities to bring education to students wherever they are and whenever they need it. My focus is on transformational learning..the development of higher order thinking skills in complex situations that is the hallmark of health professionals....and creating self-directed, lifelong learners with the passion and the skills to be effective caregivers and team members in patient-centric, evidence-based practice environments.
I teach a subject well when students are not only able to answer numerical questions correctly, but also can tackle conceptual questions. I am successful when I spark their curiosity and motivate them to think more deeply. A barrage of studies has led me to believe that to achieve these goals a clear presentation isn't enough; students must engage with the presentation through conceptual questions and discussions with classmates and me. Students should also learn that science is continuously evolving and to what extent what they learn is set in stone or is not.
Undergraduate education means preparing students intellectually, emotionally and socially to successfully negotiate the challenges that life offers. I strive to engage students in the process of discovery and learning that hopefully will continue far beyond their college years.
I firmly believe that one of my responsibilities as an educator is to convey a sense of excitement and to point out to students that their future careers in engineering look very bright, indeed. Therefore, it is critical that our engineering curricula be flexible and adaptable, provide numerous real-world application examples and be delivered using modern teaching tools. This can only be accomplished if traditional teaching materials are reinforced with examples from the latest research work, with practical applications and with success stories from the marketplace.
Try not to forget what it is like not to know organic chemistry, that learning should be fun, that any subject is best learned by doing.
The main areas I focus on in my teaching are enthusiasm, patience and high standards. I use (bad) chemistry jokes to boost enthusiasm and reinforce important chemical ideas. Chemistry can be difficult, and I want students to have a positive experience with the subject. To help achieve this I will patiently work with students until they understand the concept. Perhaps most importantly, I hold myself and my students to a high standard because they deserve my best efforts at making them prepared to succeed in the future.
My excitement for teaching stems both from the excitement of inspiring students *and* from the advances I invariably achieve in my own understanding of the material. In particular, I have found that one of the best ways to learn is to teach. I therefore aim to create an atmosphere in my classrooms in which students can freely discuss ideas and help each other gain a full understanding of the course material. Often, the students who benefit most are the ones who quickly grasp the basics, but then refine their understanding by teaching their peers.
Challenging students and giving them the opportunities to explore and discover builds their confidence in the subject area. I try to unlock their fullest potential and mentor them in their academic and professional careers and guide those pursuing graduate studies. It is wonderful to see that light ignite when they understand and make connections.
Each scientist, like each artist, has a unique vision—a way of thinking of things. I share my vision and show how I use it. I bring students to the frontier of human knowledge and teach them how to reach beyond. At all levels, they discover not just something about the universe that they didn't know before, but something no one who has ever lived has ever known before. This process is transformational for both student and teacher. Life is an ongoing learning process; teaching is the best way to learn—this is the heart of my love of teaching.
I believe one needs to continually adapt; I need not to think about what students should, rather what students do. Once I understand this reality, I can motivate, inspire and challenge them to learn to achieve what they need to succeed in life.