Teaching phylosophy

In supporting a student’s desire to learn, I believe that teachers need to be firm but also fair and flexible. Some students need deadlines and strict assessment models to succeed and thus require a firm teacher. At the same time a teacher needs to be fair because it is a basic entitlement and because students are still immersed in a learning process. Lastly flexible because life sometimes gets in the way, and students need to feel that their educational environment respects growth, maturity, and life events. When a student approaches me with a problem, I always feel it is essential to listen patiently and offer solutions and strategies to allow him or her to handle their difficulties while also staying on track. I am confident that students learn best by example. Teachers should be active in their discipline and communicate their expertise and enthusiasm for the topic. Often, teaching and research are seen as distinct, but I think that doing both well benefits the most students and teachers too. Good teachers should be able to show students that they are devoted to their own research, so that they can describe how research is undertaken, the problems encountered and how they are overcome, and the rewards associated with making contributions to their field. Probably the single biggest lesson I have learned from my previous experiences and from observing other teachers, has been to get rid of the urge to explain vast amounts of content. Instead, I believe that engaging with students in deep and meaningful ways it is much more rewarding and can enable them to learn skills (theoretical or practical) on their own. I don’t think that students can simply learn material through lectures, but should debate, criticize and contextualize it. Finally, I believe that good teachers are receptive to the needs of their students, which does not mean to give the students what they want. All students (and classes) are different, which demands that a teacher be able to read the class at several levels and teach in a way that a wide range of students can benefit from. In my opinion, believing in a single-model system and being intransigence are major weaknesses when it comes to teaching. This means that a good teacher is always growing and evolving. He should continually observe and listen students, critically reflect on his/her own teaching and pass on successful strategies to others as a constant dialogue. In sum, I believe that teaching in academia requires to employ the same degree of investigation and engagement as during research activities.