Philosophy of Teaching
The teaching philosophy that I have adopted have developed and built-up from classroom and laboratory teaching experience that I have gained over a period of 7 years. My philosophy of teaching is based on number of factors which I will discuss further in this statement. However, I have learned that there has to be a selected approach that one should adopt which is dependent on the type of student present and the subject being taught.
The subject I have taught/lectured to-date were not only technical but theoretical and often required practical demonstration which consequently became difficult. However, over the years I have adopted and developed various styles and in turn a teaching philosophy that have helped me to conduct informative, and effective lectures that students were able to gain. Figure 1 presents the particular approach that I adopt depending on each student group and the content being delivered.
One of the common technique that is simple to adopt and is also an effective mean is the use of vide demonstrations. With engineering and science subjects, demonstrations of theories, systems of manufacturing processes to students are never easy to show in classrooms due to health and safety, lack of space and the fact that one cannot bring the lab into the classrooms, thus, video, demonstrations, work perfectly so that students could obtain sufficient background about a particular engineering system, a manufacturing process or a theory that is put into perspective.
For situations where students are required to by applying understand concepts theories related to mathematics, it is important to first demonstrate the mathematical equation and then allow them to undergo a task-based learning process whereby, the students practice the theory by applying an equation for instance, the fracture toughness property of a material, or laser beam brightness equation, or to determine the crystallinity of a given material, which in turn enhance them to place the theory into practice for a deeper understanding of the subject.
In situation where soft skills are to be honed, my approach changes, whereby, I have asked students to study a particular topic, that I have taught, then prepare a brief power point presentation either within a group or individually and then present the material to the whole class. This does not only enhance their presentation skills but also allows them to broaden their learning and gives me an opportunity to examine their work from a wider perspective.
For typical engineering subjects being taught such as manufacturing processes and engineering materials, it is useful to show students physically the components from a car engine for example to help explain how they are made and what materials they are made from. Often for topics on failure, it has also been useful to demonstrate real-life case studies whereby students can understand how a ship/airplane or a theme park ride have failed and what was/can be done about it to prevent it from repeating again. In the areas that I have taught, there has always been an additional tutorial session whereby students can use the additional time to filter away the misunderstanding that they have had in the lectures and also gain further assistance with their coursework’s. This is also backed with additional homework-based learning, whereby, students would use their own time beyond lectures and tutorials to practice exam related questions and better their understanding about my subject coursework. This also allows me to gauge if students understanding of the content that has been taught.
One of the more in-depth and frequent thing I have adopted is to introduce the research informed teaching method. My research has been expanding and so it has helped me to deliver some of my lecturing content with some of the latest findings/methodologies and technique. This has helped me to gain a great deal of interest from students and improve student engagement in the classroom.
In general, my teaching philosophy is to deepen student’s knowledge from delivering effective lectures which I think has been possible only after several years of lecture delivery. The biggest challenge I have is to keep students motivated and engaged. Some students are naturally curious but others regularly require a flash of inspiration. I find that with research informed teaching method is easy to provide that to students, however, in general case, inspiring students frequently is somewhat difficult. But I see this gets easier as my teaching portfolio expands which will consequently help me to develop theoretical understanding of my subject to students. In case of lab lased session students are found to be certainly happier than lectures and better inspired, thus, it already helps to hone their practical skills.
A spider diagram showing my teaching philosophy.