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My Teaching and Learning Philosophy

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My Teaching and Learning Philosophy

  1. 1. 1 My Teaching and Learning Philosophy By Boakai Karnley, MSNMed, MPH, BSN, RN Department of Nursing, Bomi Community College Tubmanburg, Bomi County Liberia All humans, including my students, are a bio-cultural and social being. Every teacher and student, as a biological being grew up with family with cultural beliefs and values that influence social interactions, and the learning process. It is, therefore, a must that every teacher has a unique teaching philosophy. It is most likely that many nursing educators’ transit directly from the clinical setting into the classroom without the requisite training and experience. This move could be motivated by varying factors including the desire to help and support students, income or parents influence. As for me, I developed a passion for teaching when I was in a secondary school; I enjoyed tutoring my classmates to improve their performance. Fortunately, after obtaining a bachelor of nursing science, I was hired to teach at an accredited nursing institution. Today, I am reading my master of nursing education empowering me to ensure the development and practice of my own philosophy. I consider teaching and learning as an agreement signed between the teacher and the learners with the learners agreeing to be active participants, respectful and self-directed, while the teacher agrees to facilitate, be learner-centered, guide and respect the learners. In my class, I realized that learners come from different cultural backgrounds and learn differently. Therefore, I focused on learner-centered teaching, disassociating from the traditional teacher-centered form of teaching. Learner-centered teaching may likely empower a student to be independent, lifelong learner, critical thinker, and good decision maker. Work of theorists like John Dewey, Jean
  2. 2. 2 Piaget, Carl Rogers, and Lev Vygotsky influenced the constructivist theories of learning, which focused on how students learn and the move to student-centered learning. I believe that education facilitates critical thinking, reflection, and acquisition of skills and power of judgment that will positively impact society. Teaching my students provides adequate opportunities for them to learn, develop the capacity of critical thinking, and perform tasks with maximum efficacy. My style of teaching depends on the subject matter, the unit of the course and other factors. I vary my style of teaching that could be influenced by the determinants of learning. I understand that andragogy is based on active participation and critical thinking while pedagogy is based on the content of a course. I used both theories during teaching; however, my choice depends on my students' needs` assessment findings. I provide the course syllabus including required references and a list of supplementary readings, deadlines, objectives and ask for student feedback regarding the syllabus. Lev Vygotsky revealed that learning is oriented toward developmental levels that had been reached but ineffective from the learner overall perspective, thereby requiring the facilitator`s guidance. I enjoy students’ discussion, realizing that it promotes learning through interaction as I stimulate them with a provocative question, not allowing one student to dominate the discussions and encourage the unspoken student to talk. My students are empowered through designed tasks they work on independently or in a small group. I integrate visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles of the students during teaching to make the course accessible to all students and responsive to individuals with difficulty in
  3. 3. 3 integrating new materials. I believe using only one teaching method to teach introduces unnecessary limitations that might negatively affect the learning outcome. I evaluate my student’s knowledge, skills and values employing a more formative process then summative process. The formative process is usually focused on qualitative feedback relating to both content and performance involving quizzes, a summary of units, and presentations. As for the summative process, my focus is on comparing the course objectives with the outcome, involving final paper, final exam and so on. Teachers must be evaluated constantly to ensure that students learning needs are met. Teacher evaluation can be done in many different ways including student’s evaluation, peer evaluation, and others. During my teaching, I was evaluated at the end of every semester. The evaluation was based on the learning objectives, learning, teaching activities and student’s assessment methods. The results of the evaluation were used by the administration to retain or cancel staff contracts. I believe that assessment helps to identify gaps that could be corrected. For the teacher, it could help administration to undertake staff development, but for the student, it helps the teacher to re- examine teaching and assessment methods used. Predicated on my beliefs and values, my personal philosophy of teaching and learning is to “nurture and guide students to develop critical thinking skills, access and integrate evidence and apply the acquired knowledge and skills in solving real-world problems”.

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