Teaching Philosophy

Avicenna, Prince of Philosophers, Italian Woodcut (1520)

To define a personal philosophy on the art of instruction is an arduous task for one very simple reason: Experience constantly changes any given tenant defined over the course of time. The core values of why I teach, however, have not changed. The two core values I have held during the course of my instructional career are firstly to help prepare students to be productive members of our society and secondly to help students become successful practitioners in their chosen field(s) of work. Teaching may be defined as the act of imparting knowledge to a pupil. Learning is the active process of acquiring knowledge or a skill and is a lifelong endeavor. The problem with the role of teacher is the limited time frame for interaction with the student. My role as an instructor is to not only impart knowledge of a given subject to a student, but also prepare the student to continue learning in an active manner when access to an instructor is no longer available or viable. While it is important to impart the concepts of the subject being taught, it is equally important to teach the student to teach himself. The instructor will not always be there to guide the student in his future endeavors, and success in a given pupil can be realized by how he prepares for any given situation whether or the material has been covered in formal studies.

My primary responsibility as an instructor is to learn each student’s individual learning style, whether in a large setting such a lecture class or in the role of private instruction such as performance studies. The larger class setting does present challenges in divining this information from the students, but by using both traditional means such as meetings after class time and the use of online instructional technology, it can be obtained. Once a learning style has been established, it is just a matter of adapting the instructional techniques used for each student. This may seem impractical in a classroom situation, but the approach of a given concept can be tailored to be delivered in different manners so that each student will grasp the concepts and or have the information reinforced in many different manners. The presentation of the material is given in such a manner as to promote learning concepts and practical application with an end result of promoting self reliant instruction. It is not a concept that can be grasped in a single class setting but is developed over a period of time. 

The precepts of this philosophy may seem to imply that my primary goal is to eliminate my job as a facilitator of instruction. In truth, the accomplishment of this goal in each student is my definition of a successful completion of my duties as a teacher. Throughout history there has always been a new generation of pupils, so I have no fear of this concept precluding the demise of the role of instructor.