(In the following, I’m going to use the term learner quite a bit. Because of the nature of my work, faculty often become learners, in which case, terminology can become confusing. When I use the term learner in this context, I’m referring to the faculty member as a student. The term student is referring to students in a course.)
My overall goal is to improve student education and educate the subject matter experts (faculty in most cases) with the necessary teaching skills needed to communicate most effectively. My working premise is that I believe I can reach the most students by equipping the faculty that teach them with the necessary teaching skills. Though most of my focus is on faculty, I feel it is the best opportunity for me to improve the learning experience of undergraduate and graduate students.
It is by working with faculty that I can improve the learning experience of students.
My motto is that the right combination of motivation, faculty development, technology skill, and pedagogical purview leads to an equipped educator. This gives the student the optimal opportunity to learn. It is based on this premise, the foundation of my teaching philosophy rests.
In an ideal setting, direct one-on-one instruction and mentoring is the most effective way to teach. The apprenticeship model. (who says this?) However, in many classroom situations this is not practical. In a classroom situation, the best approach depends upon the material and the learning outcomes desired for each student. In some situations, the best approach is lecture-based instruction, though student interaction and feedback during the lecture is preferred to determine the effectiveness of the information being communicated.
Because of this, repetition and scaffolding are the ideal teaching strategies when working or teaching a large group of students (5 or more). Repetition can be integrated in multiple ways, including presenting material through multimodal learning, reinforcing ideas through projects, and quick review sessions. Scaffolding closely ties into repetition as it includes a logical progress in learning and implies an organizational structure to the content. Each idea following builds on the previous idea. These ideas are taken directly from the ideas of game theory.
To reinforce the smaller concepts and assist with constructing the larger ideas, effectively using small groups is ideal. These groups take the different learning experiences from each student (or learner) and the group is able to construct the final meaning of the larger ideas. This strategy also encourages the different members to seek out necessary additional information.
Overall, the use of different teaching strategies that reinforce each other provides the learn with the necessary experience and foundation to capture the necessary knowledge.