Roy Y. Chan: Statement of Teaching Philosophy
As a Christian educator seeking to facilitate each student’s engagement with education, my approach when teaching is always marked by three objectives: be traditional, be dialogical, and form questioners.
My teaching is traditional because successful students must be willing to take on the burden of patiently wrestling with a tradition. In Catholic theology, it is vital to recognize the plurality that characterizes our tradition. Special attention to the historical and mutually-informative development of thought and practice is critical to forming students who patiently engage the contextual nature of our ongoing traditions. Every doctrine is an answer, every answer has a question, and every question has a history where its answer finds meaning. Hence, reading assignments are chosen and lectures are written with an eye to understanding the historical nature of tradition.
Making dialogue into a core goal of teaching theology is necessary if we are to avoid reducing the Christian tradition to an object. The history of tradition is not limited to its past. To this end, all assignments involve explicit references to the contemporary front of tradition. Student presentations and reflection essays/blogs are designed to put a topic into explicit dialogue with the students’ lives and contexts. For example, a group presentation on human dignity must go beyond close readings of Genesis and Rerum Novarum to include the students’ experiences of personhood in an age of social media and anonymity.
The most fundamental, the most authentic, and the most effective way a person can bring their own experiences to bear on a tradition and its application. A traditional and dialogical approach to teaching primarily seeks to form questioners by presenting tradition as the source of questions rather than the source of answers. To this end, regular discussions (online and in person) are led by students who prepare questions and provide various media for discussion. Similarly, all these are to be paired with criticisms. My aim is to leave a student with a desire to know more, the ability to see every answer as the sources of the next question, and the skills to seek answers to that question.
In conclusion,I have come to believe that few things are more critical to a student’s success than a deeply committed mentor. While my love for education is most apparent in the classroom, my love for education is most apparent in my office. Hospitality to students through generosity with my time groups who I am as a mentor. My pedagogy always starts with the conviction that education can only be taught to students who care; the best way to make someone care it to help them know they are cared for.
- A) Student-centered learning: I believe that successful learning occurs in an environment which enables student-centered learning. The key elements in student-centered learning involve the reliance on active rather than passive learning, an emphasis on deep learning and understanding, increased responsibility and accountability on the part of the student, an increased sense of autonomy in the learner, and interdependence between teacher and learner, mutual respect within their learner teacher relationship, and a reflexive approach to the teaching and learning process on the part of both teacher and learner. Opportunities for creating a student-centered learning are manifold. In relation to curriculum design, student-centerdness include the idea that students have choice in what to study, how to study. Modularization provides a structure that allows student an element of choice in what modules they study. While students actively take responsibility for their own learning, a teacher can inspire their desire and motivation to learn. I feel that I have responsibility to work hard in facilitating my students’ learning; moreover, this responsibility is pleasurable and gives me a wonderful sense of satisfaction that I have been able to leave something memorable and positive in the lives of many students who passed through my classes.
- B) A teacher as a facilitator: In order to facilitate student-centered learning, I believe in the importance of creating meaningful and supportive learning environment which engages students in their own learning, with instruction and guidance at strategic points along the way, in the zone of intervention. The learning process involves a number of different things going on at the same time, each need advice on how to find useful, relevant, and pertinent sources of information and ideas for their project. Students need intervention to develop information literacy. At the same time, they are experiencing the process of learning from the information in these sources. They need intervention to develop learning strategies. They are also learning content from the sources that may cause confusion about subject concepts. They require intervention to learn curriculum content. They also may be having difficulty comprehending for improving literacy competency. In addition, when they are working in groups they need intervention for developing social skills. To help students to be their own guarantors of learning, and to sustain students’ momentum of learning, it is important to create and maintain such environment, and to guide students in each of these strategic points at the time they most need help, and make ourselves available for communication and interaction with students not just in class, but also before and after the class.
- C) Integration of assessment and learning: I put high priority on formative or on-going assessment of students’ learning. I believe that through integration of learning and assessment teachers are able to readily identify areas of improvement to target in order to ensure that students’ learning is maximized and their differences addressed appropriately. This is most effectively done when assessment includes project work with inquiry based learning or problem-based learning, which allows students to see some of their own learning objectives/outcomes, dependent on prior knowledge. Problem-based Learning, through the use of problems/inquires issues, encourages students to develop their own learning goals, thereby filling in the gaps in their knowledge or understanding.
- D) Establishing a community of learners: Encouraging students to speak freely is one way I have helped students feel comfortable. Another is to build my classes as a community of learners, in which there are many and various ways of talking and various experiences to draw from. As students see themselves as intellectual beings, and that their ideas and outside knowledge are valued, they can begin to be more comfortable volunteering in such a way in the school setting. Establishing the class as a community of learners takes work. Some issues to consider are what the objective in doing this is, what types of student groupings will be used, whether students are learning from each other, how teacher should model for students’ input, how much students are talking compared to how much the teacher is talking. Teachers should consider this as a continuing and yearlong effort for each module. In my experience, small and flexible groups provide students with opportunities to collaborate with others and share the many perspectives that they bring. Using small, interest-based groups through the inquiry process allows students to co-construct knowledge while collaborating on projects. Small groups also give students opportunities to learn from the varied sources they are working with. The evidences are reflected from the results of my year long practices in their group assessments.
- E) Leadership and scholarship of teaching and learning: Since August 2010, I have been an active member of Phi Delta Kappa(PDK) International Education Association based in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. PDK is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders in the United States that are engaged in improving teaching and learning in K-12 schools and teacher education within the college levels. Its mission is to promote high-quality education through their values of leadership, research, and service. It provides members with the latest information through PDK magazine, journals, books, and online resources. From the Association, I was able to acquire the prestigious 2011 Gerald H. Read International Travel Scholarship of $1,000 USD that allowed me to travel to Berlin, Germany to further enhance my knowledge and experience of teaching primary and secondary schools within the European context during the month of November 2011. The experience was extremely rewarding in that the trip kept me aware with the latest information and expertise for the development of teacher education, and practical examples of how to effectively transform education through the use of technology and differentiation. Overall, PDK has allowed me to see continuous change and growth as an integral part of my teaching profession.
- SUMMARY: In short, my belief is that there are only two capabilities of a good teacher. One is to have enough content knowledge of the subject and the other is to deliver it well. After teaching English for two years across the spectrum of educationally and culturally diverse contexts involving primary schools, secondary schools and universities, I have articulated a philosophy in relation to teaching and learning. My belief is to teach students not only to learn but also teach them how to learn, to see the class through the students’ eyes, using teaching pedagogies and assessment tasks that require students to learn, responsively and collaboratively. I often integrate inquiry-based learning in the classroom activities with the use of wiki as a platform for collaborative learning. While my teaching aims vary depending upon the modules and contents, my philosophy fundamentally serves to inform my practice
Copyright ©2015 by Roy Y. Chan