My interest in teaching and research evolved out of my passion for learning and desire to teach. Thus, it has always been my ambition to be a member of the academic staff of an institution where teaching and learning are of high quality. As an undergraduate student, I had valuable experience of learning in an environment that presented diverse personalities, ethnic groups, interests, and motivation. I witnessed different kinds of challenges that higher education learning could present, particularly to first-year undergraduate students. This experience contributed immensely to the development and continuous evolvement of my teaching philosophy, which is based on the following:
- to dispel the fear of learning in a higher institution and adopt a positive learning attitude
- to develop an enthusiasm for learning, and
- to inculcate a symbiotic learning strategy.
To achieve these set of objectives, I developed an approach to learning that centres on building a relationship with students; thus, creating a bond that would enable them to see me not just as a teacher, but as a colleague in learning.
At the beginning of most classes, I always use ice-breaking techniques to stimulate attention and familiarity between students as well as encourage class participation. The ice-breaking technique is widely used when there is a plan for students to work in groups. This practice has proved to be beneficial in creating a relaxed atmosphere in classes. I have received positive feedback from students who testified that ice-breaking has helped them to become familiar with many students in the class as well as encouraging them to interact well in groups. Some students confessed to being shy and withdrawn, but the ice-breaking technique has helped to improve their relationships with other students. My aim is to create a relaxed atmosphere that enables students to be involved in classroom discussions as well as feel free to ask questions.
I believe teaching is a three-way frequency: teachers to students – students to teachers – and students to students. Hence, I like to use interactive sessions that involve students interacting with me and one another to create a good learning experience for everyone. For example, through group activities and discussion, I encourage students to contribute their expertise for the benefit of the entire class. Involving the learners in this way helps to motivate them to prepare for classes by reading materials given to them.
As a positivist, I endeavor to motivate the students; reminding them that with the right guidance and perseverance, they can achieve whatever they set their mind to accomplish. I do so by recognizing and applauding their efforts in attending lectures, tutorials, and completing assignments.
I see learning as a journey for students and myself. I like to keep track of the progress in this journey by receiving feedback from them. One of the methods I often use to get their feedback is the “minute paper” where I discuss with students and colleagues to see how we can build on them to the benefit of the learners and myself.
I aspire to be a teacher who inspires students to learn and encourages the scholarship of deep learning within a supportive academic environment. Similarly, I continually strive to improve my teaching skills by attending teaching workshops, seminars, and courses, while at the same time learning from more experienced colleagues.
Repatriation Division, Immigration Services Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality, Ireland
Visiting Lecturer at Nexus International University, Kampala, Uganda
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