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What is a teaching philosophy

Goenitz

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Introduction
Currently, I am in my final year of PhD at Birmingham City University (BCU). During this role, I had an opportunity to teach MSc students about research activities. Before joining BCU, I had taught various engineering modules to BSc students in Pakistan. It was my first job related to teaching. I also had some industrial experience of computer-aided design (CAD) using 'Unigraphics'.

Since my graduation, I had a passion for doing research. The main reason is that in research, one can keep learning and grow in his field. Typically industrial jobs are set of routine tasks where a worker keeps doing his, one or more, given duties. He learns and gains expertise in that field, besides learning a few more things down the line, but it is not as dynamic and progressive as the research filed.

Pursuing research lead me towards academics, especially to higher education (HE). A teacher has to learn more about a subject so that he can effectively teach and engage students. Teaching is not an easy job, as it not only requires enormous effort to prepare session, examination, student activities but also it is an art, which has to be learnt and practised. It is an art to communicate, engage, and nourish students of various backgrounds to learn, analyse, apply, assess, and most importantly, enjoy the subject.

My teaching philosophy
In my opinion, a teacher must have the ability to create passion for a subject in his students. From personal experience, I learned mostly in those modules where the environment was friendly and it was easy to ask the teacher questions. Richard Feynman said, "I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned".

Open communication created my enthusiasm in every session of that module. There are many ways to build an individual's interest, such as by Skinner's positive reinforcement technique (Mahoney, 1991). A study suggests respecting students' emotional needs motivates them to put more effort into studies (Delpit, 2006).

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Figure 1: Alphabets based on tic tac toe​

Humans generally learn through experiences described by Kolb in his famous experiential learning theory (ELT) (Akella, 2010). A simple test of tic tac toe based alphabets[1] can reveal how difficult it is to remember new alphabets symbols (Figure 1) compared to knowing how to generate these (Table 1).

.............................................................................
1615041583521.png

Table 1: Conversion of alphabets from tic tac toe (cross and circle are added for extension)

Most people are familiar with tic tac toe, so any new information, based on previous information, can easily be digested. This simple test shows that students cannot comprehend even a good lecture, with all details and new tools, if the session is not built coherently and step-wise.

Richard Feynman said, "I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something"[2]. Traditionally pedagogical approach is sought even in HE, where teacher mostly delivers the lecture with little or no student activity. In the end, students will know and apply the concepts learned in that subject, as some summative assessment pushes them to do so. Dr Shabaz taught mathematics to students who were weak at the subject. In 7 year span (1956-1963), 103 of his students completed a master, and a third of them completed PhD, in mathematics, from the best US universities. His approach was to make the student understand the concept rather than merely teaching them mathematical operations (Delpit, 2006). So overall, a tilt towards a constructive approach is suitable for engineering students in HE. It is because students learn when they apply the knowledge and then explore it themselves. One other thing is not to overwhelm the students, or they get afraid.

Higher education is not about just job opportunities. It is about raising the collective consciousness of a society. Both Murry (1957) and Zook (1947) reports suggest that to create a democratic, intellectual and spiritual society; higher education is necessary (Currie, 1958) (Heller and And Heller, 2010).

Like every profession, teaching is continuously evolving in its methods due to the teacher's professional development. It is said reflective teachers are effective teachers and effective teachers had ineffective sessions. It is clear that students learn the most from what they do in a class.

Students also think that learning occurs through the teacher only, when he delivers the lecture. They must change their mentality and put their highest effort in studying. Paying tuition fees, and then putting all bets on the educator is plain wrong. Both have to play their own part. A teacher must make them realise that.

In conclusion, I believe that HE is necessary for every citizen who is pursuing it. It is passed best by engaging students in sessions and letting them to explore, by developing passion in them. Any session should not baffle students. An educator must know that students learn by what they do in class, and not by what the teacher does. Overall, student's participation in class is extremely important. It can be achieved by creatively designing class activities and assessments.


[1] https://clubpenguin.fandom.com/wiki/Tic_Tac_Code
[2] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1429989.Richard_P_Feynman
References
Akella, D. (2010) 'Learning together: Kolb's experiential theory and its application', Journal of Management and Organization, 16(1), pp. 100–112. doi: 10.5172/jmo.16.1.100.

Bligh, D. A. (1998) What's the Use of Lectures?, Intellect Books. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/What_s_the_Use_of_Lectures.html?id=l-xxxqZXUU8C&redir_esc=y (Accessed: 10 August 2020).

Currie, G. A. (1958) The Report of the Committee on Australian Universities, Australian Journal of Education. doi: 10.1177/000494415800200105.

Delpit, L. (2006) 'Lessons from teachers', Journal of Teacher Education, 57(3), pp. 220–231. doi: 10.1177/0022487105285966.

Heller, D. and And Heller, G. (2010) The Truman Commission and its Impact on Federal Higher Education Policy.

Hofmeyer, A. et al. (2015) Leadership In Learning And Teaching In Higher Education: Perspectives Of Academics In Non-Formal Leadership Roles, Contemporary Issues in Education Research. Available at: http://hsrc.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/son_nurs_facpubshttp://hsrc.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/son_nurs_facpubs/175 (Accessed: 10 August 2020).

Mahoney, M. J. (1991) 'B. F. Skinner: A collective tribute.', Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne. American Psychological Association (APA), 32(4), pp. 628–635. doi: 10.1037/h0084641.

I will add details about technical terms later
 
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Goenitz

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1. So basically our teachers are at fist stage, where they can identify one good and one bad students. It shows our lack of connection between teacher and students.
2. then comes when we divide them in groups. That is even not a good thing.
3. Then comes overall class trend, then a teacher can decide which approach is better. It misses few students.
4. Then comes super teacher who knows every individual as a data point, and they can relate strength and weakness of students, especially which are more needy/weak.
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Reflection or self-experience
@TNT vs @Mohamed Bin Tughlaq
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both approaches are ok, but second one is time consuming. Few examples of Elon Musk, Bill gates doesn't justify that college education is a waste. There are plenty examples of the people who were learned/graduates and built big companies.
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Still today, our approach is Pedagogy where teachers just transmit lecture/knowledge..
 
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Goenitz

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So overall we lack people who can do Synthesis and Evaluation.
At most we have many analysts, who can identify or analyse differences between two actions/data.
We have many people till application level.
Synthesis is a PhD or research level.
Evaluation is done by and expert of that field. He is like a judge who can give verdict in that case. So more like a senior Professor.
I am attaching slides, please have a look, (we focus on summative assessment e.g. final exams, see how many assessment types are there to engage students, slides can cause copyright issue. Original owner SEDA (https://seda.ac.uk/))

In summary,

Students can only learn what they do in the class, and not what teachers do.

So a teacher with great knowledge, and great lecture delivery cannot teach effectively, unless students are engaged (practise themselves). Everything else is futile. It is practice, practice and only practice by students. Students think by paying university fee, now its teacher responsibility to inject knowledge in their brains.


@JamD @jamahir @PDF @WebMaster @peagle @Bilal Khan (Quwa)

That was my assignment about how should we teach. Hope you may find it interesting. Plus it has ideas about teaching philosophy, if you want to apply for academic positions. :P
 

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User

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Sir I agree with the gist that all students have different caliber and learning should be a reciprocal process in which students and teachers must actively participate otherwise it`s a lullaby and sleepyheads.
 

Goenitz

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One thing I forgot is why I posted this.
It is about project AZM. We have to train our people till analyst level and beyond. Some people argue that vocational training is the way for "PAF knowledge city" to generate the workforce for the 5th generation fighter.
My argument is we need a pool of engineers and scientists. For that we need top notch Professors and researchers to train them. Due to time and capital limit, we should send the 'pool' to western universities like in Italy, Germany, Sweden and S.K. Their education is economical and methods are way advanced.

So by sending them over the years will make a reservoir of engineers, scientists, trained personals of Pak origin. We can hire them by good incentives when we have money for the project.

If we can't, by sending them at least they can send back remittances. So a win win situation. otherwise, our youth cannot find job in Pak sector due to shrinking demand and growing population. In addition, we may waste our youth in 9-5 jobs, who else can become scientists.

Fun fact, all toppers of my class, quickly got job, married and settled down. No one pursued higher education. A complete growth stagnation of those bright minds except what they learnt in their organisation (mainly tail carrying may be, TC).

The whole point to share the 'philosophy' is that our institutions lack teacher training. Prof follows traditional methods. We waste our college students in universities. For that, my argument is we have many world class achiever in O/A-levels, but we don't have scientific papers coming out of our universities. So they get the degree but cannot solve a real world problem.

@Falcon26 @MastanKhan @Imran Khan @Signalian @Windjammer @The Eagle @Irfan Baloch @Bilal Khan 777
Hope you find it interesting.
 
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313ghazi

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MashaAllah, nice to have a proper academic in our midst. I'll have a proper read of this later and would like to ask you some questions about your experiences in HE sector.
 

jamahir

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@jamahir so you didn't get the notification of this thread? I guess, in editing, the user doesn't get it.
I got notification for above post. Yes, an edited-in tag doesn't generate notification.

I will read and contribute in some hours. :)

BTW I too was a teacher for about a year.
 

TNT

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Thanks for the tag and a nice article. Being related to academics and HE, i agree with most of ur points.
There is one distinction that need to be established, as its blur in Pakistan as well and that is, teaching and research are two totally different fields. A good researcher can be a bad teacher and vice versa. I remember in UK we had this iranian guy from Bell labs US, an excellent excellent researcher, ahead of any UK professors but guess what, his teaching was crap, his presentation was crap, his language was crap. Every year students would sent tons of letters to get him removed, his teaching assessment would be the worst every year while at same time his research output was top class. Long story short, he left the job after many meetings n went back to pure research.
In Pakistan we sent people for PhD and they come back and we expect them to be good teachers, thats wrong. As u explained good teaching is a skill, an art that needs to be learned. Those PhDs that come back should be utilized in research but unfortunately in Pakistan, there is no research, our research budget is negligible and actually its discouraged.
 

Goenitz

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MashaAllah, nice to have a proper academic in our midst. I'll have a proper read of this later and would like to ask you some questions about your experiences in HE sector.
Thans brother, I am very early stage of my Teaching career. I made blunders in Pak and now after going through "how to teach" courses, and working as Teacher Asst, I hope to learn a lot.
I will read and contribute in some hours
Thanx man. Also, your yesterday post realised me that, editing then tagging, doesn't work.
an excellent excellent researcher, ahead of any UK professors but guess what, his teaching was crap, his presentation was crap, his language was crap
That is very strange. I mean, knowledge gives you confidence, so if you have full command of your subject, next, simple story telling is enough. May be he didn't bother to prepare lecture properly and didn't rehearse. It is very time consuming.
s u explained good teaching is a skill, an art that needs to be learned. Those PhDs that come back should be utilized in research but unfortunately in Pakistan,
It is an art of sensing student behaviour, teaching them accordingly.You have to design, your lecture and assessment very carefully. If you teach X, but give past papers, or any Y thing, student will not follow you.

One thing I hate most is 'copy/paste' nature of our bureaucrats. Our A/FSc level is annual based system. But then we shift immediately to US semester system in BSc, and think student will conform as they are adults now.
For graduation in UK, teachers still hold tutorial/exercise classes/sessions after every lecture and help them solve simple and complex problems (like our FSc). It is very difficult in such a system, not to learn and fail.
 
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TNT

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Thans brother, I am very early stage of my Teaching career. I made blunders in Pak and now after going through "how to teach" courses, and working as Teacher Asst, I hope to learn a lot.

Thanx man. Also, your yesterday post realised me that, editing then tagging, doesn't work.

That is very strange. I mean, knowledge gives you confidence, so if you have full command of your subject, next, simple story telling is enough. May be he didn't bother to prepare lecture properly and didn't rehearse. It is very time consuming.

It is an art of sensing student behaviour, teaching them accordingly.You have to design, your lecture and assessment very carefully. If you teach X, but give past papers, or any Y thing, student will not follow you.

One thing I hate most is 'copy/paste' nature of our bureaucrats. Our A/FSc level is annual based system. But then we shift immediately to US semester system in BSc, and think student will conform as they are adults now.
In UK, teachers hold tutorial/exercise classes/sessions after every lecture and help them solve simple and complex problems. It is very difficult in such a system, not to learn and fail.
You see a fresh PhD is assigned assistant professor in Pakistan, mostly the fresh PhD have hardly any teaching experience. In west, fresh PhDs work in lans and then with professors before starting lectures. We also need faculty development training programs.
 

Goenitz

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We also need faculty development training programs.
We have some programs for B-Ed and M-Ed, but we can guess what will be their situation.
Anyway, it is a continuous development and a single course/degree cannot make one a good teacher.
 

JamD

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@jamahir so you didn't get the notification of this thread? I guess, in editing, the user doesn't get it.

IDK whether you got the notification or ignored so tagging you again guys.
@JamD @Signalian @Falcon26 @MastanKhan @Bilal Khan (Quwa) @Bilal Khan 777 @peagle @TNT @Mohamed Bin Tughlaq @khansaheeb @Khan vilatey
Notifications are dogdy. I often don't get notifications for tags.

To be honest I have never thought about the philosophy of teaching as deeply as you have so I may not have useful things to contribute. I have taught many classes during my PhD, which is what a lot of PhD candidate do I believe. I suppose this is the preparation for teaching in academic jobs.

One thing that I have experienced is that your teaching style needs to completely change depending on who you are teaching. Undergraduate freshman, undergraduate senior, and graduate students are completely different experiences to teach. Even though most graduate students were undergraduate seniors a couple of months ago but their outlook on taking classes and education changes entirely. In some ways teaching graduate courses is quite an enriching experience where I learnt a lot about the subject and how best to present it. For undergraduates I felt repetition was vital. Repetition with slight variations of course. That is, the same idea presented many many different ways.

These are just some of the things I've learnt on the job.
 

Goenitz

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One thing that I have experienced is that your teaching style needs to completely change depending on who you are teaching.
Thats new. In my experience, few students change their behaviour exceptionally, rest got some serious but overall, they remained same.
Even though most graduate students were undergraduate seniors a couple of months ago but their outlook on taking classes and education changes entirely
They become more practical, work harder and don't waste time like freshmen, and change their preferences.. so yes.
For undergraduates I felt repetition was vital. Repetition with slight variations of course. That is, the same idea presented many many different ways.
That is a good point. One of my professor teach very slowly, in fact he repeats during lecture. Students like him a lot.
Plus, my point is US semester system in Pak is not working. We totally put burden on students, to do exercise, surprise quiz, etc right after they come from annual system. UK unis don't convert to semester system.

I just shared to highlight what approach we should take for the PAF Knowledge City
 

jamahir

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Teaching is not an easy job, as it not only requires enormous effort to prepare session, examination, student activities but also it is an art, which has to be learnt and practised. It is an art to communicate, engage, and nourish students of various backgrounds to learn, analyse, apply, assess, and most importantly, enjoy the subject.
Rightly so !

I myself was a teacher at a computer institute when I was 20 or 21. And I was generally well-regarded by my students and immediate colleagues, if I say so myself. :D

Richard Feynman said, "I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned".
That's a very good quote.

simple test of tic tac toe based alphabets[1] can reveal how difficult it is to remember new alphabets symbols (Figure 1) compared to knowing how to generate these (Table 1).

.............................................................................
1615041583521.png

Table 1: Conversion of alphabets from tic tac toe (cross and circle are added for extension)

Most people are familiar with tic tac toe, so any new information, based on previous information, can easily be digested. This simple test shows that students cannot comprehend even a good lecture, with all details and new tools, if the session is not built coherently and step-wise.
I must give more time to this.

Higher education is not about just job opportunities. It is about raising the collective consciousness of a society. Both Murry (1957) and Zook (1947) reports suggest that to create a democratic, intellectual and spiritual society; higher education is necessary (Currie, 1958) (Heller and And Heller, 2010).
Agreed.

Students also think that learning occurs through the teacher only, when he delivers the lecture. They must change their mentality and put their highest effort in studying. Paying tuition fees, and then putting all bets on the educator is plain wrong. Both have to play their own part. A teacher must make them realise that.
Indeed. It is a two-way street. The students must be questioners as well.

In conclusion, I believe that HE is necessary for every citizen who is pursuing it.
I think we need to devise a new HE education system, without the need for exam marks, with the students becoming apprentices during their education.

Few examples of Elon Musk, Bill gates doesn't justify that college education is a waste. There are plenty examples of the people who were learned/graduates and built big companies.
I agree. Even Musk got many of his engineers from college education.

But I too am a college drop-out and can call myself the prominent designer in classical computing. Some years ago I wrote a simple operating system and this, however basic, was the first in India. Now I have been designing, for some years, the first microprocessor local to India and also its OS.

I will give some numbers. Even year more than 100,000 computer engineers graduate from Indian colleges. And this has been so for the last 20 years at least. So there are currently one to two million computer engineers in India. Yet, other than my projects, there is not a single, local microprocessor and OS designed by them. By all these two million people.

If we compare this to civil engineering. We expect civil engineers to be able to build buildings either of their own plan or using architecture of an architect.
 

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