Janet Fulks Teaching Philosophy Statement
The foundation of my teaching is based on a few major principles:
Every human being is valuable; none are without credit, purpose, or value for our world.
Every person can learn and grow and become more of what they are capable of becoming and I can be part of that process in a holistic way.
Biology represents a vehicle to help students expand and grow intellectually, but my interaction with students goes beyond that.
As a college professor I have the privilege of being an example and mentor for my students with regards to their future and lifelong learning habits. One challenge I take seriously is to help them see their own value and strengths.
The classroom assignments from my coursework should teach students to think critically and thoroughly about biology, but beyond this, it should develop an ability to carry that habit of good thinking into other areas of their lives. My role in training students to think wisely about societal and environmental challenges may one day contribute positively to our world, even if in the most fractional way.
As to the style of teaching and pedagogy –Alfred North Whitehead (1928) encapsulated it for me when he described higher education's role. " The university imparts information, but it imparts imaginatively…This atmosphere of excitement, arising from imaginative consideration, transforms knowledge. A fact no longer a bare fact; it is invested with all possibilities. It is no longer a burden of memory; it is energizing as the poet of our dreams, and as the architect of our purpose.” (taken from Assessment in Practice – Banta, Lund, Black, & Oblander 1996, p 11.)
Teachers are the catalysts which initiate chemical processes that multiply intellectual capital in our world. Hopefully this dynamic teaching-learning interaction will make a significant and positive affect in our world. Knowing the effectiveness of what I do requires that I must continually ask: 1) “What should my students know or be able to do at the end of my courses that they did not know or could not do before the course?”, 2) “How will I know they know or can do those things?” and 3) “How will the students know what they now know and can do ?” These questions produce a cycle of learning for me, upon which I hope to continuously improve the teaching-learning interaction with my students.
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