Being employed at a teaching institution, disseminating information to students in the classroom is vital to their success. In teaching, the fundamental goal is to promote student learning. Learning takes place in many different circumstances and contexts. Although everyone is capable of learning, a student’s desire to learn is a critical pre-requisite to effectively master new concepts and skills. People have multiple learning styles: some learn best in lectured atmospheres, some are motivated by discussion, while others absorb best when they read and reflect on what they have read. The classroom setting can encourage or inhibit learning depending on the dominant learning style of each student. Accommodating different learning styles creates an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Many times, students take their learning habits from the professor. If the professor doesn’t show any interest in the subject and a passion for learning, students are less likely to put forth the effort to learn.
My job, as a professor of mathematics, is to create an atmosphere that promotes learning. I’m very passionate about guiding students through their learning process and the material I’m presenting. One of the best ways to foster learning is to demonstrate those feelings to my students. I encourage learning by creating a relaxed environment for students, stimulating conversation about the concepts being presented and organizing material in a way that makes it easier to understand. I treat the subject matter as interconnected, emphasizing that everything students are learning fits together into a holistic understanding of the world, from which they develop their personal worldview. I believe this is best accomplished when I’m demonstrating general research methodology. Finally, I believe that respect for my students is one of the most important things I can show, not only to encourage their openness to the material I am presenting, but also to inspire them to respect each other and mankind as a whole.
One of the most important concepts I hope to impart to my students is that learning is a process that never ends. As for me, the learning process includes improving myself professionally through evaluations (students, chair, peer, and self), attending various conference, retreats, and workshops on student instruction and technology. Because of this, I have created videos, flow charts containing fundamental principles, and conducted study halls.
In conclusion, I believe “I can teach anyone, but I may not be the teacher for everyone!”