Developing a statement of teaching philosophy involves the analysis and evaluation of several elements. In determining an effective approach to training adult employees in an online environment, adult learning theory must be examined, specific goals must be established, and strategies must be developed to help fulfill these goals. These elements include having a thorough knowledge of how adults learn and various learning styles, understanding methods for how learning can and should be facilitated, developing employee goals for training, evaluating one’s own individual training style, having knowledge of how to effectively implement training theories within organizational constraints, having the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of training initiatives, and continually establishing and evolving one’s own future goals as a training professional.
As described by VARK designer Fleming (2007), there are five primary styles of learning preferences among learners. These include visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic, and multimodal learning styles. The visual approach is more holistic than reductionist,meaning that a system and its properties are perceived wholly rather than as just a sum of its individual parts. A learner with a visual preference is significantly impacted by the visual look of learning material, and takes a marked interest in the color, layout and design used in training materials. Learners with an aural preference are focused on the verbal explanation of a learning topic rather than words. For this type of learner, the written word does not provide as much impact as a verbal explanation of the material, and they often have a desire to verbally discuss newly acquired knowledge with others.
Learners with a read/write learning style have a preference for written words and lists. These learners believe that the best knowledge delivery comes from a written explanation, and they prefer to use libraries and other sources of written references to provide support for their information. For learners with a kinesthetic style, their understanding of knowledge comes from experiential learning, meaning that as similarly described by Merriam (2007), ideas are only valuable if they are perceived as practical, realistic, and relevant. The kinesthetic learner must be able to apply and experience knowledge to their personal experiences to fully understand and retain the knowledge delivered. The multimodal learning style describes learners with no particular preference among the aforementioned learning styles. They may have one style that is somewhat more dominant, but they have the ability to either align or contrast their learning style with those around them depending on which suits their goals.
It is important to realize that e-learning is not, as Bach (2007) explains, a “magic solution” for solving training issues. Training teams should not assume that e-learning automatically lends itself to delivering knowledge to large groups of employees and allows trainers to provide information without hands-on involvement. Many of the same principles of traditional learning still apply to e-learning environments. For example, when learning new information, Merriam (2007) explains that adult learners must find meaning and be able to apply knowledge realistically to their own life experiences in order to relate and retain the information. Bach (2007) describes that it is important, as in traditional learning environments, to break employees into small groups to increase their interaction among each other and to make the facilitation process easier. It is also important for training teams to not simply distribute knowledge through e-learning methods and then remove themselves from the equation. Bach (2007) explains that e-learning training does not run itself, and trainers must stay involved in the process by ensuring that materials are kept up-to-date, that students are continually encouraged to provide feedback and given intervention when needed, and that trainers must be available as resources and tutors to aid in comprehension of the material. While e-learning is being increasingly embraced by organizations as an efficient training tool, it does not eliminate the need to stay involved in the training process.
As described in a study by James (2011), it is important to continually evaluate an organization’s learning participants using VARK or other learning style evaluation tools to make training more effective. By building awareness of how employees learn and by modifying training methods and strategies to adapt to these styles, training teams can improve learning outcomes and better evaluate training effectiveness.
Bryan ael5006-3 draft
Philosophy of Teaching Statement Angela BryanBryanAEL5006-3 July 13, 2012
• Andragogy, defined as "the art and science of helping adults learn," is credited to Knowles (2005) and refers to adult learner-focused education that is built around five issues to be considered and addressed in formal learning. They include (1) letting learners know why something is important to learn, (2) showing learners how to direct themselves through information, and (3) relating the topic to the learners experiences. In addition, (4) people will not learn until they are ready and motivated to learn. Often this (5) requires helping them overcome inhibitions, behaviors, and beliefs about learning.• This Section introduces the concept of andragogy and engages learners to think about strategies, settings, and practical ideas for how to reach adult learners in the modern classroom. This Section also challenges learners to create their own personal philosophy of teaching adults.• Required Reading:• Bach, S., Haynes, P., and Lewis Smith, J. (2007): Chapter 2• Knowles, M., Holton, E., & Swanson, R. (2005): Chapter 6• Reflect on and articulate your beliefs about adult learning by creating a Philosophy of Teaching Statement. Your statement should focus on adult learning in the online environment. You may create your philosophy as a written statement or as a PowerPoint presentation with "speaker notes." Using Chism’s five components of a teaching statement (The Ohio State University: University Center for Advancement of Learning), construct the statement with the following sections:• Conceptualization of learning• Conceptualization of teaching• Goals for students• Implementation of the philosophy• Professional growth plan• Essay Length: 5-7 pages (app. 350 words per page)• Presentation Length: 12-15 slides (with a separate reference slide)• Notes Length: 50-100 words for each slide
Developing a Teaching Philosophy• Knowledge of learning methods• Facilitation of learning• Development of employee learning goals• Evaluation of teaching style• Implementation of elements in organization• Evaluation of training delivery• Establishment of future goals as a training professional
How Do Adults Learn?• Read/Write • Kinesthetic • Multimodal
Adults and E-Learning• Principles of traditional learning still apply – Students must find experiential meaning and realistic application in new knowledge to increase retention (Merriam, 2007). – Break employees into small groups to increase interaction and ease facilitation (Bach, 2007) – Stay involved with learning process, do not leave it to run itself (Bach, 2007)
Conceptualization of Learning• Ask yourself such questions as “What do we mean by learning?” and “What happens in a learning situation?” Think of your answers to these questions based on your personal experience. Chism points out that some teachers have tried to express and explain their understanding of learning through the use of metaphor, because drawing comparisons with known entities can stimulate thinking, whether or not the metaphor is actually used in the statement. On the other hand, most instructors tend to take a more direct approach in conceptualizing learning, i.e., to describe what they think occurs during a learning episode, based on their observation and experience or based on current literature on teaching and learning.
Conceptualization of Teaching• Ask yourself questions such as “What do we mean by teaching?” and “How do I facilitate this process as a teacher?” Chism suggests that personal teaching beliefs on how the instructor facilitates the learning process would be appropriate for this section. Again, the metaphor format can be used, but a common practice is a more direct description of the nature of a teacher with respect to motivating and facilitating learning. Along with the questions above, you may also address such issues as how to challenge students intellectually and support them academically and how the teacher can respond to different learning styles, help students who are frustrated, and accommodate different abilities. Furthermore, you may talk about how you as a teacher have come to these conclusions (e.g., through past experience as a student or teacher, or as a result of literature reading or taking classes).
Goals for Students• This section should entail the description of what skills the teacher expects her/his students to obtain as the result of learning. You may address such issues as what goals you set for your classes, what the rationale behind them is, what kind of activities you try to implement in class in order to reach these goals, and how the goals have changed over time as you learn more about teaching and learning. For instance, you can describe how you have expected students to learn not only the content, but also skills such as critical thinking, writing, and problem solving, followed by elaboration on how you have designed/planned individual sessions towards accomplishing the goals.
Implementation of the Philosophy• An important component of the statement of a teaching philosophy should be the illustration of how one’s concepts about teaching and learning and goals for students are transformed into classroom activities. Ask yourself, “How do I operationalize my philosophy of teaching in the classroom?” and “What personal characteristics in myself or my students influence the way in which I approach teaching?” To answer these questions, you may reflect on how you present yourself and course materials, what activities, assignments, and projects you implement in the teaching-learning process, how you interact with students in and outside class, and the consequences.
Professional Growth Plan• It is important for teachers to continue professional growth, and to do so, teachers need to set clear goals and means to accomplish these goals. Think about questions such as “What goals have I set for myself as a teacher?” and “How do I accomplish these goals?” You can elaborate this plan in your statement of teaching philosophy. For instance, you can illustrate how you have professionally grown over the years, what challenges exist at the present, what long-term development goals you have projected, and what you will do to reach these goals. Chism suggests that writing this section can help you think about how your perspectives and actions have changed over time.
References• Chism, N. V. N. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Essays on Teaching Excellence 9(3): 1-2. Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.• Fleming, N.D. (2008). VARK. A guide to learning styles. The VARK Questionnaire. Retrieved from: http://www.vark- learn.com/english/page.asp?p=questionnaire• James, S., D’Amore, A., Thomas, Theda (2011). Learning preferences of first year nursing and midwifery students: Utilising VARK. Nurse Education Today 31(4): 417-423.• Ohio State University (2009). Guidance on writing a philosophy of teaching statement. University Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Retrieved from http://ucat.osu.edu/portfolio/philosophy/Phil_guidance.html