Philosophy of Teaching
For the past two hundred years, Western philosophers and educators have developed several models of teaching; each — based on specific assumptions — claims to provide the best for the learner. In such systems, individuals are perceived as homogenous entities which achieve their best when they are taught in a specific way.
However, while every model of teaching succeeds in accommodating specific needs, they all marginalize a group of students which doesn’t fit within their frameworks. Usually, the teaching model that suits one type of learners does not necessarily respond to the needs of everyone. Sometimes, some individuals require special conditions, or simply need more time than others.
If every individual is unique with his/her own style, then there is no one teaching model that can accommodate every learner. Therefore, Hunt (1971) suggests, teachers should use multiple approaches. Thus, a variety of learning styles might be accommodated, and learners will also be exposed to a multiplicity of views and approaches.
In such an approach, it is assumed that a human being is capable of assimilating his or her culture and developing patterns that “match the major configurations of his/her society” (Joyce, 397: 1992). Despite human flexibility, however, individual members of society do not respond to the environment in the same way. Thus, it is impossible to produce the same “effects” on learners through any given environment. In addition, a dynamic disequilibrium is needed to enhance significant learning and sustain the interest of the individual. So, the teacher’s main role is to expose learners to various teaching modalities and lead them towards the development of the skill to relate to a wider range of realities. Therefore, the main concern for the teacher should be the various ways that might help students to grow and prosper as they face everyday challenges of life, which should be met with appropriate attitudes, courage, and reason. With this approach, I take into consideration the individual’s integrity and right to grow and prosper in his or her own way, and stress the importance of the conventional and cultural forces that serve as a vehicle for our development as individuals and groups.
In my teaching, I use a variety of teaching models from the five families of instructional approaches described by Joyce and others (1992). While I rely on lecture for starting each session, I make extensive use of inquiry training, mastery learning, problem based learning, cynectics, and simulations. Usually, I limit my lectures to approximately one third of the session to allow the remaining time to demonstration, workshop/practice, discussion, or any other activities, as well as students’ active participation.
Hunt, D. E. (1971). Matching models in education. Toronto, Canada: Toronto Institute for Studies in Education.
Joyce, B., Weill, M. and Showers, B. (1992). Models of teaching (4th ed.). Boston, IL: Allyn and Bacon.