Philosophy of teaching and learning

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People learn and encode knowledge in their brains in completely different ways in real life. It describes the different personal learning styles that exist, such as visual, tactile, and auditory learning styles, for this purpose (Oliver et al., 2014). Visual learning is my preferred method of instruction. This learning style allows me to encode information in my brain, such as images, and then quickly transform, read, and deliver it to the class while teaching. My teaching philosophy is founded on two major concepts in my professional life. These are; active student learning which strongly influences the learning outcomes and secondly inculcation of assessment tests which aid in student acquisition of knowledge. Basing on these two principles, I strive to make sure that the students learn the essential information from the courses I teach, foster critical thinking skills, and also facilitate the attainment of lifelong learning skills. To successfully attain my objectives and to have a working teaching and learning philosophy, behaviourism theory has been the bacon on which I have built my philosophy.

Behaviourism in developing my teaching and learning philosophy

This theoretical approach is of great importance in developing any teaching and learning philosophies. This is because the behavioural theory is primarily concerned with observable and measureable aspects of human behaviour (Gross, 2015). As a health care professional, my major concern is to enable people embrace healthy living and no other theory works best other than behaviourism. To attain my goals the process of teaching usually involves learning and unlearning of the habits by my students. In unlearning and learning of good sleeping and eating habits, I ensure that I give in-depth lectures on the dos and don’ts of healthy living in combination with problem based learning technique.

To enhance their critical thinking, problem solving and lifelong learning skills, I inculcate my lectures with web CT components on physical fitness, give students the opportunity to download lecture notes and other materials related to the course. I also have my students have a better grasp of the concept of healthy living through engaging with online complimentary activities such as simulation activities and video case studies (Oliver, Hunter & Gourlay, 2014). Constantly incorporating these in my lectures alongside tests, has seen to it that my students develop a desire and drive to leading healthy lives.

In addition to that and in bid to enhance behaviour modification amongst my students, I have had my students come up with a diary of what they eat and all activities that they do and put themselves on probation to do away with the bad habits (Oliver et al., 2014). To successfully do this, I have embraced the concepts of modelling and shaping of behaviourism theory. In modelling, I make sure that before I start my class, I share with my students the good habits that I have embraced and the ones that I have discarded. Acting as a role model serves as a stimulus to the students to make them take up the challenge of attaining healthy living. Those who tend to make a step in changing their habits, I reinforce the good habits obtained by rewarding them with materials on healthy living and also a ticket to the gymnasium (Gross, 2015). Such an approach has aided in the success of the nutritional therapists in dealing with health issues such as diabetes and also chronic heart diseases. For instance, the behavioural models of ecological perspective and health belief models have been used by the nutritional therapists in nutrition intervention amongst the geriatric population. From the ecological perspective point of view, it is believed that, behaviour affects and is affected from multiple levels of influence. At an individual level, ones characteristics such as their attitudes, beliefs, and personality traits greatly influence the older persons eating patterns and choices around them. Consequently, if the youths eating patterns are healthy the older people tend to ape the same and vice versa (Shikany, Bragg, & Ritchie, 2009). This therefore emphasizes the importance attached to modelling in developing a teaching and learning philosophies.

Effect of beliefs and values on my teaching-learning philosophy

As a health care instructor, my philosophy of teaching has always been based on the belief that learning should always be student centred. By making my teaching student centred is to ensure that the needs and the interests of my students are catered for. Thus, my role as the knowledgeable figure in the field, is to provide my students with resources on the course and guide them towards making critical evaluation of the resources provided and coming up with viable conclusions to any question that they may have. Felder & Brent (2009) have also attached importance to this assertion and posits that, active learning promotes recall and in-depth understanding of the material as students tend to engage the content rather than passively listening to it. This thence, makes a class more enjoyable and also improves students’ performance (Oliver et al., 2014).

In my teaching course, I have also made it clear that my role as an instructor is to guide them towards the necessary steps of attaining information and not the provider of the information. My take on such a move is to empower the students to take ownership of the education and help them realize that, they are the ones responsible for the results they get after undertaking a course (Shikany, Bragg, & Ritchie, 2009). I only aid in correcting the mistakes they have made and on the research questions that I have provided them with.

With such considerations in place, it has seen to it that my students make tremendous progress in attaining healthy living lifestyles and also improve greatly in their academic success. I am so passionate about healthy living and thus the passion that I show towards the subject acts as a major trigger to my students developing great interests to leading healthy lifestyles. I have also continually encouraged my students to apply whatever they have learnt in class to the everyday situations and to also critically think about what are some of the impediments to healthy living and how to amicably solve them. This in itself has seen my class coming up with a health club which is now serving as a source of income to them.

Conclusion

An instructor’s personal reading style and also the teaching philosophy greatly impacts on the student’s success in their academic life. It also influences the attainment of the national goals of education. The students’ performance greatly depends on their teacher simply because, the students tend to take their teachers as a know-it-all-figure thus tend to ape what they do and also follow what they are told by their teachers. To ensure that one’s teaching –learning philosophy really works out for them, the instructor should ensure that both they and the students are reading from the same page. This can be attained by the students being respectful to both their teachers and their fellow students. The teacher should also ensure that they create an atmosphere that is welcoming to the students. This is of great importance as the welcoming atmosphere created by the teacher enables the students to regard themselves as being equal to each other and that they are also capable of success. Adhering to all these will enable instructors to be successful in whatever teaching and learning philosophy they come up with.

References

Felder, M.R. & Brent. (2009) Active Learning: An Introduction.

Gross, R. (2015). Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour 7th edition. Hodder Education.

Oliver, M., Domingo, M., Hunter, J., Pan, L., & Gourlay, L. (2014). Pre-tertiary engagement with online learning: Exploring uses of online learning environments and digital technology for progression into and through higher education.

Shikany J.M, Bragg, C.S. and Ritchie, C.S. (2009) Behavioural Theories Applied to Nutritional Therapies for Chronic Diseases in Older Adults. Nutrition and Health: Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Aging, Second Edition; Humana Press, a part of Springer Science Business Media

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