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Assignment 4

Brieanna Mershman
A40905297

Teaching Philosophy

Becoming an educator is not a piece of paper or certification, but a continuous desire and

will to grow. My goal is to grow and continue learning, to exceed my own expectations.
Ultimately as an administrator and educational leader I can help students in a larger scale. By
using my combined knowledge and experience in the field as well as in the classroom I am able
to better understand the education system, but more importantly the students in the education
system. Through postsecondary teaching I am able to connect with and train educators who in
turn create better learning environments for their students.
Teaching at postsecondary levels has benefits and challenges. Adult learners have
personal experiences to draw connections and facilitate discussions from. These learners may
have numerous years of experience, hence they are likely self-directed learners bringing years of
experience and knowledge with them. Considering their experience I include discussions,
focusing on previous and current situations. To introduce group discussions I use the Circle of
Voices. This style of discussion eliminates the stress of when to jump in while also creating
equal opportunities to contribute as well as active listening (Brookfield, 2013). This group of
learners enjoys the immediate connection between training and real life application. This
understanding of my learners allows me to provide real scenarios they encounter in their daily
work, which is also helpful to intrinsically motivate (Svinicki &McKeachie, 2013) them to
engage. Additionally, Weimer (2013) shines a light on adult learners, illuminating the difficulty
of getting used to learner-centered learning. These learners may feel confused and uneasy when
it goes beyond their development. Keeping this point in mind, my plan combines teacher-

Assignment 4

Brieanna Mershman
A40905297

centered learning and student-centered learning together. Furthermore, as Ambrose (2010)


mentions they do not come into our courses as blank slates; this prior knowledge can then
benefit or hinder their learning. Using an integrated course design provides an appropriate
program for my learners. It has three steps to its planning process. The first step is situational
factors, which adult learners have multi-level responsibilities and many times are resistant to
change. Second is to think about what the learners should learn, how will I know if they
successfully did so and what we will need to do in order to achieve these tasks. Developing the
purpose of courses is largely impacted by Finks question, What would you like the impact of
this course to be on students 2-3 years after it is over? This question makes me think, what is
the most important thing to learn and teach. The final step is to integrate step one and two, to
make sure they support one another for a cohesive learning plan.
Tending to various levels of experience, responsibilities and resistance is challenging.
Students who know are able to apply concepts, clearly articulate their understanding in order
to educate others and hold meaningful discussions regarding the topics. As previously
mentioned, my courses are designed to create and encourage students to become self-directed
learners. To succeed, students must learn to assess the demands of the task, evaluate their own
prior knowledge and skills, plan their approach, monitor their progress and adjust their strategies
as needed, they must be able to use metacognition (Ambrose, 2010). To guide students along, I
also incorporate activities suggested by Weimer, such as involving the learner in goal setting and
assessment decisions. Moreover, Weimer has us consider four areas of evaluation events and
experiences that could change the kind and quality of learning:

Assignment 4

Brieanna Mershman
A40905297

(1) calling attention to the learning processes associated with evaluation experiences, (2)
reducing the anxiety experienced as a consequence of them, (3) not using evaluation to
accomplish hidden agendas, and (4) providing formative feedback through structures and
formats that separate it from the summative context (Weimer, 2002).
If these assessment areas are considered, we will be evaluating learners to promote learning.
I appreciate assessments, the information and incite they provide me as an educator. I
choose to use a variety of assessment techniques, but self assessment is crucial. I conduct a self
assessment in regards to my teaching, in addition to asking each student to self assess their
learning. Following self assessments, I use peer evaluations. As Palmer states, if we had
periodic conversations with each other about teaching over an extended period of time, we would
know enough about each other to ask real questions and give real answers when the moment for
evaluation arrived. Through our discussions and experiences shared, my course would qualify.
As educators we have an obligation to be forthright and open with one another, the privatization
of teaching not only keeps individuals from growing in their craft but fosters institutional
incompetence as well (Palmer, 1998). As educators, our learning is never finished. McKeachie
states, the major usefulness of colleague observation comes form your discussion after the
observation to support peer feedback.
Fink makes me question what learners will take away from each course. Answering this
question provides me with a solid foundation; I want learners to learn and realize how they as
teachers impact students in their own classrooms. However, after concluding a course, I do not
believe I am finished. It is my belief that if a learner of mine came to me in seek of assistance or
help in any way, in which I am knowledgeable, I would gladly assist and continue teaching.

Assignment 4

Brieanna Mershman
A40905297

Teaching is not linear, there is no start point and end point, aside from the circle of life; educators
have chosen a continuous cycle of learning.
My role as an educator is to guide and facilitate learning. I do not distribute knowledge
but rather guide students to explore and find it on their own. There are challenges and hurdles
along the way, but the opportunity and reward far outweigh them. Discussions, real world
applications, the use of metacognition and integrated course design foster student learning.
Adults learning in postsecondary environments have special needs that must be taken into
account. However, they have a wealth of background knowledge and experiences that is just
waiting to be explored. As an educator I must tinker. A tinker enjoys the process of analyzing
what happened, speculating on problems, hypothesizing about what needs to be changed, making
changes, and then seeing what hind of results they bring (Weimer, 2002).

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Resources

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Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., Lovetts, M. C., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How
learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco: JosseyBass.
Brookfield, S. D. (2013). Powerful techniques for teaching adults: San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Assignment 4

Brieanna Mershman
A40905297

Fink, L. D., "Integrated Course Design," Instructional Development Program,University of


Oklahoma. (IDEA Paper #42, March 2005). PDF/Adobe Acrobat. Description of Fink's model
of integrated course design.
Palmer, Parker J (1998). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teachers
life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-7879-1058-9.
Svinicki, M., McKeachie, W., & Others. (2013). McKeachies teaching tips: Strategies,
research, and theory for college and university teachers. 14th Edition. Houghton Mifflin
Company. ISBN 0618116494. Paperback.
Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass.