My Educational Philosophy
Daniel Greene
Phoenix College
July 16, 2014

Author Note
I wrote this paper for EDU250, Teaching in the Community Colleges, a course that all
instructors in the Maricopa Community College must take within their first two years of
teaching. This statement reflects my educational philosophy at the time of writing. My
philosophy is likely to evolved as I continue to study education, gain teaching experience, and
reflect on my practice as an educator.
This philosophy statement explains why I teach, what I teach, how I teach, and how I measure
my effectiveness. Herein, I discuss the purpose of education; explain my personal interest in
working in the educational field; describe my teaching strategies and preferred methods, moves,
and techniques for motivating and engaging students; describe my preferred strategies for
formative and summative assessment, as well as grading strategies; describe some common
characteristics of the students I teach in the community colleges; discuss my role as a teacher;
discuss why accreditation is important in teaching; explain my interest in teaching for the
community colleges; and, finally, describe my philosophy on the use of technology in instruction.
Keywords: education, teaching, ASL, interpreting, community college, students
My Educational Philosophy
I believe people seek an education because they want to make their lives and other
people’s lives better. I acknowledge that many students enter community college because
someone told them to, or because they want a job, and they might not feel a thirst for knowledge
or an intrinsic drive for learning. Yet I believe that inside all students is a thirsty, motivated
learner, and I take it upon myself as a teacher to get students in touch with the learner within. I
also believe students possess altruistic motives they are not be in touch with, and I consider it my
job to bring those deeper motivations out.
Personally, my desire is to continuously improve my work to leave a positive mark upon
the world. I have been a professional ASL/English interpreter for over half my life; now, on top
of my professional practice, I teach ASL and interpreting to keep my work interesting so I can
continue to serve consumers reenergized. I teach ASL to pass along the satisfaction I have
enjoyed understanding the impressive expressions of Deaf people communicating in a language I
never knew until I was twenty-one. I teach ASL because I want to build more allies of Deaf
people, and prepare more students to enter ASL/English interpreter education programs.
My students do not always come to me burning with a passion to learn ASL and
communicate with Deaf people, nor do they always arrive at community colleges with a sense of
purpose and preparedness to learn. To guide them out of apathy, I begin the first day of class by
asking them why they are taking ASL. If they say “I have to take it for college,” I ask them why
they are in college; if they say, “to get a job,” I ask them what job they want what draws them to
it. My goal is to get them think critically about their motivations and get them to connect their
end goals with the course at hand. If students come to class wanting to learn ASL so they can
communicate with Deaf people, I praise that and capitalize on it to emphasize that the point of
learning a language is to be able to communicate with the people who use it. I ask them about the
Deaf people they want to communicate with, and how communicating with them would improve
their relationships. My aim is to get them to use the desire for connectedness as their motivation
in the course.
I also use the first day to unpack assumptions about ASL and disabuse students of
common misperceptions, such as the notion that ASL is simpler than spoken languages or that
this will be an easy class. I usually hand out an American Deaf Culture Quiz on paper and have
the students complete it in writing. In the past, I have corrected the quizzes and shown the
students their grade without counting it against them. This fall, as an improvement, I will
administer the test in a way that is truly ungraded: using to conduct a class
survey, I will project the multiple choice questions and graphs of students’ answers on the screen
at the front of the class. Anyone who can send text messages can interact with this technology. It
is conducive to learning because it allows students to answer anonymously, without pressure, and
see how their answers compare with other students’. This first assessment will be formative, not
summative; i.e., so it is merely a benchmark without consequences. I will utilize the answers to
engage the students in critical thinking: identifying assumptions, investigating accuracy and
validity, examining from different perspectives, and taking informed action. I will include these
questions on subsequent summative assessments to see whether they have learned the answers.
I, myself, learned ASL in an accredited community college. I had returned to school after
making unsatisfactory progress at a university. Community college gave me opportunity, ASL/
English interpreting gave me purpose, and accreditation gave me credibility. I am proud to be
teaching students a skill they can use to improve themselves, earn an honest living, and make the
world a better place for Deaf and hearing people.

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