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Teaching Philosophy
Statement of Teaching Philosophy
Karen D. Morgan

As a college mathematics educator, I find it very important to motivate my students to be critical thinkers. My goal is to empower my students to become responsible for their own learning. In teaching a course such as mathematics, I am careful not to approach learning as a robotic and monotonous process in which I distill knowledge of processes, rules, and steps, allow students to digest the knowledge, and then have them regurgitate this information during test time. Instead, I create opportunities that allow my students to learn in an interesting manner as I invite them to share in the enthusiasm and abiding interest I have in the subject matter. I maintain an open-door policy and offer assistance my students, whom I know on a first-name basis. In my experience, this feat is invaluable to my students and makes them feel special.

No class meeting is any more important to me than another. Therefore, for each class presentation, I properly prepare my lecture and organize my notes to ensure that concepts, both basic and complex, are presented in a concise and precise manner. By carefully planning my lecture notes, I am reassured that the material will be presented in such a way as to benefit those students who may never have been introduced to the material. Moreover, this careful planning approach promotes easy processing and retention. I strive to maintain the goal of being an effective teacher. An ineffective teacher cannot present even the most basic concepts in an articulate manner.

Great minds are to be cultivated. As an educator, it is my duty and responsibility to create environments conducive to thinking and learning. When in the classroom, I go beyond the textbook page and ask questions that require more from my students than one-word responses. My teaching style reflects what I wish to bring about in my students. I want students to come to class with questions and to leave with answers to those questions. Furthermore, I want students to leave class asking questions and to search for answers to those questions. It remains my quest to continue to deliver informative lectures and presentations that stimulate dialogue both in class and out of class.

The manner in which new material is presented to a class will determine the true learning atmosphere. If students are told all the information they are required to know about a topic, they will inevitably become bored and ultimately “tune out”. I also create learning environments that encourage students to share their thought processes in solving problems. Students take ownership of their active learning and gain respect for diverse talents and ways of learning.

I set a tone of constant mental stimulation throughout the lesson by regularly offering moderate mental challenges in the form of carefully thought out questions presented in a non-threatening manner. Asking well-constructed questions—questions that are conscientiously prepared and patiently practiced—encourage active learning on the part of the students. I firmly believe that good questioning is an art and is one of the most important elements of good teaching.

It is important to remain positive and energetic when teaching. From my experience in teaching general education mathematics courses, many students are apathetic when it comes to mathematics. I strongly believe that a positive attitude towards learning mathematics and learning in general can be contagious. To inspire confidence in my students is of utmost importance to me. By exposing my love for mathematics, my passion and enthusiasm towards teaching and my dedication and patience in helping students, I give students a newfound appreciation for mathematics and its everyday practicality.

I have witnessed remarkable changes in mathematics education. Curricula in mathematics education have become student-focused and more heavily promote critical thinking and analytical skills in learning. My major goals when teaching any mathematics course are to enable students to understand the mathematical concepts in the course, to develop mathematical problem solving skills, to apply concepts and theories learned in class to solve various application problems, to prepare for higher-level courses, and to enhance critical thinking and analytical reasoning abilities. I wish for all my students that they leave my class with a full assurance of having received a quality education and with the capability of competing at the next level.

According to Gaff ( New Life for the College Curriculum, 1991), “an educated person is one who not only possesses knowledge and abilities but personal qualities such as self consciousness, empathy for others, and a sense of civic responsibility . . . integrated into a wholly functional human being.” I believe that an individual’s moral and spiritual values and ethical standards of conduct should be respected. As an educator, I respect the worth and dignity of my students and believe each of them has the ability to make rational decisions. If the primary function of education is to create responsible culture makers, then learning must occur through interaction among the individual student, the teacher, the class as a group, and their cultures.

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