Emma Bourassa

Philosophy of teaching and learning

Teaching fascinates me. I believe curriculum lives and is dependent on the lived experiences of students as well as the goals of the course. That’s what keeps me invigorated!  To expand these ideas into a more comprehensive philosophy of teaching, I believe it is important to:

a)    Remain a learner, reflecting on how I can be empathetic  to students’ challenges and thus change my approach to each new teaching experience.

b)    Create a learning situation then get out of their way- encourage autonomous learning and a dialectic about the process, with myself taking the role of facilitator whenever it is more effective for student learning. E.g . whenever possible facilitate experiential learning from which students can apply skills and make their own conclusions about the concept.

c)    Let students know that I believe that learning should affect the whole  person- cognitive  and affective. In lieu of this, lessons must challenge  students to go beyond what they already know and include all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning, yet support this disequilibrium- or creative change in understanding. Celebrate and facilitate critical thinking.

d)    Share the curriculum- students bring individual expertise and needs that I only will know by allowing them to emerge naturally and be given feedback on frequently

e)    Welcome dynamism in the class- do not rely on anything going as planned and be open to teaching and learning moments, keeping in mind that the experiences should have a grounding in real life

f)    Respect students as capable beings with different learning styles due to personality and culture and be open about the acknowledgement and acceptance of these challenges for them and me.

g)    Share the expectations. Give reasonable criteria that challenges them to grow and be fair when assessing.

h)    Realize that learning is never done, model continuous learning and acknowledge what they individually and as a group give to my learning process. Allow for my own ‘disequilibrium’.