My philosophy of teaching mirrors my constructivist goals as a researcher. As a constructivist, my goal as a teacher is to help the learner build a framework for analyzing how we gain knowledge that prepares them for their role as future teachers and teacher leaders. Constructivist theory posits that the construction of knowledge is gained from more than interaction with knowledgeable “others.” (Vygotsky, 1978). Though more knowledgeable others can be teacher or peers, the key to learning is the role of the learner in taking in new knowledge and making use of it that demonstrates that the leaner now owns that knowledge.
In addition to constructivist theory, my teaching philosophy reflects the principle that socio-cultural learning communities facilitate meaningful learning (Gee, 1999; Vygotsky, 1978). Socio-cultural learning communities emphasize the importance of creating a safe space in which the learner can learn. This means that I am student centered and that I rely on student inquiry, questioning, critical thinking and discussion, rather than teacher-centered practices of telling and restating. My ultimate goal is to help the learner construct knowledge through discussion, inquiry and engagement with the material. Learner constructed knowledge demands that the learner participate in a range of activities such as reading materials, projects, and on-site experiences, to gain knowledge and grow.