My Teaching & Learning Philosophy
The Designer and Practitioner of Meaningful Learning
Throughout my academic and professional journeys, I have had many opportunities to discover myself as a learner, educator, and practitioner. As an advocate leader, I take my responsibility as an educator very seriously. My students are my priority, and I will stop at nothing to help them reach their academic goals. I understand the role that I serve, and the responsibility placed upon me to deliver meaningful and experiential learning experiences to those on an academic journey. I want learners to become confident in their approach to learning, moving from a pedagogical stance to a more andragogical, self-directed way of thinking. My philosophy on facilitating learning pushes me to support students by “reaching them where they are.” My purpose is to encourage self-directedness and enthusiasm among learners while helping them fill in learning gaps. It is critical to add to their experiences and cognition and promote growth and self-discovery. I want to help my students reflect on who they are as learners, how they learn, and what academic endeavors are important to them, both personally and academically. I want to inspire learners to be great by discouraging mediocrity. My goal is to encourage learners to always challenge themselves by pushing their skills and abilities to the limit to find out what they are truly capable of.
Learning is a joint effort between the educator and the learner. It is my duty to equip learners with the tools necessary to master new concepts while building upon their existing knowledge. As a practitioner, I wish to provide them with resources for promoting self-discovery and transformational learning. As founded in McClusky’s Theory of Margin (1963), supporting learning involves helping students effectively manage their “Power” and “Load”. Building nurturing and trusting relationships with students is at the core of understanding them as learners and individuals which is why I forge lasting relationships with learners. My current methods call for developing course content in a way that encompasses varying learning styles. I find it equally important to strategically structure courses, paying close attention to the amount of material presented in each module, being sure not to impose cognitive overload. It is also a practice of mine to focus on deadlines given for course assignments and activities. Students should be given ample time to complete coursework while seeking guidance and feedback. To assist in one’s learning, the student should effectively manage one’s time and utilize the resources provided.
It is important for me to meet the needs of each student despite one’s existing or initial cognitive abilities. Learners who struggle to grasp or master content are given additional support and motivation. I provide extensive feedback on assignments, encourage an open-door policy for communication, and differentiate instruction. In a learning community of diverse learners, it is imperative that I provide a range of different avenues for understanding new concepts. It is also a practice of mine to encourage reflection and goal setting as well as a balance between group and individual collaboration.
I believe people learn best when they are presented information that is relevant to them that can be applied immediately. This is especially true for adult learners. I am a full supporter of Malcolm Knowles’s concept of Andragogy which is based on several assumptions about the adult learner. These assumptions include self-concept of learner, prior experience of the learner, orientation to learning, motivation to learn, and the learner’s need to know (Merriam & Baumgartner, 2020). I also follow many different models and approaches when designing instruction. Some of these approaches and perspectives include cognitivism, constructivism, and behaviorism. A few instructional design models employed include ADDIE, SAM, Gange’s Nine Events of Instruction, and Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping.
One very famous quote that I hold near and dear to my heart was coined by Benjamin Franklin. It goes, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” I am constantly reminded that learning never stops. Continued learning is a must for improving my teaching and content development skills. It’s rarely difficult to find a solution to a problem. Most times, the challenge stems from incorrectly identifying the real problem. The job of an educator is so much more than meets the eye. Education has become tangible for more individuals than before thanks to the world of online learning. Meaningful learning requires extension beyond the classroom. Students need to be intrigued and empowered. The goal is to incite self-exploration and discovery. Educators must become innovators and overcome the grave challenges we sometimes face, with triumph. We must test the limits of technology and creativity. We must evolve and adapt. I am a supporter of instructional technology and have committed to improving the eLearning field by conducting research, practicing innovative strategies, and evaluating the effectiveness of various online learning solutions. The band has been stretched, there is no going back. We must continue to push the envelope and tackle the demands and challenges we continue to face.
~Senica F. Troutman
Merriam, S. B., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2020). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass