Teaching Philosophy for Michael Bender

For me, the concept of teaching and learning is encompassed by what I call “Assisted Darwinism”. While a bit tongue and cheek, I believe it has merits in how I run my classroom. While it may be an unpopular, I do not believe that every student walking into my class will be successful as not everyone is meant for the world of IT, or is ready for academic learning. I do not pre-identify or judge students. I allow the natural order of the classroom to take its course. This does not mean I simply allow students who could be successful fail; it means that those unwilling to take ownership for their academic careers and don’t ask for or want help may fail.

Conceptualization of Learning

I believe learning occurs when a student is provided with new information or a new task, and then they are able to apply that task within their life. True learning occurs through making mistakes and being able to use those experiences to grow. If we do things the right way all the time, we’ll never learn how to manage. While not specifically related to learning, this quote by Theodore Roosevelt sums up my beliefs of learning.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

Conceptualization of Teaching

I believe that my role as a teacher is to provide an environment that inspires learning through trial and error. In my honest opinion, the only true way to learn job skills is through practice, repetition, and making mistakes. In my classroom, I see myself as more of a Subject Matter Expert (SME) than a teacher. Many of my students are peers in the IT industry. They perform many of the same job activities that I teach about. So I attempt to create a classroom where we are peers in the context of the IT community, and I am simply a SME providing reference knowledge as they learn new skills. In this scenario, the goal is that students will not only learn from me, but learn from each other

As a certified “Geek”, I love technology and everything about the field. I am passionate about learning new technology and keeping my skills up to date. Not just because it is my job, but because I have a true passion for it. Hopefully this passion wears off on my students and they develop this passion as well. I believe IT, more than any other career, requires constant vigilance and learning if you wish to be successful.

Goals for students

For my students, I hope that they achieve the goals they set for the class. Whether it is to simply learn more about Windows Vista so they can use it a home or to start a new career, my mission is to help students achieve those goals.

Students need to be invested in their education. If they cannot commit fully to their learning, it will be very difficult for me to help them achieve success. For students that struggle, I will attempt to assist them to the best of my abilities. However, they must be willing to accept this help, along with invest in getting past the “brick walls” to success.

Students need to develop a lifelong passion for learning. IT is not a career where you learn some skills, and then you just do your job. It is ever evolving. I tell my students that it is a very good chance that the technology we are currently working with may be out-of-date by the time they actually put their knowledge to use.

Implementation of the philosophy

I implement my philosophy by just doing what I do. I do not spend a lot of time philosophizing about how I should be teaching. I simply do what comes natural. I try things; those things that work, I continue to use and improve. Those things that are not successful are evaluated so I can learn from this and improve my teaching methods.

Personal Growth Plan

A number of things come to mind when I think of what

I need to create clearer goals for my activities. Many times, students will finish an activity and not really know what they have done.

I need to take more time to analyze my classes and the impact of my teaching on my students.

Often times I create activities that I think are excellent, but they are too challenging for students. I should be consistently re-evaluating my activities to ensure the learning goals of my classes are met by the activities.

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