I'm applying for this fellowship that requires a "Teaching Philosophy Statement". It's a reflective piece of writing about how you approach pedagogy. Here's a draft.
Teaching Philosophy Statement
No single piece of advice could capture what it means to teach effectively, but this might come close:
It is not enough to give the students flour and sugar and butter; you have to bake the cake
I can’t remember who gave me that advice, but it is good advice for a number of reasons. First, it highlights the systematic nature of learning. Deep learning is not the endless memorising of concepts, but an understanding of how concepts interrelate with one another. Second, it highlights the collaborative and active nature of learning. The teacher bakes the cake with the students, and not for them. Third, it highlights the importance of teaching both skills and facts. Giving the students a fact is like giving them flour – somewhat useless and unpalatable by itself – but combined with the right skills, can be used to make a delicious cake, or any number of other things.
I have aimed to apply this to advice in my work – as a university lecturer, and as a designer of training programs for industry, government, and academic researchers. I’ll address those three elements in turn.Read More