Approach to Teaching
My approach to teaching focusses on engaging students with the material at hand, and hopefully exciting them about the subject. I try to teach not only course material, but also to encourage students to develop thought patterns to think like physicists/scientists. Students are undertaking their own learning, while I am present to guide and facilitate their journey.
I detail most of my philosophy with regards to teaching in my teaching philosophy statement, which you can download above. On this page, I provide a brief overview of my teaching philosophy.
Goals for Student Learning
I try to focus my goals for student learning in two directions. Firstly, towards the subject matter, and secondly, towards lifelong skills. Analytical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and communication skills are perhaps the more important aspects of these goals for students; I am under no illusion that the majority of students will use the subject matter on a regular basis. I hope to teach students by facilitating their learning and understanding, rather than attempting to cram knowledge in their heads. The creed of "Less is More" with regards to content should always be present in my teaching.
The best way to learn material is to grapple with it, to think about it, to use and apply it. This is the foundation of the idea of "active learning". I try to incorporate these ideas into my teaching methods, by involving students in developing their understanding of material, rather than presenting material and asking them to go away and think about it. To this end, I try not to lecture too much, and to use a number of techniques to draw students in. I think that the most useful technique here is to ask students to justify their answers, to ask them why they gave the answer they did to a question. This helps students to understand the foundations of their understanding of the subject.
Assessment of Goals
My views on assessment are spelt out in detail in the assessment pages.
Teaching for Different Perspectives
Everybody learns differently, and I fully expect each time I teach a course for it to be rather different. I think that the most important response to this is to actively reflect upon my teaching, as well as seeking feedback from my students, in order to cater for the requirements of the students.
I also hope to extend the best students, and encourage them to learn beyond the scope of the course's content. I try to do this by exposing them to futher advanced concepts, and sharing my excitement for the subject with them.
In my experience as a teacher, I have learnt that there is always room for improvement, and as I discover new and engaging techniques, I hope to incorporate them into my teaching methods. Overall, I hope to provide interesting and motivating experiences for my students, and teach with the passion and excitement that filled me when I first learnt physics.