From Lecturer to Teacher: My Lecturing Philosophy
My goal in lecturing is to reach out to the learners in the best possible way. I want to encourage constructive interaction and involvement in the learning process amongst learners. In addition I want to bond with my learners in such a way that they have confidence in me and they are inspired and motivated to perform to the best of their ability. I want my learners to realise that it is an experience of a lifetime and a privilege to be studying at university and they should not waste this great opportunity. The abovementioned goals calls for one to induce a paradigm shift from lecturing to teaching. Having looked at the true meaning of a “lecture”, I realise that lecturing is no longer effective as a teaching method at university. Lecturing, in its true sense, is a one way communication method that rarely includes participation form the targeted audience. I have decided to take a stand, because my goals are now student-centred and focus on learning rather than just the reciting of content.
As a learning facilitator, I consider myself a learner too. To be a better teacher, I first acknowledged, to myself, that I do not possess all knowledge. Teachers must not think that they know it all. I am open to learning from my learners and from my colleagues. When I teach, I maintain an open mind and encourage learner feedback on my teaching and learning activities. I see criticism as a positive thing and will only make me stronger and aid in my development.
As a teacher, I make sure that I understand my learners socially, culturally, academically, demographically and emotionally. Most of the learners I have taught come from the ‘so called’ disadvantaged background, which include; financial instability, broken family systems, no role models in their families, lack of family support, lack of English language skills and so on. I have to be sensitive to all these issues and try to develop teaching strategies that will suit the learners’ needs without compromising the quality of learning. Teachers must not assume that there is a single correct method to teaching learners, hence, they must learn to adapt to the environment to which they find themselves in, and use teaching reflections as a method to improve their teaching profession.
As a result of my learners’ background, I have found myself having to play more roles than just focusing on teaching activities. In my class I have to represent the parent, the brother and sometimes, the friend. To sum it up, I have to be a positive role model to the learners. To achieve this, a teacher has to treat the learners with respect so that he/she can gain their respect too. It is always important to remain in control of my class, and to achieve this, I have to uphold my emotional intelligence. Once you have managed to acquire the role model position, learners will trust you and listen to your advice. This is a crucial element in the teaching and learning process.
Teachers should establish an appropriate code of interaction between them and their learners. I have an open and relaxed policy. I encourage interaction and debate between me and my learners and amongst the learners themselves. I allow learners to bring in external knowledge, especially, when we fail to agree on a particular debatable issue. I always keep my class discussions relevant to the course that I am lecturing. I believe teachers should not instil fear in their learners; rather they should create a question friendly environment which encourages critical thinking and deep learning. Teachers should treat all learners as equals and must be fair in the way they handle their assignments. Keeping in mind that I am not the bearer of all knowledge, I allow my learners to learn from each other through various teaching and learning methods.
I hope to read about your lecturing philosophy. Your comments and inputs will be greatly appreciated.