As I reflect on my own learning experiences, I am filled with a sense of gratitude. I have been blessed with remarkable professors who treated their students not as commodities to be graded but rather as precious gifts to be valued.
I was taught in the inductive teaching method for most of my learning journey, and I believe that method served me well. Inductive teaching and learning helped to lay a foundation for future practice. However, I consider the teaching and learning method of content delivery via fifty-minute lectures to be lacking. What I have just affirmed in one sentence took more than ten years to construct. Yet, through the study of educating students, I have concluded that the teacher adapts to students as much or more than the other way around.
After three decades of trying to learn my craft, every class comes down to this: my students and I, face to face, engaged in an ancient and exacting exchange called education. The techniques I have mastered do not disappear, but neither do they suffice. Face to face with my students, only one resource is at my immediate command: my identity, selfhood, and sense of this “I” who teaches—without which I have no sense of the “Thou” who learns.— Parker. J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach
I believe the advent of online education, with its necessity for a multidimensional classroom and multimodal teaching and multimodal content delivery, has shaped my teaching philosophy in a dramatic way. I have gone from sceptic to advocate because of the requirements to teach in that environment. Still committed to inductive learning I believe success is realized best by engaging the student throughout the teaching period. Rather than limit inductive teaching the multimodal approach opens new lanes of opportunity for Socratic teaching and deep learning.
A Good Teacher
It has been my experience as a learner that a good teacher cares for the student. Martin Buber’s “I-thou” remains an effective construct for the teacher-student relationship. The second attribute that makes for a good teacher is authenticity. There is a degree of vulnerability in teaching if teaching is an expression of the authentic self. However, the risk is taken in revealing self to the student often becomes the gateway to direct the student on the inductive journey.
Therefore, the most effective teacher must surely be measured by the confession of the student, “My professor taught me to love learning.”