My teaching philosophy stems from four core interests: the pursuit of lifelong learning; a student-centered focus; dynamic classroom practice; and building on my personal experiences working in the film industry. I had always known I wanted to teach since I was a third-grader forcing my younger sister to “play school” all summer. After living abroad working in middle and high schools my desire was awakened to make it my career. I developed the foundation of my student-centered teaching philosophy and desire for lifelong learning as a School of Education student in History and Broadfield Social Studies Secondary Education at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. While it was important to me to complete my education degree for its teacher training, my true goal was the pursuit of film studies and production as academic practice to instruct in a higher-education environment.
Lifelong Learning & Student-Centered Instruction
I subscribe to the philosophy of lifelong learning: the continual pursuit of knowledge and training, and two-way exchange of information inside and outside of the classroom. I view my teaching function as a role model guiding students through the exploration of new ideas; tackling issues, subjects and concepts that challenge points of view; hands-on experiences and innovative learning opportunities; complicated theoretical frameworks; historical backgrounds and temporality; mechanical and digital technologies; and self-discovery of their personal goals and career aspirations. When students take my classes they get informational set-up, tools to guide their practice, experiential learning, collaborative exercises, applicable assignments, and guiding evaluations.
For me, embracing the lifelong-learning philosophy also promotes an ongoing appreciation of multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary mechanisms. I embrace diversity and what students bring to the classroom, further enriching the learning experience we share. Students give me insights into their world and I can use this information to better frame my instruction. I also encourage students to go beyond the classroom in taking internship and study abroad opportunities, and have been able to facilitate these types of opportunities.
I value student-centered educational models where students have more control of their learning and the way they consume and work with instructional material. I embrace the idea of changing the way we view instruction and student learning at the collegiate level. I view every term as an opportunity to gain new knowledge and insights into the changing student environment; new and advanced teaching strategies; and keep abreast of cutting edge topics and trends in my field as well as my area of expertise. It excites me to implement new approaches, technologies, materials, and subjects in the classroom. When there is opportunity, blended-learning or hybrid-learning models can transform educational experiences and increase rates of student achievement. Teaching tools like flipped classrooms and Blackboard and Desire to Learn can also take in-class pressure off of instruction and place it back into practice. Guiding students through practice in the classroom through various exercises, self or group opportunities, and hands-on experiences is proven to enrich their understanding of a topic.
Dynamic Classroom Design
My classroom management style is set forth the first day, as I work to create a safe place to share and exchange information by pulling students into discussions right from the start. Having taught speech and oral communication to undergraduates educated me on the importance of staging dynamic classroom design so that participation is welcomed, valued, and produced. Similar to the team effort of a film production, it requires the classroom of students coming to class, working together, and experiencing and engaging the material to make a dynamic class experience.
I see college as a safe place to practice and grow one’s craft and skill. I use my classroom as this place for students to try “real world” ideas without the real world consequences. In doing so, I utilize critiques and constructive criticism as a form of feedback and evaluation for both written and practical projects. Modeling positive constructive criticism helps students overcome fears of evaluation and see how they can benefit and grow from feedback. Participating in critiques also helps students develop skills in concept recognition, gain technical vocabulary, think critically, communicate effectively, and grow in understanding of their craft and field.
Industry Experience & Student Commitment
I am grateful to have had incredible academic and industry experiences. My industry experiences include working on the set of Won Kar Wai’s My Blueberry Nights; professional commercials; local PBS broadcasts of my documentary film; client-based production work; and in my current position producing promotional, documentary, educational, and instructional films for the Achievement & Assessment Institute at the University of Kansas. I understand that as a female, I am a minority in this industry. I use my experiences to help break preconceived barriers with students in the classroom. I have also done this through the creation of KU Cinewomen, an organization of undergraduate and graduate students that helped bring more extracurricular opportunities to women in areas such as directing, lighting, and cinematography.
I teach so that I grow in my own knowledge and creativity. I teach so that students discover their passions. I teach so that students pursue their ambitions. I teach so that students fulfill their dreams.