Posts made by Gina Bennett

 

Like Hillarie, said... feels a bit scary to put this out there. I found this exercise hard to do -- although I'm starting with a TPS I completed only a year or 2 ago, I don't have a specific teaching job right now, nor am I applying for one so it feels kind of vague. I struggled especially with the last bit, trying to mention something about theories or themes that have informed my philosophy without going into too much detail. I'm keen for feedback!

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Teaching is powerful. I haven't always been comfortable about that power; over the years, my role as a teacher has shortened in stature & blurred somewhat. I no longer seek to 'change people's lives,' but instead to help people change their own lives.

People pursue learning - consciously or subconsciously - because they want to become something more and I am drawn to teaching as a way to accompany the learner in the becoming process. My skill as a teacher lies in not just instruction (where needed), but also in listening, reflecting, supporting, and assisting the learner in clarification of goals. I enjoy doing this work and I do it compulsively with just about anybody I meet: students (of course), friends and family, the young woman bagging my purchases in the grocery store.

When working with students, I want to understand something about what they seek through learning. I want to develop our mutually trusting relationship to the point where they reveal some deep curiousity or articulate a need to act, serve, or to *be* differently in the world. Once we reach that point, my role morphs into something more like a waitress: 'How can I help you today?' 'What information sources can I steer you towards?' 'Do you want skills with that?'

Although I am a compulsive adult educator who will attempt to practise on just about anyone, I am especially drawn to those outside the traditional academy: those who never completed any formal program, learned to do math, or even to speak fluent English. Those who do not think of themselves as academic material, or perhaps long ago gave up any dreams requiring formal education. These are my People and I am drawn to them professionally like a moth to a lamp.

I believe education -- changing your life through learning -- is a fundamental human right. (Probably this is why I'm so drawn to the Open Education movement.) And I understand that learning changes not only individual lives, but societal directions as well. My perspective on teaching, learning, and society has been profoundly influenced by the concept of border pedagogy, as put forward by Henry Giroux, and developed more broadly by others (see e.g. this piece by Tom Heaney). In many ways, I see teaching as "border work" in which we help learners gain access to desired opportunities, goals, and communities of practice. 


 

heh heh ... I love this image, Sue! But I have a feeling if I plugged my brain into Wordle & watched the word cloud develop, it might resemble more of a horror movie. At least until my computer began to smoke. ;-)


 

hi Leonne (probably my nearest neighbour in this course :D )

I was reading over some of the suggested resources for this activity & one of them suggested that a good way to start drafting a teaching statement was to read over your own reflections & underscore the themes & ideas that appear more than once. I couldn't help noticing how often the word "like" appeared in your comment above. Certainly (for us lucky ones at least) a big reason why we teach is because we just plain find it so enjoyable!!! 

Now, as to WHY we like it so much .... that's a 'way deeper question. Maybe it doesn't need an answer?


 

I found it challenging to think (once again) about why I teach. I've written a number of teaching statements in the past, & like the Activity suggests, I've written each one somewhat differently to fit the situation. I wish I'd kept them all -- it would be interesting to see how my philosophy has changed over the years. I guess what makes it most challenging this time is because I'm semi-retired with no specific teaching assignment, yet I find myself drawn to teaching like some kind of addiction I can't shake. I do tutor several adult students who need help with ESL, which helps to keep the teaching pangs at bay :)

Why do I teach? Well, here's a start ...

People pursue learning - consciously or subconsciously - because they want to become something more and I am drawn to teaching as a way to accompany the learner in the becoming process. 


 

OK, here's a burning question for Sylvia Currie: I heard a rumour that today is your birthday. Can this be true???

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