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Pomology - Dr. John A. Cline

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Undergraduate Education Overview

Teaching Philosophy

“The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young mind for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.” Anatole France

Irregardless of the subject matter, successful teaching requires discipline in preparation and approach, an inquisitive mind to be creative to conveying knowledge, and an ability to instill meaning into what is being taught. While teaching is a privilege that requires utmost respect in approach, it only gains respect by the student when the educator has a real depth of understanding of the subject matter and compassion to share that information in a dynamic way.

I believe that it is the responsibility of a teacher to stay current in a field, engaging in research and participating in classes, conferences, and workshops that can improve subject matter knowledge. A teacher must be able to make good selections about what to teach and how to structure and organize the material. At the same time it is important to stay abreast of current theory and research in the field of teaching and pedagogy. A teacher must know what to teach as well as what is the best way to teach it.

I believe that in order to be effective, educators must know their students. We must be aware of the background knowledge of the students and be able to integrate that knowledge and build on it. I view teaching is a process of encouraging students to make connections between their experiences and the subject matter. In any course, teachers should attempt to guide students through subject matter and facilitate new discoveries. Students should take away new insights, explanations, skills, and knowledge.

I also believe the role of a teacher is to be a facilitator; teachers should enable students to become responsible for their own learning. I do recognize that students learn in different ways and am committed to including all students in the learning process. Teachers should be able to vary teaching styles and should expect students to participate in a mixture of lecture, discussion, and group activities.

A teacher is responsible for building a relationship with students. Teachers must respect students; we must believe that all students are capable, that students have something to contribute, and that students may bring new insights to a subject or raise questions about a subject that have not yet been considered. Classroom learning should be viewed as a reciprocal process. Teachers must be committed to student success for we are responsible for making our subject matter accessible to those who do not yet know it. We must try to ensure wide participation. As teachers, we should be accessible to all students, making sure that we talk to individual students during class and that we are available to students after class during office hours.

Lastly, I believe that effective teaching skills can be developed and make it my personal goal to improve my teaching skills in all aspects that I am involved in educating (including extension and other personal interests). Teacher training and instructional development, therefore, are necessary. Teachers must have knowledge of what skills make a teacher effective and must work to craft these skills. Those skills must be honed, and they must be personalized. Being an effective teacher is a difficult task, but a teacher who accepts teaching as a challenge, a privilege and a responsibility will also find that it can provide rewards that are well worth the effort.