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Plunk's Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is an exciting profession that provides a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many people. The instructor has a responsibility to the students to provide an open, affirming, intellectually-invigorating environment which inspires and facilitates learning.

Quality instruction combines a thorough knowledge of the content, a mature perspective, recitation, theatrics, humor, and teacher-student contact that is adapted to both the subject matter being presented and the unique personality of each class. Hence, excellence in teaching is carefully cultivated through an interactive process of experimentation and feedback.

Great teachers do more than merely dispense factual information, they are tangible examples and role models to their students. Consequently, the goal of teaching excellence encompasses more than just a simple understanding of the technical information presented; the true goal is to see the student apply and integrate the principles and theories being taught into the problems and situations they face now and into the future.

The instructor must remain current in his/her chosen discipline, and then be able to translate this new knowledge into the classroom. Being aware of the interests, beliefs, and activities of the students facilitates the teacher's ability to integrate the new subject matter into the students' outside experiences. Hence, the classroom, is only one medium for the teaching process since teaching excellence extends beyond the classroom environment into the community, professional organizations, and even the internet.

Why Attendance?

Many students ask why they should have to attend class when they could learn the material in the book and notes on their own. I agree! People can learn on their own. However, a college course is more than the material in the textbook(s) and class notes. If a student misses class they (1) miss the opportunity to hear my viewpoint on the course material - what a bonus! (2) miss the other student's opinions and discussion on the topic, and (3) miss out on the opportunity to enlighten myself and the other students with their perspective on the course material.

All kidding aside, I learn from students in every single class, and I would not want students to miss out on that same opportunity. In conclusion, students and teachers are in a learning partnership to promote life-long learning. It is the responsibility and privilege of an educator to facilitate learning at all stages of individuals' lives.