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Teaching Philosophy Example 3

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Teaching Philosophy Example 3
Teaching Philosophy Example 3
Teaching Philosophy Examples by UWL Instructors
(Taken from promotion materials with the permission of the authors)
Biology, Scott Cooper
Traditional introductory biology courses are very content heavy, with an emphasis on memorizing terms and
definitions. We were concerned that students would quickly forget what they had learned, and would not be
able to use what they had learned in later classes. We made the decision to focus less on memorization of facts,
and more on application of concepts learned in class to solving problems. To decide what content to keep, we
asked instructors in our core courses to identify what concepts they would like to see stressed. In some of the
problem solving exercises we ask students to apply basic concepts to understand and solve problems related to
key concepts covered in class. This helps to reinforce these key concepts, and lets the students see the
importance of these concepts in understanding many biological processes. Other problems are related to current
issues in the news. These are designed to allow students to see that the concepts being learned in class have
relevance in their daily lives.
The BIO 103/105 labs were traditional "cookbook" exercises in which students worked alone, conducting
experiments that required little more than filling in blanks in their lab manual. We revised our Introductory
Biology labs in 2000 to include a "student active pedagogy" in which groups of students design and perform
some of their own experiments. The format of the lab portion of the course has also changed from 12 individual
labs to a format of three units each lasting four weeks (Appendix C). In the new format, the students work in
teams to solve problems, design experiments, analyze data and prepare reports. This allows students to get a
more realistic experience of how science is practiced.
Exercise & Sport Science, Brian Udermann
Teaching Philosophy. I am extremely passionate about the classes I have had the opportunity to teach at UW-L.
I truly believe in, and feel that it is important for students to learn the appropriate content in the courses that I
teach. This ultimately will prepare them for graduate school and/or their career. However, over the past few
years of teaching I have begun to realize and appreciate the importance of going beyond simply covering course
content. I work very hard to engage students in my classes and to get them to be excited about learning (not just
in my courses, but in all their courses) and take ownership in their college educational program. I try to
incorporate the following in all of the courses I teach:
• Discussing diversity and the importance of treating people with respect.
• Being an example to my students in my enthusiasm for the subject matter as
well as practicing what I teach (e.g., healthy lifestyle practices).
• Having students realize and appreciate that the material I cover in my courses is
relevant and connected to their other courses (general education and their
• New research findings related to the class content.
• Utilize personal stories, demonstrations, speakers, and activities when possible
to enhance student interest and learning.
Sue Anglehart, Microbiology
I have two primary goals to accomplish in each of the courses that I teach. The first is to provide a safe,
encouraging environment where each student has the ability to grow as a learner and a citizen. The second is to
encourage a passion for learning about microbiology and to help students develop effective tools for learning in
the sciences. Students not only learn content in real time, but develop habits that produce a life long love of
learning. I believe that it is my responsibility to provide clear, consistent guidelines for my expectations and to
apply those fairly to all students in the class. I strive to deliver content in an organized and interesting manner
Teaching Philosophy Example 3