Teaching Philosophy

To What End?
In addition helping students meet course objectives, it is my goal to foster critical thinking, facilitate the acquisition of independent, life-long learning skills, prepare students to function effectively in an information economy, and develop problem-solving strategies. These skills are integral to learning in my classroom and to every other facet of my students' lives.

By What Means?
I use active learning and student-centered principles to design my lessons because I believe we learn from experiences and those experiences are best distilled in soical groups. I have transferred my 'lecture' materials online and use classroom time for discussions, debates, role-plays, simulations, educational games, demonstrations, team meetings, and small group problem solving activities.

If you look closely, you will see that I roughly follow the Kolb Model of Experiential Learning in my lesson planning. In addition to agreeing with Kolb's learning theory, I use this model because it assures me that my teaching addresses all learning modalities.

Lesson Plan

Step 1. Learners view the following materials: vocabulary, timeline, characteristics, origins, stereotype, demographics, and songs & singers.

Step 2. In class, learners participate in a 'Jeopardy' style game aimed at clarifing understanding of the materials.

Step 3. In online discussion boards, learners respond to the following questions:
~ Which of the genres of country music do you like the best? The least? Why?
~ Compare the stereotype of a hillbilly with the modern country music fan? Do you think stereotypes are useful? Why or why not?
~ Compare American Country music with Chinese music. What is the same? What is different?

Step 4. In teams, teams propose their projects.
~ Project must result in some kind of public performance (e.g., singing at English Corner, a video posted to www.58.cn, a lecture or perfomance on the school's radio network, an Internet radio broadcast, etc.)
~ Class time is used to clarify and negotiate project guidelines, to provide supplemental materials, and to plan the projects.
~ Online space is created (and its use is required) for collaborative work on the project.

Step 5. Assessment #1 Presentations
~ Learners present their work.
~ In class, teams respond to peer/instructor questioning
~ Instructor assesses individuals and teams using rubrics.

Step 6. Teams peer review themselves and their work.

Step 7. Assessment #2 Conversation Test
~ Learners draw numbers for conversation groups.
~ Two minutes prior to the beginning of the conversation, groups draw topics about Country Music.
~ Groups discuss topics for 15 - 20 minutes.
~ Instructor assesses individuals using rubrics.

Step 8. Reflection
~ In blogs, learners write about what they have learned and how they learned it.
~ Classmates and the instructor comment on blog entries.

Note: If the department wishes, subjective tests can be used at the conclusion of Steps #3 and #7.