Teaching Philosophy

With good teachers and mentors, learning is simplified and occurs more rapidly. The teacher must know the material well, before entering the classroom. I enjoy reading and keeping up-to-date with new developments in computer science and education. The teacher is a resource to the students, especially their first year in a new institution. If the student is willing to put in the effort to learn the material, I will spend my office hours helping students with problems where they are having difficulty understanding the material. Where I teach now, I have taught some classes close to thirty times. Each time I teach the class, I review the material, look for some new aspects of the material that is covered in the book and curriculum, and incorporate what is new into the class. When I was earning my MSCS, I taught an introductory class in programming to graduate students in programs other than computer engineering. This was their introduction to computers. I taught a few basic good programming practices as well as the syntax of the language being taught. The basics of each course must be taught, adding more related information that will help the students succeed in their program is helpful.

Having an interactive class is important to me. The Socratic method of teaching, within the framework of what must be taught, is ideal. Students learn best when they internalize what is being taught. One of the best ways is for each student to ask questions. My students all know my quote that “The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.” Most of the time the questions are excellent and related to the topic at hand. On the rare occasion that an off-topic question is asked, I acknowledge both the student and the question, if appropriate give a brief answer, and return our class to the appropriate topic. From my years of teaching (and being a student), I know that if a student has a question that student will think about the question until it is answered. Often, if one student has a question other students will have the same question. It is better to make sure the question is answered as quickly as possible. Otherwise, I will have several students wondering about the answer to a question instead of paying attention to what is occurring in the class.

I greatly enjoy learning and sharing what I have learned with others. Through student-teacher interactions, students can learn what they need in class and, through Socratic teaching, can retain the material to help them with future courses.