The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things — the ability to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.
— Samuel Johnson
I enjoy teaching and have done it for several
years, both in academia and industry. The main subjects in which I have gained teaching experience include Computer Architecture, Computational Science and Scientific Computing, and Information Technology. I have experience teaching students at all levels, from teaching introductory class for non-Computer Science majors, to teaching upper division classes for Computer Science students, and to mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students in independent studies. I can teach these subjects with utmost ease and look forward to an opportunity for teaching these as well as other related subjects.
In a recent article in Sewanee, the quarterly magazine for
alumni of The University of the South, Dr. Joel Cunningham, Vice
Chancellor Emeritus of the University, addressed the question “What is worth learning?” In his remarks, Dr. Cunningham related a conversation he had with a recent alumnus of the University about Andrew Lytle, a noted author of literature about the American South. The alumnus recalled that Mr. Lytle took the position that the modern focus on “What do you do?” is wrong. Rather, Mr. Lytle thought it to better to ask “Where do you come from?”, “Who are your people?”, and “Who are you?”. As educators, we must, through scholarship, strive to guide
our students towards an understanding of these questions and aid our students in their search for their own answers to said questions.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching defines
scholarship in teaching as being built from three components:
- discovery: research and performance that adds to
a knowledge base and intellectual climate of an institution,
- integration: drawing together and interpreting
diverse kinds of knowledge, and
- application: applying knowledge to practical problems.
Scholarship of discovery means we strive to create a sense of discovery and wonder in our students whether we are in the classroom or the laboratory. The experience goes beyond classroom and laboratory; for as we enable our students to absorb concepts through experience, they provide us with new insights into the subject. This inspires us to teach in more creative
ways by exploring alternative approaches.
By fostering a sense of discovery in our students, we build
enough foundation and kindle enough appetite in them that they
realize that they are capable of scholarship of integration upon their own volition. Today’s students pull information from many sources and it is my task to incorporate traditional teaching tools, hands-on experience in labs, and non-traditional teaching tools from the Internet such as social media to provide the best possible learning environment. In particular, complementing the in-person classroom experience with an on-line presence and research opportunities helps the student link coursework with practical real-world experience.
Effective learning requires the student to be able to apply knowledge taught in the classroom to practical situations. I accomplish this by highlighting how the subject being taught plays an important role in our daily lives, the applicable commercial products and specific companies producing hardware/software in that area, and promise and challenges of that subject in the coming years. Laboratory exercises, programming assignments, and classroom lectures in my classes are designed with the
objective of linking material in the classroom environment to practical application. This fosters independent, logical, and analytical thinking into my students so that they learn how to solve problems on their own. As my students devise their own approaches and bring novel ideas in being, I learn from them in turn.
In higher education, we have two goals towards which we must
strive. First, we must be able to answer Mr. Lytle’s questions for
ourselves so that we can answer without thought or hesitation: “This is who I am!”, “These are my people!”, and “This is me!”. Then, we have to answer to the most difficult challenge: coaxing, convincing, and with just a little bit of forcing those whom we teach to be able to answer those sorts of questions for themselves with the same sort of verve and elan that we expect of ourselves.