One of my abilities as an artist is that of being able to express ideas, anyone’s ideas in an eloquent, expressive and inspirational way, a way that really creates understanding. I have always, in my writing, performing, lyric- and songwriting, had the ability to assume the viewpoint of both the speaker and the audience and have always been able to gain the understanding, appreciation and action of those my words and expressions were designed to influence.
My specialty is not just to communicate another’s ideas adequately, but with the same feelings, emotions and importances as the person who formulated them. I can take any ideas, story, anecdote, treatise speech or thesis idea and make it not only reach the audience and effect them, it also achieves an understanding in that audience of, not my own, but the original sentiments of the true author of that idea.
Here is a sample of my work. It is a teaching philosophy I wrote after extensively interviewing a college professor:
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY – Instructor XXXXXX
“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” ― Galileo Galilei
Truer words have never been stated in testament to my purpose and philosophy on instruction.
In our modern culture, communication media abound, the overloaded channels of which bombard viewers with a steady stream of messages covering everything from insurance to politics, electronics to medicine. Gossip and banal chatter are in constant exchange via social media. While “personal space” of ages past provided an expansive environment for self-reflection, nowadays, such would be considered luxury and reserved for scholars or intellectuals.
More talk is apparent with less ideation. In such a condition, we face a challenge: educating over interference and noise. Therefore, any educational approach should take into account student influences and must, in its delivery, contain adequate impetus, simplicity and appeal that foster application. On this is based my personal philosophy of passion, understanding and application.
Passion is, perhaps, a most-significant requirement, for it fuels practical application. Instruction, then, should extend beyond the classroom, incorporating individual and group contexts such as clubs, advising, conferences and workshops, all of which provide applicative encouragement.
The “living and breathing” of a subject could define passion. Marriage within my profession, interaction with like-minded individuals and colleague collaboration all reflect my ardor.
Drawing inspiration from others in a common field serves to further inflate passion. Mastery of a subject and leading by example are invaluable in creating a contagion of inspiration among students. Continuing one’s education is a manifestation of this and is therefore paramount.
In the end passion is of virtue as it sets the stage for true learning.
While the material itself must be, indeed, worthwhile and challenging, other factors are key.
For instance, distraction or inattentiveness create an instructional barrier regardless of passion or fervor. Classroom experience has shown that so-called “distractions” do not account for the majority of inattentiveness and disinterest. It is lack of simplicity, appeal and intelligibility of presentation. Interest improves proportionally to presence of such qualities in instruction.
Utilization of effective communication channels is yet a governing factor of student attention. In a social-media-dependent, telecommunication-saturated climate, the media used to communicate must be taken into account. Instructing within media to which students have become accustomed tends to elevate interest. Excellence of student behavior has been found to be regulated by such engagement of interest.
Even Bill Gates noted, “… any tool that enhances communication has profound effects…”
Beyond appeal, instruction must exude simplicity while challenging student fixation of viewpoint. Simplicity of concepts, not complexity of symbolic relay, allows margin for self-reflection. As expressed by Aristotle, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” The goal is to stimulate evaluation by students of concepts to where they use their power of choice to decide upon real-world application.
A subject should be consistent, examine various theories and be assembled in a logical sequence. It must also have a sense of continuity throughout, leading off with the most basic principles and building upon itself, fundamental by fundamental, for a cumulative understanding. The most basic concepts of the subject should be reflected throughout.
An instructor should forge a rapport-driven connection with students while maintaining just enough presence of altitude and professionalism with a mutual exchange of respect. Personal experience has revealed that a degree of insouciance is yet possible while maintaining a professional, on-policy atmosphere, for a fun learning mentality bent on student progress.
The instructor must not only have a good grasp of available materials and facts of the subject, but should have sufficient experience with them in actual practice. Professional experience is especially important and relevant to the adequate indoctrination of students.
Ultimately, interest derives from understanding and ability to apply a subject to life, especially where it may change it for the better. According to Norman Cousins “It makes little difference how many university courses or degrees a person may own. If he cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete.” Consideration of theory is far less of a challenge than practical demonstration of ability, a much higher echelon. Even the word “philosophy” is defined as “a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs”.
No philosophy has value without manifest results. Hence self-analysis and classroom observation are key to successful evolution of curricula to become state-of-the-art and practical, exemplified by student attention, participation and demonstration of acquired knowledge and skill.
Students are subject to more influences, distractions and ideas than ever before while seeming to evaluate significantly less. It is this factor that creates sufficient challenge for any educator from the most elementary to college and even vocational levels.
With sufficient passion to create keen understanding, with simplistic, interesting course delivery and challenging applicative assignments, the thoughts, minds and hearts of students can be affected and changed, encouraging them to think for themselves, perhaps for the first time. Thus, abilities gained ultimately allow students to prosper in their lives, careers and futures.