Uploading my teaching philosophy for Dr. D's Doc Sem as part of an assignment!
Dewey's my boy!
Seth Rose, M.S., CMPC
From a young age, I have been fortunate to have special relationships with my teachers and coaches. As I entered college, I gravitated towards professors and mentors that acknowledged my strengths and challenged me to grow. I recognized the passion and dedication to their craft as professors and professionals that they had, and this instilled my own passionate desire to mold my approach to educating students and athletes. These experiences helped me blend techniques and methods from these professors with my own strengths that I use in the classroom.
My goals in the classroom are:
- Engage all students in a discussion, foster curiosity, and enthusiasm about the psychology of sport, exercise, and performance.
- Encourage students to apply psychological skills and knowledge when considering personal, academic, and professional development.
- Enhance students’ abilities to think scientifically and to critically evaluate information.
- Instilling eros, or passionate desire, in students to aid in the process of mastering their craft and to become what they love.
- Create an inclusive environment and culture in the classroom where students feel respected, heard, valued, and have purpose and motivation to learn.
My teaching philosophy has followed a lot of what my consulting philosophy has developed into during my work with athletes and teams in the field of sport and exercise psychology (SEP). When describing my teaching philosophy, I often view myself as a coach and educator that guides students to instill their own eros, or passionate desire, just as my mentors have done for me in the past. The goal of a coach is to help an athlete learn to maximize their potential, rather than simply telling or directing them to do something. I want students to discover their own passion, and then use that to drive conversations, examples for discussion, and application in assignments.
A very important goal of mine is to create an inclusive environment and culture in the classroom where students feel respected, heard, valued, and have purpose and motivation to learn. A way that I accomplish this is that at the beginning of the semester, I have the students of my class collaborate to create values, goals, and objectives that will enhance their learning experience during the semester. We then combine these components into a unique classroom mission statement that guides the values of the class. I believe this enhances a student’s motivation to learn. I also encourage students to talk to me about school and non-school related issues in and out of office hours. This also fosters engagement in the students to promote discussion, foster curiosity, and enthusiasm about the psychology of sport, exercise, and performance.
As an educator, it is important to meet the student where they are and have a goal of bridging that learning gap. This perspective has continued to shape my pedagogical approach as I thrive to instill eros in my students to bestow value in them and enhance their personal growth throughout the semester to master their craft in whatever career field they are striving for. Great coaches (and teachers) care about the improvement of their athletes (and students), but more importantly, the overall well-being of them as a person. Along their journey, I will often offer advice, personal experiences, resources, suggestions, or constructive feedback to ultimately give the student the responsibility to make a choice that is most appropriate for them. My goal as an educator is to build autonomy and competency, so rather than building dependency on me to learn and grow, the student realizes they have the skills and resources to develop on their own.
The three main tenets of my approach as an educator are building connection and rapport, application, and learning to inspire growth. First, I believe it is crucial to build connections and rapport with my students. I begin by being authentic, which is one of the main values I hold myself to. Being authentic means that I am being true to myself, but more importantly acting in the interests of learners. My teaching evaluations have consistently mentioned my passion for teaching and the topics in SEP. I know this investment in the students and class builds that rapport and trust for them to feel comfortable and heard while increasing the chances of engagement. Other ways that I enhance connection and rapport are allowing students to call me by my first name which I feel increases that rapport. I know others have different opinions regarding this practice, but I feel it works for me at this time. I also take the time to learn each student and athlete’s names to be personable and relate with them as human beings. Additionally, to maximize learning across all students, I try to present information in various ways to reach students who prefer learning information via different modalities. For example, I present written words and images for visual learners, video and audio clips for auditory learners, and even incorporate kinesthetic learning (e.g., standing up when practicing diaphragmatic breathing).
I have been told my teaching philosophy is more eclectic in nature. However, certain parts of Roger’s Person-centered theory allow me to be genuine and authentic while caring for the student and their learning journey. A quote by Carl Rogers on sunsets resonates with me in this guided approach, “People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be… I don’t find myself saying ‘Soften the orange a bit on the right.’ I do not try to control the sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” The importance of allowing the student to make their own discoveries in the learning process is the key. In my teaching and mentoring experiences, I utilize counseling techniques to listen more with the student and then guide them to the knowledge they are seeking. Additionally, I utilize assignments that allow students to reflect on their personal experiences to use those examples and connect it to the information being learned. I also make sure to include personal examples from my own life and sport experiences to connect certain topics or theories being taught. These real-world examples enhance the connection to the content and can sometimes enhance the overall learning experience.
The second tier of my philosophy is application or the transition of knowledge. I believe that the application of knowledge leads to deeper understanding and learning. One of my overall goals is to encourage students to apply psychological skills and knowledge when considering personal, academic, and professional development. In the classroom, I always use examples of how the theories, strategies, and content can translate to other aspects of that student’s life. Although there is value in “knowing,” I have experienced firsthand the benefit of transitioning into later stages of doing and being. For example, I have assignments that allow students to learn various theories in SEP by completing personal behavior change projects that involve aspects such as journaling, log sheets, goal setting, and evaluation. Additionally, I have the students build self-awareness to enhance inquiry and knowledge. For example, I teach how to search for scholarly journal articles, cite in APA formatting, and assign article reviews and annotated bibliographies to enhance the students’ abilities to think scientifically and to critically evaluate information.
Lastly, I find learning and inspiring growth (i.e., personal development) are both important aspects of the classroom experience for the student and teacher. I am intentional and pragmatic in my approach in the classroom. For example, an important part of growth and development is challenging one’s own biases to enhance their self-awareness of other perspectives during that learning process. As part of this process, I follow the adage, “teach less and you will teach more.” I promote discussion in the classroom, whether classroom discussion, small groups, or pair share activities to again: engage students in a discussion to foster curiosity and enthusiasm in their learning journey. The group discussions also allow students to hear other perspectives to challenge those biases and provide a soundboard for students to articulate their own ideas and beliefs. Additionally, I challenge the student’s perspective by attempting to present alternative viewpoints and arguments, by playing the “devil’s advocate” to promote growth and development in their academic career.
Learning is also crucial for professionals, and I believe that it is important for teachers to be life-long learners for their own growth and development. An educational philosopher that focuses on physical education and Kinesiology, Jerry Gill studies the knowing and learning process and stated that, “The teacher, too, is the learner.” The knowing process should involve a mature teacher, but also someone who can continue to evolve and grow as a learner themselves. I hold myself accountable by staying engaged as much as possible in current literature, attending and presenting at national and regional conferences, and engage with colleagues and professionals for best strategies and practices in and out of the classroom. I also stay involved in professional organizations in various service roles such as special interest groups, committee work, and journal article reviewing for professional journals.
Having taught at different universities gives me a unique appreciation of what each student brings to the classroom, and what I need to bring as a teacher. For example, as a lecture at California State University, Fullerton, this campus gave me the experience to work with a diverse student body that was driven and typically were well-prepared for college. As a result, professors needed to encourage students to look beyond their own experiences. More recently in my teaching assistant role at the University of Idaho, this land-grant institution gave me the experience of having motivated students who were determined to enter the workforce as prepared as possible for their chosen fields.
In conclusion, my varied experiences inside and outside of the classroom, through my own coursework, practicum, internship, teaching experiences, applied practice, and personal interests, have prepared me well to teach a wide array of classes. Additionally, my commitment to self-growth, improvement, and mastering my craft as a mental performance practitioner and educator will help me be successful in any university setting. Finally, my exposure to various student cultures gives me a great appreciation for students as human beings and helps me effectively reach more students overall in the learning process.