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  Rebecca Fitzsimmons 2015 | fitzsimmons.rebecca@gmail.com | 352.224.5885  
Teaching Philiosophy Reflections

Evolution of a Teaching Philosophy: Incorporating New Ideas

Just as the field of teaching evolves, so too should a teaching philosophy. Learning is an ongoing process and incorporating new knowledge is bound to alter or enhance ideas about effective practice. I have always favored an instructional approach that mixes lecture, critique, discussion, and hands-on activity. This variety seems to engage students in the learning process and is backed up by research into preferred learning styles. Throughout this information literacy instruction class, however, I have come to realize that there is more to student-centered approaches.

I began my teaching philosophy by touting the importance of critical thinking skills within the field of art and emphasizing the links between developing these skills in an information literacy context. I still firmly believe that this is an immeasurable skill and one that bears inclusion in any teaching statement; I could not envision a point when this would be excluded. What did evolve, however, was my thinking about how one can effectively teach critical thinking as a concept and the manner in which students can be encouraged to own the process of learning. The ACRL information literacy standards focus, among other things, on empowering students to recognize information needs and decide what materials will ultimately fill those needs. Evaluation lies at the core of this concept, as does discovery. As such, my teaching philosophy has changed to reflect the individuality of this process. While modeling and discussion of broad topics are important, so is allowing students time to conduct research, experiment, and find an individualized path. This is what is reflected in my final teaching philosophy for this course—a fundamental approach that incorporates a higher level of student-directed learning.