Jeanette M. Dillon: Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy is based on my experiences as a teacher since 1999, and my work as a media and business professional since 1987. It also reflects what I have learned from my exceptional mentors and applied in my classrooms: enthusiasm for the material and strong critical thinking skills, a sincere interest in students’ individual development, and a commitment to high academic standards. I am dedicated to excellence in teaching, as evidenced by my students’ qualitative and quantitative evaluations of my performance in the classroom, and by the nomination of me for the Kurt E. Hofmeister Outstanding Graduate Student Award, which I was honored to receive in April of 2016, in recognition of my exemplary performance in an academic credit-bearing community-based learning experience as a mentor, researcher, and student.
My philosophy is student-centered, with a special focus on helping prepare my students for success - as they define it -in and out of the classroom. I believe my students come to my class with knowledge to share. I wish to discover what they know and how they came to know it. I seek to meet them at the place they are as learners the first day of class so that I may help them grow as individuals and thoughtful members of society while we are together. I believe that knowledge is constructed by all in the classroom and that my job is to know when to provide information, when to ask questions, when to listen, and when to intervene.
My classes include visits from professionals, writing exercises, group and pair-and-share learning opportunities, lectures, discussions, and community engagement. We read books and articles, and use PowerPoint, Skype, Pro Tools, Audacity, SoundCloud, Dropbox, online writing programs, audio and video recording equipment, Canvas, Wix, YouTube, and more to learn and produce class material. During each class period, I underscore the importance of communication in the classroom and in creating the world around us. I encourage my students to notice who in a room gets to speak, who is missing from the room, and what power relationships exist in any given situation. I am committed to helping students understand the growing diversity of America, and how studies in communication can aid in dealing with an ever-changing world.
I make inquiries of my students so that I have an idea of how they - and I - are doing. Feedback is important and something I provide in writing to my students as I grade their projects. Although offering feedback while grading can be time consuming, I believe it is important because it is tailored to each student’s individual interests and abilities. I keep note of the feedback and present patterns to the class to generate group discussion and learning.
With a mix of expertise and humility, I strive to lead by example how one learns with courage, confidence, and mistakes. I allow for failures in my classes and work to redefine them as needed experiences that can lead to success. Transparency, which I also define as clarity, is important to me as I explain material, answer questions, and work with students to meet class goals and objectives.
Perhaps most importantly, my teaching philosophy is something that I share with my students. I want them to understand that they have a great responsibility to teach as well as learn in our classroom. I firmly believe students want class time to be meaningful. I find if we work together, we achieve just that - meaningful, interesting conversations where many voices are heard and everybody learns a little something.