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BPPVE
(
Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education)

 

 

 

Teaching Philosophy                            By Betty Tsang

 

My academic background : How motivation affects learning

When I was in elementary and middle school, I earned the top grades, and was admitted to the best university in Taiwan.  However, I did not continue to study hard because (1) the teaching style is either too difficult to comprehend, or too boring to hold my attention.  (2) I lost the drive and motivation I had before. My motivation had now shifted toward something different than simply achieving in school. I had new goals. This was when I realized how important the word motivation is. 

Why I chose to teach computer software

I went abroad to the United States to pursue a graduate degree in computer science at the University of North Texas.  I found myself fascinated by this high-demanding, high-tech, and brain-challenging major. By inputting data you can get the outcome right away. I found its beauty in its logic and predictable reduction.  I met numerous brilliant instructors who inspired me and encouraged me. I found my limit as a programmer when I had to write new software to complete my Ph. D. degree. Though challenged to my limits I never gave up.  From my experience as a teaching fellow during Ph.D. program, I gained confidence in my teaching ability because of the wonderful and positive feedback I received from my students.  They told me that my materials made sense and that they had no trouble following along from lesson to lessen.  They started to love computer programming, and gained confidence in their abilities as they learned. 

Their feedback encourages me to choose teaching computer as my first career choice because I have tremendous interest in computer science and I love teaching. Teaching is a good field that allows me to reach my full potential.

Combining business and teaching

After gaining experience, I started my own business. I opened a private and vocational computer training school. I made learning computer easier and more comfortable by authoring a step-by-step, easy-to-understand workbooks in English and my native language (Chinese). I enjoyed composing these workbooks greatly. I would strive for perfection.

I put all my knowledge, skills, energy and passion into my school.  What I am most happy about is being able to benefit the Chinese-American community, especially senior citizens. Nowadays, knowing how to use a computer is a must. The senior citizens are frustrated due to their slow pace and language barrier, but at my school they found a patient and understanding learning environment. My other students are frustrated parents of tech savvy (but impatient) children. They appreciate my understandable and professional manner of teaching. I get more pleasure than they do by helping them. We always stay good long term friends. That is the biggest reward for me.

Since software changes so fast, I continuously keep up to date, and learned many aspects of computer software all by myself. Furthermore, during my 20+ year career, I have been involved in many industrial projects that allowed me to practice and reinforce the software I just learned.

Preparation of learning

From my personal contact with students, students have to be ready and have desire to learn. They should prepare themselves for the following points:

1)      Motivation of learning

When a student enroll in school and pay tuition, what is in his mind for learning ?  A degree?  A good grade?  A good job? Gaining knowledge?  For fun?  Or For the sake of spouse/parent ?

A studentís purpose or goal is the motivation of learning. The more motivated you are, the more efforts you will put in. If you are not sure what is your motivation, please think about it and post it to remind yourself every day.

You need to sustain on a course from beginning to the end based on your motivation. It is a non-stop task. A determined mind is the first essential factor for a successful learning processing.

Motivation is the key.  I want to know, I have to know, There must be some way I can get it. You need to tell yourself every moment!

There are many ways to accomplish your goal based on your motivation :

a)      You can read the textbook over and over again. Taking notes is essential.

b)      You can ask the instructor again. ( I visited my professor two times a week during his office hour to clarify all of my doubts. To my surprise, he welcomed me so much and happily waited for me)

c)      You can ask your classmate who may understand more than you do. (For my first couple of computer class, I did this a lot)

d)      You can check the library for more information. (If you are unable to understand by your textbook, find another one)

e)      You can do more online research.

f)       You can do more exercise on your own.

A student who gives up when he is lost will never learn.

2)      Time Management

Time management is also very important for learning.  Learning is one of the difficult but also one of the most fun task. You must be healthy, calm and not hungry or thirsty. The most important is you must have time to learn. Out of 24 hours, how many hours should you save for learning, study, review and memorization? What time is the best time for you to learn, morning? or evening ? Where is the best place to study? At home, at the library or with a friend? What environment is the best? Quiet? Or with a bit of background noise with TV/music? You should find out the answer and schedule the best time as your valuable study time. 

3)      Creation

Students learn maybe 15% of the material by listening or reading, 85% from doing, but 200% from creating with what he has learned.

 

Good qualities possessed by a good teacher

From my teaching experience at vocational college and my private school, I believe the following ideas are important techniques I have incorporated into my teaching style:

1)            Keeping students motivated and helping them see the subject matter as exciting and interesting.

2)            Making a clear picture of the objective of a course. Clarify the reason and purpose to learn certain software application.

3)      Paying attention to the progress of each student, and to the greatest extent possible, meet the needs of differently paced students.

4)      Communicating and making myself available as much as possible via office hours or e-mail. 

5)      Encouraging group interaction and building friendships among  peers.

6)      Presenting material using various teaching and learning strategies (i.e. lecturers, case studies, hand-on-activities, group discussion, panels, and visual aids)

7)      Teaching with expertise, passion, patience and care

8)         Developing  a supportive climate. (practically and  psychological)

9)         Having  professional growth and development regularly

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoy teaching computer science because of the cutting-edge nature of the computer technology industry.  Because application software and computer products are ever changing, it is always new and exciting to learn of updates and innovations.  Both the teacher and student can evolve, share in the excitement, study the mysterious and complex project and continue to grow and learn with each other.  Teaching fosters learning, and learning fosters teaching.  It is the most exciting work for me. I never feel tired or bored with teaching computer science because I keep learning too. 

My ultimate goal as an instructor is to make my lessons easy-to-follow and easy-to-understand, and try to alleviate the confusion as much as possible.  My reward for teaching is seeing the excitement on my student faces or hearing them yelling after they have learned a new feature or a simplified technique. This aids their career development and life quality by making the performance of certain tasks or functions easy and efficient!