“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.”
1. My Aims
I believe in student-centered teaching and learning: this means that I value the creative, dynamic and stimulating space that is created between learners (of which I am still a part of) and the teachers, as a medium of conveying existing and generating new ideas.
My aims as a teacher are (1) to facilitate students in their learning abilities to acquire new knowledge, (2) to sustain their curiosity of mind and (3) to challenge students to question fundamentally established as well as new ideas and facts.
In addition to the fundamental curriculum of the course I have been teaching in the field of Politics, Human Geography and Humanities, I have aimed in the past and will continue in the future to foster critical thinking, develop life-long learning skills, and prepare students to function effectively in an information economy while developing problem-solving strategies.
I see my role as a teacher, apart from being an expert in the relevant discipline, also as a facilitator in linking different ideas. My responsibility is to provide the core ideas and themes of the subject I am teaching and to inspire students to take their own path in discovering new and intriguing facts and ideas. For example, when I teach International Political Economy for second year undergraduate students, I would provide a wide range of topics, which encompass all social, economic, environmental and political aspects of each topic.
Students’ responsibility is to familiarize themselves with the required readings and to provide assignments timely and well informed. In the field of social sciences I strive to improve students’ ability to critically reflect and analyze historical and contemporary social, political and economic development.
My teaching aims are closely linked to the specific values of the University where I am employed and ultimately to the national-level needs for teaching. At Curtin University, the values which I share are: integrity, respect, fairness and care.
I am committed to innovation and excellence in teaching for the benefit of the students and wider community.
2. My Methods
I employ methods, which focus on achieving the aims of my teaching philosophy and are directed to (1) developing the most appropriate curriculum design possible and (2) taking into account learning theory and cognitive development. Specific strategies and techniques as they relate to the aims of my teaching philosophy are listed below:
Facilitating students in their learning abilities to acquire new knowledge:
-Incorporating traditional teaching methods with ICT in the lecture rooms.
-Employ a positive attitude to all students, inclusive of all linguistic and cultural background.
-Believe in all students’ ability to learn and to carry out their knowledge in other subject areas and in the wider community
– Recognizing that students need to combine both physical and mental activities to create new ideas.
-Acknowledging that individual learning outcomes will vary amongst learners.
Sustaining their curiosity of mind:
– Keep students interested by demonstrating enthusiasm
– Create a safe, welcoming and positive environment for learning, where students feel comfortable to share ideas with each-others
– Actively engage students in the learning experience by relating to issues, which are important in their lives.
– Challenging students to question fundamentally established as well as new ideas and facts.
– Establish high standards and support students in reaching them.
– Recognise that knowledge is negotiated and relative
– The teacher’s main role is to be the facilitator of the learning process, rather than only the expert of knowledge
– Introduce students to different viewpoints in the humanities and international politics.
3. My Assessments
I believe that each teacher needs to design their own assessment method in addition to the standard evaluation methods used to address each specific course. I have found through my teaching in Asian studies, those specific and individualized evaluations receive the most positive feedback. As one of my objectives is to sustain their curiosity of mind, I would like to test their ability to relate to the wider literature and to seek an insight into a specific problem, such as the role of the state in an increasing climate of globalization. I would design a situation, either based on actual historical events, or in the future and ask them to describe how they would act if they were in the position of different stakeholders and ask them to base their decisions and actions. The evaluation would be then based on the depth to which they have considered local, national and global issues and the specific cultural, socio-economic and politic climate.
I agree with Ronald Myers, Associate Professor in Veterinary Pathology, who states in his teaching portfolio:
“I have come to realize that ultimately students learn what we examine for. If we test for learning of facts, students will learn facts. If we test for problem solving, they will learn to be better problem solvers….My long-term goal is to learn more about and then to implement improved mechanisms for assessment of students, likely in the realm of ability-based or performance-based assessment.”
4. The Importance of my Teaching and Learning
When I was living in Wellington, New Zealand (some 10 years ago), I saw an advertising on the TV, which final slogan read “Use your head! Teach!” This left a long-lasting impression on me to this day.
The great rewards of teaching are multi-dimensional: not only it is now a one-way conversing of knowledge and ideas, but it is also a two-way of communication and mutual rewards. I have learnt from my mistakes of trying to teach students aspects, which I thought were important to the course area, but then found that they would rather learn about completely different aspects. This taught me to consider more carefully the interest of the students, the size of the group and the hour of teaching (whether it is early in the morning or in the afternoon).
I cannot help, but to believe in the ideals of education, having lived in all spectrums of political and economic regimes (from socialist regime to neo-liberal and nationalism). One thing, that has sustained nations through many centuries (such as Bulgaria) is the importance of education. Individually, I also place education as a top-level priority, also because my family, and myself have made a lot of sacrifices to adhere to those values. I still see parents in Eastern European countries, for example, who would give all of their combined income to pay for education (where state sponsorship is not available). I feel grateful to all the funding I have received in the form of scholarship to sponsor my education (from undergraduate to postgraduate and doctoral) and when I feel undervalued or overworked, I often think about all those sacrifices and opportunities I have been given to rejuvenate and to inspire students.
I want to make a difference in the lives of students by opening new horizons not only in the field of political science, but also in human geography, sustainability and link it to as many disciplines as possible. The effect, which I want to make on students and their learning, is to give them the independent opportunity to develop best their potentials and their ability to think.
5. Teaching Evaluations
Teaching Evaluation Report for Silvia Lozeva, International Political Economy 222, 2012 Semester 1
“Silvia always has important and useful things to contribute to class discussions.”=
“Very enthusiastic, was easy to stay interested in content of the units which gives us an insight to what happens overseas as well as in Australia and she allowed the structure of the class to go however the discussion went which was good.”
“For the first time teaching…her teaching skills are very good and I learnt a lot”
Teaching Evaluation Report for Silvia Lozeva, Introduction to Humanities 013, 2013 (Summer)”
“Silvia was enthusiastic about the topic itself and was well prepared. She also put in the effort to find other helpful information related to the topic, such as videos and pictures.”
“Knows her stuff and is enthusiastic about it! Best thing we could have as a teacher!”
Another way to ask for a Go game is to ask” Please teach me” (Baduk proverb)