Philosophy of Teaching Statement
The classroom is a perfect microcosmic mirror for the macrocosmic task that is interpreting. Interpreting involves analysis of message, environment, synthesis of new theories, relationships among real people, cultural factors, multi-tasking, preparation work and processing. The learning environment requires all of these things. By applying interpreting theories to each educational task students are able to learn interpreting organically.
As a teacher I have always believed in using as many different ethical means as is necessary for student success. I see this as a multi-pronged approach on the part of the instructor that includes setting expectations using educational culture-setting of several facets, using an assortment of tools, fostering an intentional environment, and modeling the professionalism and life-long learning to validate what I am maintaining that students must uphold. In order to become well-rounded interpreters or indeed humans – students must learn critical-thinking skills, challenge their beliefs about learning and the world around them, and travel outside their zones of proximal development or “comfort zones”.
No matter how these theories manifest in real-world learning, the most important part of the learning environment is ethics. Regardless of students’ circumstances, the learning institutes’ flaws, nor any other feature that is out of the control of either me or the students, without behaving ethically, then learning is pushed in a direction where the ends always justifies the means, and each lesson takes on a context that accommodates any excuse for whatever behavior is convenient. In interpreter education this will inevitably lead to oppressing deaf consumers, interpreters benefiting monetarily from proprietary information, and other behavior that has been deemed unethical by the industry and humanity. It is with firm commitment to these standards that I build my learning environment. I do this by setting a culture consisting of a number of features, fostering an intentional environment, and encouraging specific facets that I model myself as a teacher. These are detailed here.