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Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Christoph J. Gei▀ler


As a teacher, I have an opportunity to play a critical role in the cognitive and overall development of students while, at the same time, to enhance my own personal deve- lopment as an educator and scholar. I believe that a useful university education should give students the tools and background to be productive and successful in the path they choose for themselves. I strongly embrace the notion that teaching and research are not independent endeavors, but rather synergetic processes: teaching can lead to good research topics, and conversely, research often provides new ways of explaining and teaching. I therefore resolved very early in my career to excel not only as a researcher, but also as a teacher.

My approach to teaching a foreign language such as German is primarily to employ pedagogical strategies that are able to accommodate different learning styles. I believe that everyone has a preferred approach to new knowledge, may it be visual, auditory or tactile. Those preferences together with intrinsic motivations have an enormous impact on how much is learned. But language instruction is more: presenting grammar and vocabulary in a cultural context is as important as the variation of teaching resources and techniques to empower the students to acquire a holistic picture of the target language and culture. Thus, a variety of media sources (textbooks, overheads, pictures, slides, copies of realia, tapes, computer resources) and classroom techniques (group- and partnerwork, discussion, lecture, role play, games, creative writing, dictation, repetition of phrases/vocabulary, etc.) should be utilized by the instructor to facilitate and substantially improve the proficiency of the students.

Clearly communicating my expectations and goals for my courses is imperative. My syllabi and assignments must be detailed and as unambiguous as possible. Since learning is not a mere individual process, but a social process as well, treating students as capable and diligent will enhance their performance . Tests, quizzes, oral and written assignments must be graded in a fair, honest and consistent manner. Moreover, students also must have the opportunity to evaluate me regularly and anonymously.

I feel that the instructor should be a motivator, facilitator and role model for the class s/he teaches. Professionalism requires maintaining an environment in class that is conducive to learning, especially for those who experience difficulty with the material. Teaching is a venerable trust and responsibility that I approach with the respect and effort that it demands. I recognize that I have much to offer to my students, and I have plenty to learn from them as well.

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This page was created on May 12, 1999.
last revision of this page: May 04, 2002