My two dominant perspectives are pretty much exactly what I would have predicted are my strongest philosophical views for teaching. They are Developmental and Nurturing and are above the Dominant line. (To see the 5 teaching perspectives and a description click on this link).
I certainly prioritize student centered learning and spend a good deal of time learning about my students in order to best tailor my teaching.
I really value the teacher-student relationship. I take time to create a safe learning environment to encourage the voice of everyone in the class. I take an Appreciative inquiry standpoint in my teaching. I try to see each student as unique with unique experience and strengths and try to draw these out and help the students recognize and develop them as well. I often tell my students that I see my role as a coach; encouraging and supporting when needed and balancing that with challenging them when I think they ready or when I think they can give more.
I found it very interesting that my beliefs were low in transmission and apprenticeship perspectives yet my actions were incongruent because they were fairly high. I reflected that certainly I am aware that I don’t believe strongly in content heavy courses, knowledge transmission from teacher to student with teacher being the expert. I do have a large body of knowledge and experience which I feel I can offer my students yet I recognize that this is part of the package I bring to the table for my students, but they bring theirs as well and I value this highly.
Nursing has a large body of knowledge and there is a baseline amount of knowledge that a nursing student must know in order to safely care for patients in the clinical setting in which I teach. (Therein lies an ethical dilemma I often confront; my ethical professional standards as an RN that often collide with my values and beliefs about teaching and learning. It creates a role conflict between my role as a nurse and as a teacher. But I’ll save that discussion for another day). Also, the students have to pass a registration exam at the end of the 4 year nursing program which pushes us as educators to prepare our students for this exam. History on previous test results from our students taking this exam have forced the nursing curriculum to become content heavy as a result. Thus forcing us as nursing instructors to ensure our students get a certain amount of knowledge in various areas of nursing, which is actually quite immense. I have always struggled with this, because the way I am being asked to teach isn’t congruent with my teaching beliefs. Like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place which has left me feeling resentment at times and a deep rooted discord. I have learned to rectify this discord by choosing courses to teach that tend to be less content heavy so that I can feel a harmony in my values as a teacher and as a nurse.
I enjoyed taking this perspectives inventory because it solidified what my beliefs are as an educator, the challenges I have in living them out and one way that I can try to overcome these barriers. I will continue to keep these values and beliefs at the forefront of my brain and continue to reflect on how I can live them out more richly with my students. I will also now have more insight into the root cause when I feel that discord and continue to search for ways to rectify it so that I can be true to myself and feel more inner harmony when teaching.