Coming up as a graduate student I was never taught how to teach. I had to actively seek out my own information from seminars (which were hard to find) and literature about teaching and piece together my teaching philosophy from a myriad of sources. I learned a lot about how to teach by watching others, mostly my mentors, who were all “sages on the stage.” I took that teaching philosophy and ran with it, thinking that it was the only way to teach as it was the only thing that I had experienced.
I have taught for many years, but now that I am developing my first hybrid course the pitfall that I need to continually avoid is believing that the only way that my students will learn is by acquiring their knowledge from me (a combination of pitfall #3: “sage on the stage” and pitfall #4: “pouring content into student containers”). I teach a content heavy course and I feel personally responsible for delivering information to my students, so I developed this belief system that I was the one who responsible for this. I have taught this course as an on-campus course and an Ecampus course, so I have seen both styles. When I first moved the course to Ecampus, I fell into pitfall #4 thinking that I was the one to deliver the knowledge into their “container.” I recently changed my model and gave my students the creative freedom to do open-ended assignments to explore parts of the course that they wanted to learn more in depth and they just amazed me! I spent a whole Sunday reading them and I was completely revitalized and inspired by their enthusiasm, creativity, and passion. It made me completely change my thinking about how I do things. They did not get what they put into those assignments from me…they got it from their own inspiration, creativity, passion, and exploration.
It is very difficult to change. It is very difficult to break free of how we do things because we come to believe that the way we do things is the best way, the only way. I am reading these pitfalls often as I am working on my hybrid development to remind me that I am continually learning how to do this better for my students.