It is with pleasure that I present my teaching philosophy, evidence of instructional success, and contributions to pedagogical efforts. I have focused my career on bringing people together to build innovative software with an emphasis on improving engineering processes. Computer science offers amazing opportunities to build solutions that make large impacts in improving the way people live, work, and communicate. My teaching philosophy statement describes how I incorporate my passion for teaching, a safe learning environment, teaching diversity, critical thinking, high expectations, and an enriched learning environment.
Passion. I feel truly blessed to have found my passion as I cannot imagine a more fulfilling life than that of a professor. My teaching philosophy blends my passion for teaching, demonstration of the application of theory by industry example, and my desire to research and develop curriculum and learning methods that engage students that can contribute to the computer science field. My pedagogical philosophy consists of engaging students in challenging, worthwhile ideas, which emphasize relationships, multiple sources of knowledge, praxis, and the importance of collaborative learning that enables me to reach more students.
Safe environment. My classroom environment engages students in positive dialogic positions to best prepare them for work in industry or academia. At the core of my teaching philosophy is a foundational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion of all students, especially those that struggle to succeed in systems that marginalize them. I strive to be flexible, empathetic, and aware of the diversity in my classroom. I foster a conversational atmosphere in which students feel comfortable sharing their comments and questions. As part of a supportive framework, students are encouraged to view one another as colleagues, partners, and peers, never as rivals. I believe professors should provide emotional support to give students the courage to pursue their goals. I am rewarded by the opportunity to serve as a role model, inspiring students to become confident and hardworking practitioners. My teaching experiences have shown that once students are engaged and excited about the material, they naturally begin to think critically. I believe that through the collaborative learning process, students become active participants in their education.
Teaching flexibility. I can teach courses from introductory computer science, to programming, all the way to full-stack development. When teaching introductory computer science courses, I am aware that most of my students may not share my passion for computer science. Additionally, this may be the only opportunity they may have to be exposed to the field of computer science. Keeping this in mind, my main objectives for their learning experiences are to foster an appreciation for the field of computer science. My experience in the industry has enabled me to apply the theoretical foundations that I have learned in my own academic coursework. This has been useful in preparing students in middle and upper-division courses focused on elements of full-stack software development. I can integrate real-world aspects into my assignments, lessons, and exams, that students are likely to encounter when they reach the industry.
Critical thinking. I place focus in all my classes to develop students’ critical thinking skills as I believe they are valuable for both their personal and professional development. Many students come to class with their own preconceived notions that may foster a lack of appreciation and understanding for computing. I challenge their current perspectives and provide them with awareness of their own biases to become more competent at drawing valid and objective inferences.
High expectations. I believe that students excel in an environment in which expectations of performance are clear and attainable. When students are ready to face this challenge, I am there, approachable, available, and sincerely invested in their success. I make myself available outside of class time by offering more than the required number of office hours, through the Discord server, by personal appointment, and by encouraging my open-door policy (if my door is open, please stop by!). My goal for my students is their personal and professional development which can be achieved by setting high expectations, mimicking challenging real-world situations, and providing them with the support they need so they can overcome these challenges and learn from the experience.
Enriched learning environment. I believe that effective learning is achieved by utilizing existing and new pedagogical tools. My classroom involves a variety of activities incorporating techniques that require preparation such as interactive classroom coding demonstrations, group discussion, and presentations. I utilize the tools offered in the learning management system as well as incorporate other tools that help to extend the learning environment beyond the classroom. I am dedicated to continuous personal growth and improvement of my teaching practices. Exemplary teachers never cease to enhance their teaching skills through a process of self-examination that includes constructive feedback from both students and colleagues. Incorporating and experimenting with new instructional approaches enriches the learning environment, as does staying current with the latest empirical research. Thus, I make personal learning a high priority for my growth, to provide my students with an enriched learning environment.
Copyright © 2022 Lucas P. Cordova, Ph.D. - The Pragmatic Professor.