Mary Penick's
Teaching Philosophy
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  • Education is the ability to rapidly learn new things based upon what you already know. The main goal then is to teach "how to learn" through concepts rather than to teach just the facts. Facts will likely become outdated; but concepts can be applied to new research. New information will be required in an ever-changing world. 
  • The process of critical thinking is paramount. Students need to acquire the ability to confront, evaluate, assimilate, and synthesize new information and then to apply that information critically, practically, and effectively to decision- making and  problem solving. The development of critical thinking requires "active learning" and hands-on analysis.             Go to the top
  • All students have tremendous, God-given potential. Students can achieve much of that potential if individually motivated, treated with respect and fairness, and expected to rise toward that potential. Each student needs to be viewed as an individual with great worth and potential. We obtain the best results in education by expecting the best from each student. 
  • To understand today's material, a student must press ahead into tomorrow's material. Initial exposure to new facts, concepts, or decision making strategies is often, at best, only a partially enlightening experience. Planned repetition of factual information, review of concepts, use of techniques, and practice in problem-solving are needed in order to facilitate more effective learning.                                    Go to the top
  • Learning is often best achieved in a collaborative effort. There needs to be clear and comfortable channels of communication between between the student and the instructor and between the student and other students. There needs to be the attitude of "we're all in this together." Multiple perspectives, diverse experiences, and varied expertise can bear on the learning endeavor; thereby almost always making that endeavor richer and more successful. 
  • Enthusiasm is contagious. A teacher must be enthusiastic, not only about teaching, but about learning and must convey that excitement to students. Enthusiasm for learning is, of course, demonstrated by one's demeanor in the classroom, but also by exploration and application of new developments in the discipline, by explicit application of course content to current events, and by appropriate use of learning styles research, active learning techniques, and instructional technology. 

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