Current Course Information

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Teaching Philosophy, Laura M. Grabowski

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."

-- Albert Einstein

Awakening Joy

I love learning. I love untangling the complex knot of an idea, to discover the simple elegance at its core. I love finding how seemingly disparate concepts are actually interwoven in an amazing and intricate web of point, counterpoint, and many shades in between. In short, I love the joy of discovery that I find in learning. An even greater thrill, for me, is seeing that joy and wonder in the eyes of a student, as concepts and skills come together. As a teacher of Computer Science, I seek to build a framework that fosters the development of student knowledge, skills, and attitudes, so that the joy of discovery might follow.

Success in Learning: Theoretical Framework

In my learning experiences as a student, I find that I am most successful in an environment that is simultaneously nurturing and challenging. In this type of environment, the teacher recognizes and respects students as individuals, and seeks to create an inclusive atmosphere that addresses individual differences in identity, learning styles, background, and prior knowledge. But the teacher also challenges the student to outgrow any limitations those differences may impose, and seeks to provide the tools the student needs to achieve that growth. In this framework, teacher and student are collaborators and active participants in the process. Such a partnership both encourages a deeper investment in the process by both teacher and student and sets the stage for lifelong learning.

Educational Goals

Ultimately, the goal of education is learning how to learn. Skills for lifelong learning are important in any discipline, and they are critically important in a field that changes as rapidly as Computer Science. My goal as a teacher is to connect student experiences in my courses with the ongoing development of general learning skills, science learning skills, and specific Computer Science skills. For example, I want students to synthesize new information to enable them to approach a problem using a variety of strategies, and to think creatively and independently when choosing the most appropriate strategy for that problem. The specific Computer Science skills that I want students to understand vary with the particular course, but the direction is always toward understanding fundamental concepts that will lead to a strong technical foundation. Common threads through all these contexts is the continual enhancement of communication skills, and a growing appreciation of the synergy of diversity.