Education for All and All for Education
I always think of teaching as an opportunity to inspire students to think critically about the global-local interconnectedness of every aspect of human life. I have a strong belief that education can help people to resolve any challenges they might experience. My dream is to ensure that the post-secondary education should be accessible, available, adequate, appropriate, applicable, acceptable, accountable, accurate and inclusive of every human being. When everyone has access to a “7A+I” learning opportunities, the world will be positively changed in the ways that are consistent with social work professional values.
I know that by being an educator, I occupy a very privileged position in the Canadian society that demands modesty and humility as much as respect and recognition. It is crucial that I acknowledge the power inherent in my role and always self-reflect on my actions. In my teaching, I consistently work to be aware of my position in society and to become a role model of the learning, I strive to promote among students. I treat my students as I want to be treated and try to recognize their uniqueness and individuality in all aspects of course design and delivery.
Learning, of course, is the main purpose of education. It is the goal of every student and the task of every educator to increase knowledge and understanding to create an effective learning environment. I believe that the learning environment needs to involve active collaboration between students and the instructor. Students not only learn from me but also learn from each other and I learn from them. I want students who enrol in classes I teach to become critical thinkers and life-long learners. My students can expect that I utilize “7A and I” principles to answer questions, and genuinely invest in their learning. In my teaching, I strive to be student-focused, competent, flexible, and aware of uniqueness and diversity amongst my students.
I am a definite believer in active learning. In all the courses I teach I try to maintain an active dialogue with students and promote interaction in all course activities. I do not believe in passive learning through lecturing. My students are expected to come to class and be ready to engage in discussion and debate with course material. I invest a lot of time in designing my courses and expect a lot from my students. I know that each of them has an enormous potential and my role as an educator is to develop that potential through creating challenging and thought-provoking assignments while at the same time maintaining a supportive learning environment. I try to accomplish the creation of such an environment not only through using presentations and lectures, but also through non-formal methods of education such as simulation and role-playing games, brainstorming, energizers during the class/online discussions and, particularly, in writing assignments. I always want that students can apply their knowledge in their field. That is why I try to create practical assignments that will help students to enhance their critical thinking skills and to prepare them to be successful in their future professional career.
I actively encourage dialogue with students during office hours and by appointments. I prefer to have a discussion with students in person where I can observe both verbal and non-verbal communication (if possible) to better serve and support them. Additionally, I regularly strive to improve my teaching by seeking student feedback, talking with peers, attending educational conferences, reading and experimenting with new teaching methods. To be an effective teacher, I continue to be a student. I regularly attend teaching workshops on managing the classroom, lesson planning, discussion facilitation, etc. My degree in Masters of Education from Lviv University and Certificate in Higher Education Teaching from the University of Manitoba provides me with a strong foundation in becoming an effective life-long educator.
Although I have more than ten years of extensive teaching experience, I feel that I am still only at the beginning of the exciting road that is called the teaching and learning journey. The principles that I have developed through my teaching career and for which I strive to reach as an educator of future professionals allows me to ensure that my students may find and use their strengths to contribute to our society in meaningful ways.