My teaching philosophy is the use of multi-modal presentation of information, such as highlighting important information in a visual method such as use of PowerPoint, use of visual aids to reinforce information presented orally as in lecture form. Outlines of the material presented in a lecture is also available to reduce the impact of auditory processing or visual learning deficit as well as reduce the need for note taking so the students do not have to contend with note taking interfering with comprehension. Additionally, the outlines serve as advanced organizers. I also believe that anecdotal evidence supporting the learning material helps with establishing the link between the theoretical or abstract concept and the practical application or implication. I include summaries and discussions of learned material, encouraging participation as a means of reinforcing material. Teaching is not a passive experience and learning is not a passive experience. I believe that teaching and learning occur simultaneously and the goals are an exchange of information, an exchange of opinions, an exchange of ideation where both teacher and student move fluidly from a place of novice to mastery and mastery to novice as more perspectives are voiced and experienced are shared. I believe I am responsible for finding a way to motivate each of my students through a better understanding of obstacles that may inhibit or prohibit learning. I believe a student is responsible for requesting assistance to optimize comprehension. However, I also must realize the role of personal experiences or environmental deprivation of exposure to information that is often perceived as universal and elementary may not have been adequately presented for some individuals. For some individuals, other factors may contribute to a reluctance to voice confusion due to the assumption that others already know or comprehend the information, thus resulting in a withdrawal of the student from the classroom discussions or even asking questions for clarification. I believe in different types of presentation as well as multiple modes of examination. I believe exams should be straight forward rather than "trick" with a prior review of material covered by the exam. Use of different ways to present information with multiple methods to reinforce the information; and multi-modal exam formatting provides the best platform for learning and the exchange of ideas to promote mastery.
I am an aspiring novelist and the grandson of novelist Robert M. Gaffney. I have completed my AA degree and plan to complete my bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in history. I voluntarely postponed my academic pursuits after my father suffered from 5 strokes over the course of a few hours, with complications resulting in a prolonged hospital and short rehabilitation stay due to significant cognitive deficits and physical impairments. Because of safe risks, he was placed on 24/7 supervision. He has recently been released from 24/7 supervision allowing me to return to the classroom and to seek employment. My passions are history and literature. I have been involved in a writers' forum for over 12 years where I was asked to submit 2 of my short stories for an online publication company. I have completed my first novel manuscript, edited by a beta team, to be submitted to literary agents in order to solicit information and advice, offer guidance, and secure representation with the publication process. I believe my passion for history, my passion for sharing knowledge through teaching, and my passion for writing, will culminate in my strong vocational desire to share knowledge by the recreation of historical events through the cross section of historically accurate fictional perspectives of individual characters. Over the past 7 years I have been involved in a nonprofit organization that contracts with the city of Gainesville for a recreation of major historical events in the time of the Middle Ages through the reenactment of the conflicts through battle chess, the human chess board. Through this organization, teens and young adults are provided with a network of support as they hone their skills in stunt combat, acting in historic roles, increase self-esteem, provide a safe venue to assist with mood disorders such as anxiety, social anxiety, and agoraphobia. Trust building exercises, positive reinforcement, and individual recognition help improve self efficacy, self-worth, and self-esteem while providing the opportunity to assist their colleagues with similar inhibitors of social interaction. Skills acquired are stunt fighting, character development, performance anxiety strategies, as well as creating a venue for learning historical methods of blacksmithing, chain mail making, costume creation and a platform for learning about historical events in detail as the guild works to emulate the time period as historically correct. From the clothes that are created to the encampment of the warring factions to the food cooked and served, all members benefit from learning historical facts, relevance, and significance of the time period.
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