Keith Greenwood

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is to provide students with the skills and concepts that will provide a foundation upon which they can continue to build. Rather than thinking of what’s presented in class as all they need to know, I want students to think of what’s presented as the starting point for their own explorations. Whether skills or concepts, my teaching starts with the basics. Some students will grasp a concept or skill immediately, while others will need repetition or to hear the material presented in a different manner. I address this in the classroom by repeating material for clarity and by explaining how the skill or concept integrates with other material covered in the course. Understanding that specific facts or routines they are taught in class are part of a larger system is the first step for students to “take ownership” of the material and start to integrate it into their own schema. I apply this philosophy to course design as well, introducing new concepts and skills incrementally and placing them within the context of material previously introduced so students can assemble the pieces into a larger picture.

I encourage students to apply the materials in class to their own interests and knowledge. I expect students to think of applications of the material other than those I’ve presented to them, and I ask them to look for and critique examples of the concepts at work in the profession. I also encourage them to be creative instead of repeating the basic information presented in class. In skills courses, I reward those who try something new with the material. In seminar courses I look for synthesis and understanding of the material, especially its application to questions not raised in class discussion.

The goal of this philosophy is to encourage students to move beyond the basic absorption of information and to be creative and critical in its application. By the end of any course I teach, students should not only know the material covered but also see how it fits within the larger context of journalism and society. If my students realize the things they are taught in class represent tools they can use to build something greater, I am successful.