Maria Solomou

"I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." ~Albert Einstein




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Teaching Philosophy

Being a Learning Scientist, I carry specific philosophical ideas about how teaching and learning should take place. My experiences so far have led me to be an advocate of situated learning instructional practices. I believe instruction should provide situations where narratives immerse learners into being active participants and construct knowledge in a rather social context. As an instructor, and at the same time as a learner, I am experiencing how interesting and challenging this can be. The lessons from my instructional experiences indicate that framing content in ways that make sense for the learners leads them to effective learning that can use in their actual teaching environment. Therefore, I attempt to provide as realistic experiences as possible for students to realize, understand, and make connections between ideas.

In my online classes I try to contextualize the content by providing short narratives and case studies. I also aim at immersing my students in greater narratives in which they take up roles and try to respond to the simulated school issues by using their theoretical knowledge in 3D gaming environments. Pre-service teachers need to have coherent theoretical knowledge to inform teaching practices. Contextualization of that knowledge enables them to use that simulated participation for real life situations. I consider my role in a class to be the facilitator, whether that is online, or face-to-face and I try to provide as many opportunities for reflection, but at the same time I try to challenge my students through activities that provoke thinking.

The experiences that I have had so far from teaching online and with the use of virtual worlds have strengthened my belief that learning is better when it is framed in a narrative situation, and I have realized the importance and difference my research can make for education. Focusing on the ways that people learn by using all possible resources in their context and by participating in complex narratives that simulate reality really enhances and strengthens the connections between theory and practice.

I enjoy teaching, as much as I enjoy conducting research, and researching games in relation to learning. The challenges from trying to provide effective instruction, my students’ comments, and at the same time the rewards from experiencing new ideas, push my thinking as an instructor and motivate me to improve further in the ways I provide learning through contemporary mediums like online platforms and gaming environments.

I feel prepared to organize an online learning environment that can train prospective teachers towards acquiring the necessary skills for their teaching. Having experienced several teaching environments, I also feel prepared to teach both face-to-face and online courses on other topics, such as technology and education, culture and learning, new media, and design of learning in context. I love teaching because I can make a difference in people’s learning. The rewards and challenges from each class are different and will always be part of instruction.

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