Teaching Philosophy

20160831_134638Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D.

As a teacher and facilitator, I establish learning communities where we come to learn with each other and from each other in a collaborative process. Collaborative processes give rise to vibrant cultures of growth and development with the result of a harvest of student achievement filled with a growth mindset, mental flexibility, curiosity, risk taking and intrinsic motivation. My approach to teaching is student-centered with the aim to open the doors of knowledge not only empirically but emotionally as well. As a facilitator and ESL learner, I sat where my students sit today. Genuine sympathy and sincere empathy for their struggles, aspirations, successes and failures guide my teaching philosophy. My former ESL professor at Rice University (a life-time ago) gifted me her guiding quote on teaching ESL writing: Caelum video lussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultu (He bid them look at the sky and lift their faces to the stars.) Ovid.
Technology is changing the context of education. Cultivating digital literacy is an essential part of a writing course. In today’s workplace, digital literacy is essential. But teaching and learning should go beyond access to basic technology based tools. Students must learn to apply digital resources to creatively solve problems, produce innovative projects, and enhance communications to prepare for a career in any field. My writing courses encourage a dialogue between technological tools and students to achieve polished, in-depth pieces highlighting a mastery of analysis and form.
I reflected deeply on Driscoll’s (2000) definition of learning as “a persisting change in human performance or performance potential…[which] must come about as a result of the learner’s experience and interaction with the world” and rely on Siemens’s reflection (2005) on that definition; “[Driscoll’s] definition encompasses many of the attributes commonly associated with behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism – namely, learning as a lasting changed state (emotional, mental, physiological (i.e. skills)) brought about as a result of experiences and interactions with content or other people,” in the context of technology a modern, yet common sense approach in higher education classrooms. “Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized,” and going on to say that, “the field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.”
Academic ability is not necessarily an indication of intelligence as talent is diverse. Often instructional methods are preoccupied with academic ability. I prefer a common-sense approach where the writer’s mind focuses on both the practical and analytical. Interactive, collaborative, and personalized instruction address the hopes and aspirations of nascent writers. I encourage diversity in writing with a broad curriculum to feed the spirit; writing about issues which resonate; fostering creativity in the writing process while embracing and consistently applying essential cornerstones of the writing process.
Beyond grammatical skills, writing a college-level essay requires the following: a thesis; factual support; and clear lines of logic to link the factual support into arguments either supporting or refuting the thesis. Regardless of the topic; from art to business, from journalism to international relations; any compelling essay will require these elements. Therefore, in our essays classes use Google based fact sheets to scaffold their arguments and delineate thinking in a clear, organized method. These personally developed Google instruments provide writing exercises through which students can concentrate on the logical components of the writing process by choosing relevant facts, analyzing them, and developing clear arguments based on such facts. This fosters a writing approach which lends itself to writing across disciplines. Our elevator pitches focus on the topic and infuse the course with real-life presentation experience using various technology suites while simultaneously fostering fluency, strong delivery and a sense of real-life application for ESL students.
The Experiential Learning Philosophy and authentic learning in a student-centered classroom are the cornerstones of my educational approach. My primary goals in teaching writing are: First, increasing students’ metacognitive awareness so that they better understand themselves as learners and enable students to take responsibility for their learning. Second, providing a clear lesson structure with objectives and aims for students. Third, improving students’ understanding of, and ability to accurately use English in speaking, writing and reading. My overarching goal is to develop communicative competence.

Author: drcowinj

I am the Chief Marketing Officer for a start-up IT company, PeopleMovers®, a global Community Networking Platform. As an experienced executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development, change management and turn-around I worked with value-adding leadership. The primary drivers have been branding, marketing and efficiency, improved customer satisfaction and retainment, customer service, product management, cross-functional business improvements and development of sponsor presentations with sponsor meetings. On a day to day basis, I write press releases and speeches, analyze case studies, create presentations, organize media events and photo ops, press conferences, podcasts/webcasts, write video scripts, fan boards, and coordinate blogging and speaking opportunities. The Presidency of the Rotary Club of New York is dear to my heart. As the second woman to be elected in 109 years, I have a leadership role in shaping and directing the club's programs and international strategic alliances. The position encompasses being a leader, manager, and collaborator and working to further The Rotary Club of New York’s (RCNY) public diplomacy mission through the management of its United Nations International Breakfast meetings, sponsoring international Rotary scholars and amplifying the visibility of RCNY. Part of this volunteer leadership position centers around cooperation and collaboration to do "Service above Self." The Rotary network encompasses more than 1.3 million members worldwide. I am working on our International Breakfast Lecture series at the United Nations and a Harvey Relief event to increase the visibility of the club’s Rotary branding. The International Breakfast Series is streamed live on Facebook with an audience of 5000+ international viewers. Also, I am the US Ambassador of the Hepatitis Zero Campaign, a worldwide campaign dedicated to the eradication of hepatitis . As a University Pathway facilitator at EF - Education First, I conceived, designed and developed multiple portfolios of face-to-face, online and blended curricula across a variety of disciplines Courses and expertise are in Global Economics, International Affairs, Academic Writing, Grammar, and business case study seminars. For EF's Russian branch I held interactive webinars for lawyers, teachers, engineers with a strong practical applicability into real-life teaching.

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