Victoria Rubin's Teaching Philosophy

My teaching approach is based on active and cooperative learning: engaging students in higher-order thinking tasks such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and problem-solving) and using small groups so that students can work together to maximize their own and each other's learning. Potential challenges for both techniques include large classes, limited classroom time, lack of student's participation, and regaining control over the classroom after activities and can be overcome with adequate planning, awareness of alternative teaching strategies.

Educational experts argue that the larger the class, the more essential it is to use active learning. Moving some material to hand-outs creates time for a brief in-class exercise such as problem-solving, question-answering, or note-consolidating. Those can be more effective than a traditional lecture format because they focus students on important points in the lecture and increase subsequent concentration. The percentage of students that refuse to participate in activities is roughly equal or lower than the percentage of those who lose concentration in traditional lectures. A key to regaining control after a noisy exercise is in establishing a signal for finishing the exercise, stopping the activity after the prescribed time, and calling individual students or teams to state their results.


My teaching experience has taught me to believe in clarity of thought, creativity, and interaction.

  1. A teacher has to be clear and intelligible in communicating ideas, and be able to lead the class through logically connected steps. A well-organized lecture is easy to follow. If students understand, they will be more likely to retain, recall, and apply the material.
  2. Creativity is what allows a teacher to steer away from a traditional lecture format and make the delivery of the material more attractive. It is important to sense "the beat of the class" and be prepared for a change of pace with a brief activity or an improvised discussion. The teacher should invent ways to involve students and leave space for students' initiative.
  3. Interaction inspires cooperative learning and sparks interest.

Trained originally as a language teacher, I often re-discover and reflect upon the application of language-teaching techniques in information and language technology classes. Language classes are highly interactive and dynamic, while technology classes tend to be more passive and static. I strongly believe in creating an atmosphere of educational socialization in the classroom regardless of the content. Teacher-to-student interaction is only a part of the equation. Of course, it is vital for the teacher to discover students' backgrounds and learning goals, and encourage student feedback but student-to-student collaboration is beneficial as well.

In my understanding, a class that walks in one by one and quietly sits waiting to be educated is a potential failure. Spending some classroom time on student introductions, instructional small-group interactions, and in-class question-answering, does not detract from presenting complicated material. Rather it stimulates positive communicative atmosphere for cooperative learning and enhances interpretation and retention of the material. Getting students to talk back is an essential step in ensuring an incremental understanding of the material. An additional step that is becoming standard is setting up asynchronous communication via listserve, e-mail, or designated on-line chat-rooms.

In summary, as a teacher I am dedicated to communicating ideas clearly and incrementally, engaging students in creative learning activities, cultivating instructional interaction, and facilitating cooperative learning.

Back to top



LITRL Logo
only search this site
Copyright © 2011-2012, Victoria Locktionova Rubin. All rights reserved.
Last Edited: 16 December 2011