My teaching philosophy is based on the core belief that all students can succeed in physics courses if given proper support. As an educator, I aim to instill in students the skills and confidence they need to believe in themselves and have successful careers in physics and related fields.
Students from different backgrounds bring different viewpoints and ways of thinking to the classroom and research groups. Therefore, diversity in the physics program should be encouraged and strived for, as these differing ways of thinking can often provide novel solutions to problems.
Students learn best when they are actively engaging in the content that is being presented instead of interacting with the content passively through a traditional lecture-style class. Therefore, I plan to format all my courses to follow a flipped or half-flipped classroom style to benefit the students. These classrooms are proven to increase student learning and retention.
The best method to assess students is through project-based assignments. These assignments assess students' knowledge and ability to work with and apply concepts rather than their ability to retain concepts briefly, as with traditional exams. It also gives the students a chance to learn the scientific method and experience introductory research as a physicist.
Additionally, to further allow undergraduate students to gain research experience, I plan on starting a research program based on my research interests that is inclusive to all students, regardless of their background, skills, or previous content knowledge. In addition to extending a student's knowledge of physics, an undergraduate research experience can increase their confidence as a physicist while giving them valuable experience for graduate school or industry.
I strive to make the content of my courses academically challenging while still approachable to my students. Students retain what they learn longer if they have to interact and occasionally struggle with the material, but if the material is too difficult students can be discouraged from continuing in physics. I plan to make my courses accessible to all students by offering opportunities for the students to get help (both in class and outside of class) and encouraging a collaborative environment where the students will benefit from working together.
Physics students who plan on moving on to graduate school or industry post-graduation will benefit from high computational literacy and an interdisciplinary skill set from computer science, mathematics, and data science. I plan to help my students succeed by encouraging students to take a wide variety of courses outside of physics and by incorporating elements from mathematics, computer science, and data science into my courses. I also plan to help my students achieve a high computational literacy by having significant programming components in all my courses.
A physics educator must be able to adapt to changes in the field as essential physics discoveries are happening at an ever-increasing rate. This includes relating important physics discoveries to the material taught in the classroom and incorporating skills that are becoming increasingly important in physics. The skills that students should develop to succeed in a modern physics field are knowledge of high-performance computing, machine learning, and quantum computing from a hardware and software side. I will continue to adapt this list as physics research grows and evolves.
The field of physics education research is advancing as new and novel methods are developed to convey information to students. If I work with an institution with physics research educators or scientific education researchers, I plan to work closely with them to implement new advances into my courses. Regardless of if my institution has a physics education research department, I plan on working with the physics education community in general, with whom I have built connections, to continuously update my classes to benefit the students.
Though it is unlikely that a college education can be entirely free to students, the financial barrier to entering a physics major should be reduced as much as possible. Lowering the cost of being in the department is especially important when trying to increase the department's diversity. To help facilitate this, I plan on using open-source digital textbooks, software, and other resources whenever feasible as long as they are comparable to their paid counterparts.