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Teaching Philosophy Statement

As I have learned through my teaching experiences, a large part of successful teaching consists of figuring out how people learn. A good teacher is necessarily a good learner first. Because I am a constant learner myself I feel passionate about education in general and teaching in particular.

My teaching style cannot be described as a number of stable and frozen techniques. It is rather a dynamic and rapidly developing process, which evolves daily as I learn through professional development, by studying my peers, and most importantly by listening to my students.

I see my role as an instructor not only as a source of knowledge, but rather as a source of support and an avenue for other resources. I try to be approachable, available to answer questions, and genuinely invested in my students' academic success. I strive to be student-focused, competent, flexible, and aware of uniqueness amongst my students.

I have noticed that my role as a teacher in a classroom shifts significantly throughout the learning process. It would not be a mistake to say that I believe that there are certain times to teach and times to let the learning take place on its own. Depending on the material, class dynamics, and student needs, I try to find the balance between being a directive active leader and having a more facilitative observer role.

It is clear for me that a key element in the foreign language classroom is keeping students motivated. My personal style of teaching brings enthusiasm, cultural elements, and technology into the classroom. My teaching experience shows that all these components strongly increase students' learning motivation.

As I guide my students through their learning process I challenge them to broaden their minds by enhancing their awareness of cultural differences. Teaching my native Russian language enables me to draw upon my own culture and personal experience as a foreigner and foreign language learner. I teach my students not only to communicate effectively in Russian but rather try to encourage them to gain an appreciation for another language and culture.

I consider group interaction and teamwork an important part of language learning. Being able to share ideas and to validate them with others are important processes not only in the development of language skills but also in social and mental growth in general. Group interactions give students opportunity to use and to apply the knowledge, what they have got, to new life and/or learning situations. I think that the transfer of this kind really shows what has been learned and internalized and what needs to be explained more thoroughly.

Teaching 'a content course' for me is not about lecturing to students; it is about presenting theories, concepts, and empirical material to the audience in a way that allows them to integrate this information into their own life or research experience. I do not see a rigid dividing line between research and teaching of this kind. Good teacher needs to be at the cutting edge of recent scholarship, in order to help students see the dynamism of the ideas (s)he presents.

Literary criticism is not a collection of facts, but rather, it is an area of research that is never still, always in flux, alive with puzzles, contradictions, and new areas of inquiry. I try to "demystify" the process of research for students, by encouraging them to discover the excitement that can be found in exploring the world of literature.

I would like to think that my positive energy and excitement exhibited while teaching help facilitate student learning within and beyond the classroom. I believe my presence in the classroom exudes my passion for what I am doing. It pleases me to see that I have a deep positive impact upon my students by presenting them my language, culture and ideas.

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