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Renoir Reading girls.jpg

Philosophy of Education

Renoir’s “The Reading” illustrates my teaching style and philosophy. Both people appear quite engaged and thoughtful. In fact it is difficult to tell which girl is the teacher, except the dark-haired girl’s arm around the blonde’s indicates a supportive role. Like this girl, I prefer a shoulder-to- shoulder teaching posture to a traditional behind-the- lectern pose.

This scene doesn’t look like a formal education setting at all, yet I presume the book was selected to extend the student’s knowledge and enrich her understanding. I like to imagine they are taking time to ponder because the teacher has just asked a question, partly to assess the student’s skills and partly to weigh the possible answers herself. The teacher has created a learning environment in which the student is equipped to synthesize information into new ideas and develop applications.

Blissful as this scene appears, I know the teacher has devoted much time and effort to make it so. While there is an art to teaching, there is also a science. My interest in theories of learning began in graduate school when I realized that teaching adults is not simply teaching grown-up children. My teaching experience and scholarship has, thus far, resulted in a few core values:

  1. Create an Environment of Respect and Engagement

  2. Know the Student’s Perspective and Goals

  3. Extend and Enrich the Student’s Knowledge

I find each of these values symbolized in the painting by Renoir. Evidence of them in my teaching is found in various lessons and assessments. I’ve grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from my own teachers, mentors, colleagues, and students. 

-updated July 2016

Publications in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Ekmekci, O., Hancock, A.B., Swayze, S. (2012). Teaching research methods to graduate students: Lessons learned from three different degree programs. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 24(2), 272-279.

Hancock, A.B. & Brundage, S.B. (2010). A rubric for formative assessment of students in communication science and disorders programs. Journal of Allied Health.  Editor's Award for Journal of Allied Health

Hancock, Stone, Brundage, & Zeigler (2009). Public speaking attitudes: Does curriculum make a difference? Journal of Voice, 24(3), 302-307.

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