Faculty Profiles

Justyna Widera

Associate Professor
Chemistry

Science Building Room 402
516.877.4135
516.877.4485
WIDERA@ADELPHI.EDU

General Information

Diplomas/Degrees

Diplomas/Degrees

Ph.D., University of Warsaw, Poland (2000)

M.S., University of Lodz, Poland (1995)

Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Teaching Philosophy Statement

Each teacher needs to have a personal philosophy of teaching to guide his/her actions and ideas. This is one I have made to guide myself. It is by no means all-encompassing, but it provides a basis for what I feel about education, and what I want my students to feel when they leave my classroom.
Learning is, of course, the main purpose of education. It is the goal of every student and the task of every teacher to increase knowledge and understanding in the classroom. I certainly want my students to learn the fundamental content of the courses I teach, but beyond that, I hope to foster critical thinking, facilitate the acquisition of life-long learning skills, and prepare students to function effectively in an information economy, and develop problem-solving strategies. I feel that the concept of learning should be focused around four main areas. Independent thought is essential to the development of each student. Being able to form unique independent ideas to solve problems will serve them both in and outside of the classroom. Group interaction is also an important part of learning. Being able to share ideas, validate them with those of others, and teamwork are important processes in social and mental development. I would like also to lead my students in the direction they should go to reach correct conclusions and answers, without always providing the answers themselves. Finally, I would like to stress the use of learned ideas and processes in new situations. By using information, students should be able to apply what they have learned to new life or learning situations. Transfer of this sort is what really determines what has been learned.
In order to aid students in reaching their desired learning goals, the teacher must have a clear set of objectives. Here are mine. As a teacher I like to serve a number of purposes. First and foremost, I like to act as guide, pointing students in the direction they should go to find answers and solve problems by providing them with the essential information they need to do so. I believe that a teacher is someone who is passionate about a topic and equally passionate about communicating that topic to others. Effective teaching involves not only being passionate about a subject, but also being able to convey it to students in such a way that they will understand it, but additionally, be able to then think about the subject and apply it in some way to their lives. I love also to act as advisor or facilitator. This is essential, especially in the university setting. Students at this level need input and more assistance in deciding on courses to best reach their personal academic and career goals. I like to serve them as an instructor to help students in making important decisions in these areas. Students also need to feel comfortable approaching their instructor for discussion outside of class. I want to act as their mentor and friend, to help students to make professional contacts, find professors to aid in career plans and use for recommendations, and have an academic source to call upon when stresses of classes begin to be overwhelming. I believe in being fair as a teacher, which to me means being able to understand what students are going through as individuals and as students. It means treating students with an impartial, but not an uncaring attitude. I would like to see my students more often than just in the classroom. As an instructor, I am interested in making education as enjoyable and beneficial as possible for students. By acting in all of these manners, I would like to make student's education to be more complete and enjoyable.
As a teacher, I want also to set specific goals for students. Mastery of information has always been the goal for teachers, and should continue to be one of the essentials. I like to set long term goals for my students to allow them to work towards these goals over time. As a part of this, I think that intellectual development of each student should continue over time, allowing students to use what they are learning later in life. It is also my hope as a teacher that my students will develop an interest in the subject area being taught. Although I am aware that this does not occur in all cases, I think that students should at the very least develop an appreciation for the subject and the material being taught in the classroom.
This leads to an expected question: how does one implement this philosophy? As with anyone involved in education, student or teacher, a personal growth plan should always be included. One never develops socially, intellectually, or academically, without consistently learning new things and striving to further oneself. This requires constant self-development/self-improvement by creating ideas for day-to-day use. This can include classes as a part of a continuing education program and receiving regular input from students. Finally, by continually asking myself, "How do I conduct my classes?" to examine how close I am sticking to my educational goals. I think that teaching should challenge both the teacher and the student. Students should be challenged by the teacher and the course materials. Teachers should be challenged to try to deliver course materials in different ways and from different perspectives. I consistently attempt to improve my teaching style and try new ideas or strategies on regular basis.

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