I had an English composition instructor who had the following writing philosophy: "One should break free from conventions and discover his or her own writing voice." I have a very similar teaching philosophy: "One should break from traditional learning methods, experiment with various techniques, and find and tailor those that best suit his or her cognitive capability and learning style." I consistently employ this philosophy in sessions with my clients; in fact, my responsibility as a teacher is to help students accomplish this mission (by making them think; quite a concept, huh?). I do so by probing their minds and asking them their thoughts on the problems at hand (i.e., I ask them what procedures they would use to solve them); this enables assumption of the instructor’s role. I provide necessary assistance along the way; this prevents me from doing all the speaking. This, moreover, fosters thoughts of alternative avenues to reach the same destination. Additionally, although I greatly encourage questions, I get clients to think about the methods used to solve the problems and their justifications; this averts succumbing to mere memorization and regurgitation. Furthermore, I highly emphasize students' interpretations of the results using their own words. This enables them to think about what the results mean rather than merely accept the results on blind faith or simply spit back my words. Most importantly, I encourage students to focus on the steps employed to arrive at the end results. This provokes greater thought and thus makes for greater learning and a more productive session (and even enjoyable).
In short, my expectations are simple: think, participate, and learn. Students who heed them generally achieve high final course marks. However, students must understand this: while I do not cheapen the subject material, I do my very best to make learning it possible with minimal pain. I want my students to accomplish their goals and am more than happy to aid in doing so; however, I avoid making it too easy. I expect students to do their part and work hard; as an instructor, I am expected to do likewise. Not only are tremendous benefits from the lessons realized, but great levels of teacher-student understanding and respect are attained.