Reflections on ” The Last Lecture” and my teaching philosophy

workout woman


I am reading ” The Last Lecture”  a book written by Randy Pausch, a Computer Scientist  who passed away 2008 from cancer. He was asked to give a lecture as if would be his last, unfortunately when asked he had actually been given just months to live. It is a powerful book about living.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

–Randy Pausch

One thing he talks about in chapter 24 of his book is what should we be as teachers.  Randy speaks about that helping students learn how to learn should not be are only job but rather we should be similar to a personal trainer at the gym.  “We should give our student access to the equipment ( books, research, websites, examples, our expertise) and after that our role is to be demanding. We need to make sure that our students are exerting themselves.  We need to praise them when they deserve it and tell them honestly when they have it in them to work harder.”

This view is something that I believe in. I want my students to be independent thinkers and problem solvers.  I am thrilled to head you in the right direction and will work alongside you to research best practices and how to apply them to a particular case but I won’t be the person doing the work. It may seem hard at first but I want to make the you feel capable. Recently

Recently a student expressed that she was reluctant to ask a question as she felt her grade would go down. This could not be further from the truth. Questions show that you are thinking and processing information. You are intellectually curious and want to learn more. At no time do I think that a question is wrong. I would never decrease a person’s grade because they asked me a question. I ask questions from my fellow supervisors, my bosses and my colleagues. No one has all the answers.

Think about a child learning to walk. If you always hold the child’s hand the child will not learn to walk on their own. The child needs to fall and then get back up to learn the process. 

I  won’t let you fall so bad that you can’t get back up but I will encourage you and support you to be independent.

child walking

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76 comments on “Reflections on ” The Last Lecture” and my teaching philosophy
  1. Read – I enjoyed both the passage from his book and the description of your teaching style. I really, really appreciate the idea of letting us fall a little to become independent, without letting us fall so much that we can’t get back up and recover from it.

  2. I am often afraid to ask too many questions and I usually have many that I keep to myself. It is reassuring to know that I can ask them and you will provide feedback without harsh judgement. I agree we have to be independent and learn from our mistakes and do the work, otherwise we will not be competent clinicians when we are out in the real-world.

    • I want you to ask questions because it will help me know what support to give you. You may not be the only person that has that questions. Many of the supports and blogs have come from those questions that have been asked so I very much appreciate them.

  3. I think this philosophy is critical in ensuring that we become self-sufficient speech-language pathologists. Thanks for the explicitly stated expectations!

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