MUIC is currently planning a curriculum redesign project and the Learning Innovation Hub (LIH) are helping to facilitate the planning process. We asked MUIC staff to write out their individual teaching philosophies. I invited Dr. Can Yalcinkaya, Diploma Senior Teacher, to share his teaching philosophy.
Lilia: Can, you mentioned at our last session that your philosophy of teaching is inspired by Punk Rock. Can you elaborate?
Can: Sure! Punk rock has provided me a framework to think through some of my ideas about learning and teaching. In the 1970s, Punk Rock was notoriously D. I. Y. (Do It Yourself).
An example of this is the influential fanzine, Sniffin’ Glue, a self-published in the UK by Mark Perry from 1976, which became the chronicler and educator of a subculture and movement. A famous section from Sniffin’ Glue provided instructions on how to play guitar and form a band with only three chords. Suddenly, anyone could form a band, and anyone could organise gigs, write and publish fanzines (‘zines) and express themselves in creative ways. They didn’t need permission from higher authorities or gate keepers.
Lilia: I came across the concept of DIY education when I was doing research in doctoral education where a lot of the know-how is gained by searching and researching (mostly online) as there is no coursework to structure the learning for you. In your case it sounds almost revolutionary or rebellious. Can you explain what you mean by DIY education and its value?
Can: In an education context, I believe in helping students gain the punk ethics of DIY. This might sound like I am in support of students undertaking tasks when they do not have enough expertise, or when they are underprepared (e. g. forming a band when you only know how to play three random chords). However, I see in punk rock an opportunity for student-centred teaching and learning. Punk rock is a call for action, rather than asking people to be spectators. It provides a frame of mind in which one is not afraid of making mistakes.
A punk rock teaching philosophy asks students to take responsibility for their learning by being active learners, by “doing” (learning to play the three chords) and participating (forming a band).
Lilia: For more conservative Teaching Philosophy writers, what are the core concepts or pedagogies that you value in DIY education?
Can: I am a strong believer in problem-based learning, where students are presented with an unfamiliar problem or task and they are expected to solve the problem by themselves. Team-based learning and peer learning are also effective approaches for students to learn the punk rock way.
The teacher’s role is to provide guidance and be a critical friend. As a lifelong learner, the teacher is also at times a peer. In a punk rock classroom, teaching and learning should be a dialogue, rather than the teacher being a fountain of all knowledge.
From here, I have started moving towards what I call a “pedagogy of deviation”, which calls for deviating from, or questioning, established ideas in any field/discipline. Essentially, it aims to provide students a space to think critically, challenge authority and become punk rock deviants.
Lilia: What do you think the role of technology is in your idea of DIY education?
Can: Digital and online technologies are certainly an important part of DIY learning, as they are tools which students could use for self-directed learning. They are essential in a flipped classroom approach, which, I believe is also an important aspect of a punk teaching philosophy.
Lilia: The next step is to develop a shared MUIC teaching philosophy to inform the planning of curriculum development, how do you think some of your ideas will be reflected in it?
Can: I think some main concepts that are embedded in my ideas of punk rock teaching and “pedagogy of deviation”, such as student-centred learning and critical thinking are common threads in the teaching philosophies of my colleagues. So, I’m keen to see these ideas reflected in the MUIC teaching philosophy.
Lilia: Thanks for sharing Can!
What about you? Where does your inspiration come from to inform or explain the ways you teach and learn?
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Related post: Do you have a Teaching Philosophy?