Philosophy of Teaching
Students enroll in Berks Technical Institute, in our programs of study, in order to develop knowledge, skills and competencies that will prepare them for their careers of choice. As an institution of higher education, we have purposefully selected the programs of study that we teach. We have been deliberate in the particular segment of the student population that we have elected to serve.
We believe that all students that enroll in BTI have the capacity to learn. We recognize that students have diverse preferences in terms of how they prefer to engage with content, peer students and instructors. Our students represent great diversity in terms of prior educational experience, prior experience utilizing technology to communicate and learn, and in confidence in their ability to learn. We believe that it is the instructor's responsibility to develop a relationship with each student and to assist each individual in accordance with his/her own learning needs.
We believe that collectively, the students and the instructor, within a classroom, form a learning community. Respect for others within the learning community is essential to the learning process. We believe that each individual brings to the classroom, the sum total of experiences that he/she has had up to that moment. These experiences inform the student perspective. The diversity of perspective within a classroom contributes to the richness of the learning environment.
The instructors who have been engaged to teach our students have been hired as a result of their subject matter expertise and their ability to facilitate development of career-related competencies. We believe that our instructors genuinely care about and respect our students and that they desire to treat each student as an individual.
Instruction—the facilitation of learning—is the centerpiece of the career preparation provided by BTI. We know – and research validates – that meaningful interaction between instructor and student is the single most important factor contributing to the student learning experience.
We believe that excellent instruction is characterized by frequent student-faculty interaction. This contact, whether face-to-face or virtual, within the confines of a class, or outside of scheduled class meeting times, is key to student engagement. Research has proven that the single most important factor in a student's persistence is interaction with his/her instructor.
We believe that excellent instruction facilitates interaction among students. Optimally, learning is a collaborative process. The richness of the learning experience is dependent upon the creation of a safe learning environment that encourages students to work together and to share their personal perspectives. When a student is encouraged to share his or her perspective, he/she is acknowledged. When an individual’s point of view is challenged, an opportunity is presented to strengthen one’s opinion by defending it. Concurrently, an opportunity is presented for students to question one’s personal point of view and, as a result, to develop a broader, enlightened perspective.
We believe that excellent instruction is characterized by instructional methods that actively engage students in the learning process. Students do not learn by passive listening or memorization. Active learning requires that students engage in meaningful learning activities and that they engage in reflection about what they are learning. It is necessary to engage with the content in a variety of ways and to integrate new concepts with existing knowledge and experience.
We believe that excellent instruction involves responsiveness and provision of prompt feedback. Instructors who make themselves available to students – virtually or in person – are demonstrating that they care about the student.
Excellent instruction is characterized by frequent assessment. Students need assistance from their instructors to gauge how well they have mastered the content. We believe that learning can be described as a continuous cycle of engagement in educational activity, reflection upon the results of that learning activity and collaborative analysis between the instructor and the student. One of the most important responsibilities of the instructor is to teach students how to engage in critical reflection, allowing the student to become a more successful and confident learner.
We believe that post-secondary education is a process that affords our students the opportunity to learn how to learn. All individuals learn at different rates, in different ways, depending upon their previous experience, aptitude, learning style preferences and motivation. Within BTI, the instructor is responsible for nurturing student ownership of the learning process. We want our students to accept responsibility for their own learning so that they will be prepared to participate in lifelong learning long after they complete their program of study.