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Philosophy of Teaching Counselor Education and Supervision Jen Gerlach, M.Ed.

While I am in my infancy of my career in Counselor Education and Supervision, my knowledge, vision, and goals of teaching have been evolving since I knew I wanted to become a professor. I learn best when the teacher or professor creates a safe environment where there is no fear of inquiry or exploration. An engaging and multifaceted approach to teaching is what keeps me engrossed in the material. A professor who is energetic and fosters genuine relationships with his or her students is what propels me forward during challenging times. Not only is fostering relationships the crux of Counselor Education, but it is also my personal and professional philosophy. It is my hope and desire to cultivate collaborative and symbiotic relationships with all students where they teach me as much as I teach them. This mutuality and reciprocity between student and professor is where my passion for teaching is derived. My philosophy is based on experiential and explorative approaches in which students develop a strong counseling skill set that will help them become professional counselors. This growth does not stop at graduation. I want to empower these novice counselors to become strong leaders in the community who advocate for the profession. In order to facilitate this vision, I rely on various pedagogical styles and employ a variety of methods. The following methods used to employ student learning include, but are not limited to: lecture, class discussion, small group discussion, role plays, and lab experiences. In addition, case studies and case conceptualization are used to help students generalize skills and concepts to the profession of counseling. As a counselor educator, assignments are designed to promote thinking critically and analytically. Current research and literature as well as seminal works are studied throughout all courses as the counseling profession is constantly evolving. My own personal style of humor, media/pop culture references, and technology are woven into instruction to maximize content and skill retention as well as make the topics relatable and fun. Counselor education, like many other disciplines, is in an age of accountability where assessment and evaluation are imperative to measure student learning outcomes (SLOs). A variety of methods are utilized to assess acquisition of counseling competencies and SLOs. Objective measures such as tests and quizzes are used to evaluate acquisition of content. Papers, presentations, and case conceptualizations evaluate students ability to generalize theory and concepts to real-life clients and the counseling profession. Self-reflections and self-evaluations are written by students to assist them in gaining an introspective view in to their counseling skills. Multicultural awareness and diversity are ubiquitous themes that are addressed in all courses taught. This awareness and skill development start with how I model that for my students. First and foremost, I create a respectful and inclusive environment that is safe for all. A nurturing and empathic style is used when beginning these conversations with students. Developing ones own multicultural identity helps enhance his or her awareness of others identities and stories. I have been fortunate enough to have been a tourist in Europe, volunteered in Sweden, and work in a multitude of settings with diverse populations. I pull from own my experiences as well as from the experiences of my students to address these themes. Activities and exercises are employed to

explore each students own racial, ethnic, and gender identity. This creates a foundation for them to explore and understand the identities of others. I hope this statement communicates my passion for education and teaching. I am so blessed to work in a profession that allows me to have reciprocal relationships with my students and learn from them. It is truly a privilege to be a counselor educator.