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Teaching for the Nurse Educators


The belief that teachers ‘teach how they were taught’ is one logical explanation of how educators develop their own teaching philosophies and methodologies. In recognition of the fact that contemporary educators need to reach out to a more diverse group of students, they also need to expand their teaching methods to meet diverse needs of students in an inclusive setting.

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Background Information

It is quite logical to believe that teachers tend to teach the way they were taught especially if they did not receive formal training in teaching (Oleson & Hora, 2012). Social learning theory (Bandura, 1977) suggests that observations of others’ behaviours such as teachers who have had great impact on one’s learning and development, play a role in the process of shaping the individual’s knowledge structures and behaviours. This implies that how a teacher has influenced a student will determine how that student will also influence others he or she might teach.

Analysis of How Educators Can Manage Differential Learning

Merely relying on what an educator has been exposed to as a student does not give due credit to the educator’s own skill set and ‘craft knowledge’ or the knowledge, skills and abilities an educator has gained over the years of practice that enable him or her to teach well (Sciame-Giesecke, Roden & Parkison, 2009). Oleson & Hora (2012) identified four types of previous experiences of educators that help in enhancing their teaching capabilities. These are: “experience as an instructor, as a student or learner, as a person outside of their academic roles, and as researchers” (p. 16). Each role that the educator has played contributes to his or her overall performance in the classroom or whatever educational setting that calls on his or her expertise.

A culturally sensitive learning environment acknowledges and values various perspectives coming from people of different “race, ethnicity, culture, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation and physical abilities and disabilities” (Morey & Kitano in Krishnamurthi, 2003, p. 263). This entails a corresponding adjustment in the teaching of educators. Consistent with developing competency 8 (Function within the Educational Environment) of the National League of Nursing (NLN) Core Competencies (National League of Nursing, 2012) expected of nurse educators, which states:

“Nurse educators are knowledgeable about the educational environment within which they practice and recognize how political, institutional and social and economic forces impact their role” (National League of Nursing, 2012, p. 22),

Nurse educators should be more competent in addressing the learning needs of all students regardless of their learning styles, cultural backgrounds, abilities, etc. It is natural for learners to have their own preferences in learning activities and educators should be attuned to that. Widening one’s scope of teaching strategies to more constructivist activities such as film showing, field trips, group discussions and projects that consider each student’s perspective engages students in the activities and maximizes their learning (Sciame-Giesecke et al., 2009).

Supporting colleagues in maximizing student learning entails constant communication of feedback. Educators should be able to discuss how their teaching strategies are effective or not and share valuable advice to others. Encouraging each other to attend educational conferences or seminar-workshops further enhances competence as nurse educators.

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Although ‘teaching how they were taught’ is logical to explain some educators’ teaching styles, one should keep striving to improve. One should be attuned to student learning styles and preferences and accommodating their learning needs while keeping oneself updated with new trends in educational strategies are effective ways to gain competence 8 of the National League of Nursing (NLN) Core Competencies.


Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc

Krishnamurthi, M. (2003) Assessing Multicultural Initiatives in Higher Education Institutions. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28 (3), 263-277.

Marchesani, L. S. & Adams, M. (1992) Dynamics of diversity in the teaching-learning process: a faculty development model for analysis and action, in: R. J. Menges &

M. D. Svinicki (Eds) Promoting diversity in the college classrooms: innovative responses for the curriculum, faculty and institutions, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 52, pp. 11–19.

Morey, A. I. & Kitano, M. (1997) Multicultural Course Transformation in Higher Education—A Broader Truth.Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

National League for Nursing. (2012). The scope of practice for academic nurse educators. New York, NY: National League for Nursing.

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Oleson, A. & Hora, M.T. (2012) Teaching the Way They Were Taught? Revisiting the Sources of Teaching Knowledge and the Role of Prior Experience in Shaping

Faculty Teaching Practices, Web.

Sciame-Giesecke, S., Roden, D., & Parkison, K. (2009). Infusing diversity into the curriculum: What are faculty members actually doing?. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 2(3), 156-165.

Suwannarat, P. & Mumi, A. (2012) Examining The Effects Of Cultural Diversity On Team Performance And IJV Performance ,International Journal Of Business Strategy, 12 (3).

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