Having been a teacher in all three broad educational levels in our society – elementary, secondary, and post-secondary – my teaching practice is informed by a variety of experiences. At the post-secondary level, I have taught courses as an adjunct instructor at five different institutions, both in Canada and in the USA. Additionally, I have taught as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at a further two universities. With advanced degrees in both geography and education, as well as graduate coursework in a variety of other disciplines, I am able to teach a variety of college and university courses. A list of the courses I have taught to date appears in the right margin of this page.
As a higher education instructor, I have had the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds, including students at prestigious private universities and disadvantaged first-generation students at community colleges. In every situation, I strive to create and sustain a student-centered learning environment that supports the learning styles and needs of all participants.
My Philosophy of Teaching
I believe the goal of education is to help students realize their deep connection to and responsibility for not only their own individual experience, but also for other human beings who share this world. The ultimate purpose of education is to help students and their teachers create meaning in their lives. As a teacher, I believe I should challenge the taken for granted, the given, and the restricted in order for my students to seriously contemplate who we are as individuals and as members of a culture and society.
I am committed to the positive potential of my students and indeed have respect for them as persons, as I believe nothing is more fundamental to teaching than mutual respect. Respect for students as persons entails prizing them as unique and as having certain capacities and potentials which warrant appreciation and development. If each teacher takes his of her vocation as a calling, which is how I interpret my own experience, then each student will be viewed as intrinsically special, indeed, as sacred.
I strive to encourage each student’s full participation in the cognitive process. I believe that all sides of an issue and everyone’s opinions have a right to be heard, and thus to model this in my classroom I am intentional about encouraging and taking seriously each student’s contribution. In discussions, as well as on student papers, it is of utmost importance to respect all comments and points of view. As the instructor, I work to constantly connect all students’ comments to the issue at hand as well as with broader issues. I try to involve as many persons as possible in the conversation, to frame my own contributions in the form of questions rather than conclusions, to cultivate a kind of community or team spirit in which everyone works with each other in the development of the topic. One way that I fulfill this basic aim is by providing opportunities for as much group work as possible. Group discussions and reports, as well as group exams, are all possible means to this end.
Placing students in the center of the teaching-learning environment is an important aspect of my approach to teaching. I enjoy designing simulations to highlight important information and processes, creating games to explain content, and using small-group activities to engage students. I want my students to grasp concepts, and be in active roles that help them do that.
As a post-secondary teacher, I see my role as one of enabling others to become their best. I have come to realize that it is not so much what students know as what they can do. Likewise, teaching is not about what I know but what I enable others to do. Thus, my teaching is aimed at building students’ capacities. To assess these capacities and provide feedback, the critical question is: “How can students show their understanding?” Finding ways to allow such student demonstrations influences my choice of course activities and assessments.
In my classroom I place a very high value on discussion, which includes both talking, listening, and writing of various kinds. I believe students learn to think in and through language, both written and spoken, and must be given ample opportunity to do so. For me as the teacher, I aim to talk less and for my students to talk more. This does not mean that every minute must be filled with students talking, as it is also true that deep and clear thought often needs silence in which to ferment.
I would be leaving out an important component of my teaching if I did not mention enjoyment as one of my overarching goals of my approach to the classroom. True learning ought to be enjoyable, not simply because of results attained, but because the process itself is stimulating and enriching. One sign of enjoyment is the natural and frequent occurrence of shared, non-aggressive humour. Not only does humour provide a kind of warmth and social lubrication to the educative process, but students need to know the human side of their teacher. Effective teachers are comfortable with both the cognitive and affective dimensions of teaching. Achieving more genuine relationships means being available to students, being glad to be in class with them, and sharing with them what’s happening in our lives when it is relevant.
To conclude, I will emphasize that my aim is to create an atmosphere which causes students to look forward to the class, to feel respected and needed in the pursuit of knowledge, and to respect and rely upon each other in these endeavours.
Faculty of Education
ED 6823 – Principles of Programme Design & Development
ED 4390 – Diversity & Social Justice in Teaching & Learning
ED 2803 – Educational Aspects of Adult Development
ED 3730 – Curriculum & Instructional Development in Post-Secondary Education
ED 4710 – Recurring Issues in Post-Secondary Education
ED 3962 – Social Studies in the Primary/ Elementary School
LDS 2301 – Vocation Specific Leadership
LDS 1301 – Intro. to Leadership Theories
CCS 2301 – Leadership for Social Change
GEOG 1303 – Regional World Geography
GEOG 1300 – Principles of Geography
GEOG 1302 – Cultural Geography
School of Business
COSC 1702 – Computer Applications
STAS 2606 – Business Statistics