Teaching context and philosophy
I have a passion and love for industry and career-relevant teaching. I believe students learn best when there is an active classroom in a collaborative setting with teammates and an educator facilitating their learning and driving them forward with challenging tasks that might represent their future work roles. I love teaching geoscience because one of the challenges for my students is that the data only covers part of the picture and they need to use forensic-like detective skills to piece together the puzzle and make decisions based on this evidence.
Training these skills requires a careful scaffolding of knowledge – students must be acquainted with the key concepts and science related to a problem – and then demonstrate that knowledge in a concrete way so I can give them feedback and correct misunderstandings. Passing this prerequisite knowledge enables all students to contribute actively to the team environment when challenged with more difficult tasks. This structure leads to a natural way to align activities and assessments. In designing my courses, I start by asking “what kinds of problems do I want the students to be able to accomplish at the end of this course?” Usually, this is done with reference to problems that might be asked of them in their future careers. Then I work out what basic concepts, formulas and knowledge need to be familiar to the students for working on the problem.
My most amazing moments teaching are when the class is abuzz with students discussing and working through problems, collaborating and sharing knowledge. I love it when students ‘get it’ for themselves and share their creative responses to questions that I can learn from.