believe that the most important part of teaching is
helping the process of learning occur. I consider my role as a "guide on
the side" rather than the "sage on the stage". You could even say that I
use biology (and interdisciplinary studies) as the tool to help people learn how
I obtained my PhD so that I would be able to teach at an institution where the
students were there because they wanted to be there, not
required to be there. I find the concept and process of motivation key
to learning and welcome feedback about what motivates us to do what we do.
I obtained my PhD so that I would be able to teach at an institution where the students were there because they wanted to be there, not required to be there. I find the concept and process of motivation key to learning and welcome feedback about what motivates us to do what we do.
I believe the responsibility of learning is shared between the instructor and students and that an enthusiastic, positive environment fosters the gaining of knowledge. Teachers should be clear and concise about the goals and minimum basic requirements of any class. Repetition and enthusiasm are key to effective teaching. Students should be given numerous different opportunities to hear, read, digest and use the information. I set and maintain high standards for my students and myself and strongly believe in the power of positive reinforcement. I strive to use effective teaching methods that include un-graded writing, active hands-on learning, peer and self-evaluation, workshops, research projects, and incorporating computer technology in the classroom. All of these effective methods stress outcomes-based, student-centered learning. I am a constructivist, and prefer to teach as a facilitator of learning rather than a distributor of knowledge.
The most effective learning seems to occur when the student is actively engaged and wholly interested in the material being covered. I think this is best accomplished when they are allowed to choose the topic to be studied. This also helps individualize the class curriculum to fit the diverse needs of the students. Therefore, students develop their abilities to learn on their own by undertaking an individual research projects and presentations on a topic of their choosing. Another integral part of the learning process is engaging the students in self-evaluation and evaluation of their fellow students. This makes them more aware of their own actions, promotes collaboration and helps them gain the ability to learn on their own.
An effective undergraduate education in the natural sciences should allow the students to actively participate in scientific research and must include dissemination of that work through oral and written communication. I am also enthusiastic about integrating classroom experiences with community concerns and interests.