Since beginning graduate studies, my philosophy for teaching has evolved tremendously. I used to believe that a good teacher was one who explained things well. Now I know that a good teacher does far more than explain - they stimulate their students to learn. My philosophy for teaching is simple. Student learning comes first. The methods I use, and the environment I build in my classes and workshops, are based entirely on those that I feel would be most conducive to student learning - no matter how unorthodox! I believe that the way we teach must be catered to the students we have, and that if students fail to learn the concepts and information we impart, it is a far greater failure for us as teachers than for them as students.
In general, students learn most effectively by integrating new information into their own body of knowledge. It's an extremely personal process, with each student learning the same things differently, based on their personal experiences and interests. I believe that active strategies, which allow students to discuss, debate, question, articulate, and resolve information is the most effective way to stimulate the retention of material over long periods of time, because this gives the material a forum to be anchored in personal experience.
Finally, I believe that the most effective teacher is a willing student, who is able to adapt to new responsibilities, accept feedback, and improve their methods. I try to solicit feedback from my students as regularly as possible to ensure that I am teaching in a way they find accessible, and I try to be open to new methods, new science, and new ideas in teaching.
Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) - Training Fellow (McGill University) This is a great resource for new teaching assistants, with many different modules available that are catered to different duties as TAs. I was involved with developing the Teaching and Learning in Science Labs workshop.
Tomlinson Project (T-PULSE) Fellow (McGill University) The mission of T-PULSE is to promote and facilitate effective teaching in University-level sciences courses. T-PULSE is actively engaged in the teaching literature, and tries to implement the best and most effective teaching strategies into university classrooms. T-PULSE also holds bi-annual workshops for graduate students, aimed to prepare them for their roles as teachers. I was a T-PULSE fellow for four years , and in this time, I developed and facilitated modules on Cognitive Science (teaching to maximize cognitive capabilities of the brain), and Active Strategies (strategies that can be used to promote active learning). I also created another workshop that is geared specifically towards helping graduate students improve their ability to present in a teaching environment through hands-on practice and feedback.
Ecol 4540/6540 - Behavioral Ecology (University of Georgia, Odum School of Ecology)