Depts. of Physiology & Pharmacology
Anatomy & Cell Biology
My teaching philosophy has changed over the years but one thing remains the same: I view teaching as a priviledge.
As a child, I was told that if I found a job that I loved, I would not work a day in my life. I am happy to say that I have not worked a day since I began my career at Western. Interaction, collaboration, innovation, and inspiration drive my teaching. I strive to include the student perspective in all my teaching by facilitating student interaction, developing authentic collaborative learning experiences, and seeking continual innovation in my own teaching practice to inspire my students.
Teaching is a conversation, not a monologue. In traditional lecture-style courses, I embed peer interaction to facilitate this conversation. I use real-life stories and encourage students to collaborate with their neighbour. I then bring my students back together and ask a student or two to share their insights. I find that this technique re-energizes the class promotes a collaborative community, and promotes interaction of students with one another.
Student interaction is so critical to my teaching, that all of the courses that I have designed (Medical Sciences 4200, 3900, and 4300), have a blended and flipped model to facilitate synergy. Students in these courses complete interactive online learning modules before class; class time is then used for discussion, application, and problem-solving. This model allows students to be active contributors in class, rather than simply consumers. Both my students and I benefit from this approach, as I am continually inspired by my students.
When students are able to share their experiences, they grow. As such, I feel it is crucial to provide authentic learning environments to students. In my courses, I have embedded authentic tasks, assignments, and evaluations. In Medical Sciences 4300, students work in a team with a community partner to develop resources to aid in scientific and health literacy. In Medical Sciences 3900, students perform online laboratory decision trees (LaboraTREEs), to help them understand the theory of an experiment. In the wet lab, they are able to spend time executing the experiment, as they know the purpose behind the steps of the protocol. By empowering our students with authentic and collaborative learning, we can best prepare them for their futures.
I am a life-long student; I joke that I am in grade 28. There are two primary ways that I seek to innovate my teaching practice: the first is from consulting with colleagues, and the second is from working on my Master’s of Educational Technology (MET) through the University of British Columbia (UBC). I am very lucky to be surrounded by innovative and inspiring educators. If I am trying a new approach or have a student-related question, I know that sage advice is nearby. Pursuing my M.Ed. is challenging, but rewarding. It has helped my development by rooting me in pedagogical literature, inspired me to try novel teaching approaches; but most importantly, it has allowed me to find my own student voice. By being a student again, I am better able to relate to and support my own students in their studies.