Since 2012 I have been teaching Geography 2090: Space Exploration in the Department of Geography at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.
My teaching philosophy is centered around critical engagement and personalization of the material to the learner. I balance conventional lectures with active learning when in the classroom. In online teaching, my focus is on student-paced learning of material delivered around a narrative core (i.e. using story telling to teach).
Increasingly, I am focused on having students relate material and concepts in space exploration to their own lives and perspectives. I thoroughly enjoy crafting assignments that allow students to explore and communicate their own opinions on the past, present, and future of space exploration.
Because space exploration is a niche field, my course also focuses on teaching students, many of whom will not be going into the space sector, effective research and writing skills. While centered around space exploration, the course has been built to advance a student’s research skills by requiring academic research and writing skills reflective of a second year course. As an instructor in the age of social media and pop-science communication, I am committed to teaching students the value of in-depth research skills and writing based on verifiable background information (as well as things like proper image referencing and discerning source credability).
Form a personal perspective, my teaching philosophy is driven by compassion. I strive to be the instructor I needed when I was 21 and dealing with my own mental health issues. I am personable and purposely disregard conventional notions of hierarchy and prestige in place of mutual respect between teacher and learner. The central tenet of my engagement with student needs and requests is that I would rather be played a fool then deny someone the compassion they deserve.
Ultimately, my objective is to create a learning environment, in person or online, in which students feel safe truly pushing and testing themselves to their intellectual limits while ensuring that their mental and physical health is never negatively impacted by my course.
Finally, I am thoroughly committed to transparency and personality in teaching. I am myself in the classroom and in online lectures. I am only a good instructor when I am being myself, with all my flaws and skills honestly portrayed for students.
In alignment with my commitment to transparency, below are all the reaching evaluation responses, good and bad, that I have received over the past two years.