Teaching

Teaching Philosophy

I regard my teaching as a process of exploration and as an attempt to confirm the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh when he asks Piglet in the Tao of Pooh "‘But isn’t the Knowledge that comes from experience more valuable than the knowledge that doesn’t?’ It seems fairly obvious to some of us that a lot of scholars need to go outside and sniff around-walk through the grass, talk to the animals, that sort of thing” (Hoff, 1982, p. 29). I have spent a number of years trying to heed Pooh’s advice to engage in experiential forms of knowledge acquisition through reading, writing, researching, serving on boards of professional associations, teaching, learning, and guiding wilderness trips. I have begun to form a conclusion that Pooh was right, in part. The learning that comes from experience is valuable. But education and learning do not always result from experience alone. John Dewey (1938) argues that the ultimate goal of education is to create an experiential continuum where the process of education, that is how a student learns, and the content of education receive equal footing. Learning combines books, lectures, reading, writing, and experience as components of the learning process. Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning model begins with concrete experience but includes observation and reflection, the formation of concepts, and the application of these concepts. These beliefs lie at the heart of experiential education theory and my teaching praxis.

MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY AND PRAXIS FOCUS ON FOUR KEY AREAS:

  1. My commitment to student-centred pedagogy;
  2. teaching toward the various and multiple learning styles of the learners in the classroom;
  3. connecting theory with purposeful praxis;
  4. and encouraging students to consider the role they play as agents of social and environmental change in the world.

I intentionally engage students (by invitation and with their permission) to explore a counter-hegemonic teaching and learning praxis that attempts to put into practice Freire’s (1970) liberatory pedagogy (e.g. engaging students in hegemony treasure hunts that encourage them to explore the ways in which hegemony influences curriculum). I attempt to develop students’ critical thinking skills and encourage them to consider the ways in which pedagogy can be a praxis of resistance against the more "traditional” banking model of education whereby students exist as open repositories to whatever knowledge the educator deposits on any given day (Freire). As a result, I believe that I encourage students to explore the potential for post-secondary learning to be engaging, liberating, intellectually rigorous, and focused on both educational theory and practice.

I impel students (and myself) to "live with/in” and explore the world that is while working toward a vision for a just world that ought to be or could be through transformative engagements.

Teaching Awards

  • Recipient of the 2014  Brock University Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
  • President, Association for Experiential Education, 2011-Present
  • Recipient of the 2010 Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Recipient of the 2009 Brock University Award for Excellence in Teaching for Early Career Faculty
  • Association for Experiential Education Experiential Teacher of the Year Award 2008
  • Outstanding Woman Scholar, UW-Madison, 1990

More

If you would like more detailed information about my teaching activities, including talks and lectures I've been invited to give, please view my full CV.

To view descriptions of courses I currently teach, select a title below: