My students and I are a community of mutual learners; we challenge and motivate each other. We are fascinated by the natural world, we value and desire knowledge, and we have academic goals which we are committed to meeting. I am humbled by the privilege of playing a leadership role in this community, and am dedicated to supporting student learning to the best of my ability.
Students deserve rigorous, evidence-based learning-opportunities to support the development of core disciplinary skills, and the acquisition of a strong foundation of biological knowledge. More broadly, they deserve a scholarly culture that centers the undergraduate experience and supports their development as critical thinkers and independent learners.
I have a deep respect for my students as mature, motivated and capable learners. Challenging and empowering students to embrace their role as leaders in their own learning is critical to engagement. Students must be given opportunities to discover and question evidence, to think critically and independently, and to build confidence in their own abilities. They must learn how to communicate their knowledge effectively. Learning is enhanced when students make meaningful connections with subject material and feel confident in their ability to succeed. Regular, formative feedback is essential to building knowledge, skills and confidence.
Students want to learn, and their interest is magnified when they understand the value in what they are doing, and how it relates to their learning. Consistent and clearly defined learning outcomes are fundamental to teaching and learning. All aspects of a course, including activities and assessments, must support these outcomes. It is also important that these learning outcomes are informed by and integrated into a wider context, including course-associated labs and past and future courses. Students are empowered when they can connect what they are doing each day in class to their development as independent learners, forging a path to achieving their academic and career aspirations.
Learning should be inclusive. I am increasingly aware of the disparity between students. I recognize the incredible challenges some face every day, which create barriers for their learning and success. I am motivated to learn more about universal design, and incorporate flexible and varied practices into my classes to better support all learners. I must continue to improve my awareness of the diversity of students that I teach, and be reflective and reflexive in responding to their learning needs.
To be an effective teacher I must embrace opportunities to engage in pedagogical development, reflect regularly on the quality of my students’ experiences, and continuously seek to improve learning outcomes for all students. I bring my enthusiasm for biology and learning into the classroom every day.