Working with students and participating in teaching and learning is a privilege, an honour, and a responsibility of the highest order. It is an opportunity to participate in the personal and educational journeys of students, while bearing witness to the tremendous changes that learners can experience in stimulating, inspiring, engaging, and rigorous educational environments. I believe that teaching is not just about delivering content: it is about facilitating the processes of sense- and meaning-making for students and it is about creating academically-based, yet personally engaging and contextualized educational environments that are both rigorous and meaningful. Given this, I believe classrooms and educational environments should challenge conventional modes of knowing and learning, as well as the boundaries of knowledge, canons, and disciplines. As such, educators need to foster independence, collaborative work, and community responsibility, and to encourage students to ask the interesting and provocative questions, not simply the questions deemed to be ‘right’ or ‘appropriate’.
While in my current position I no longer teach, I always approached my teaching with great passion, enthusiasm, and heart, as well as dedication to my students and to the transformative opportunities inherent in higher education learning environments and community-engaged teaching. My teaching approach was situated at the intersection of transformative learning, critical pedagogy, Freirian dialogue and conscientization, decolonizing, integrative, and intercultural methodologies, experiential learning, enquiry- and case-based methods, and learning theory. I employed multiple strategies and approaches in my classrooms, all of which display my commitment to fostering engaging, challenging, active, and collaborative learning environments. As my students attested, my classrooms are active and participatory, and structured to enhance and expand the learning experience of the students. I always strove to create flexible, open, and accessible learning environments that foster intellectual curiosity, critical self-reflection, and learner independence.
I have had the privilege of teaching over 400 undergraduate students through seminar courses, large-lecture classes, and independent study courses at the University of Guelph and Cape Breton University. Through these courses, I aspired to build from learning objectives and multi-disciplinary content, and create educational environments that are dynamic, rigorous, and engaging. I consistently received excellent feedback from students, with many citing my classes as the highlight of their academic careers. I am also an avid, ardent, and active researcher, and I continually incorporate my research projects and skills into my courses in order to expose my students to work at the intersection of theory, practice, and research.
At my heart, I am a community-engaged educator, and my teaching philosophy and approach are intimately informed by my community-based work and research. My pedagogy is also informed by my professional training, work, and research in learning and writing facilitation, academic support and development programming, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). I believe in participatory and emancipatory education, that is premised on decolonizing and intercultural approaches, dialogical methods, and equality between instructor and students. I believe in the sheer power of learning and education, not only to change and transform the lives of students, but also the lives of the educator.
Courses Taught and/or Developed
- Indigenous Perspectives of Health & Healing (Cape Breton University)
- Learning from Knowledge Keepers of Mi’kma’ki (Cape Breton University)
- Canadian Water Network Field Course (Cape Breton University)
- Introduction to International Development (University of Guelph)
- Cool Heads for a Hot Climate: Canada and Climate Change (University of Guelph)
- Rural Extension in Change and Development (University of Guelph)