Once you have learned how to ask questions - relevant and appropriate and substantial questions -
you have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or need to know.

Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner
(Teaching as a Subversive Activity, 1969, p. 23)


Philosophy

At the core of my teaching philosophy lies the belief that learning should be centered around teaching students to ask and answer meaningful questions.  The following five things are key to creating these types of students.
  • In order for students to effectively learn, the instructor must facilitate an inviting classroom climate.
  • Successful active learning involves making new knowledge relevant to the students and incorporating intellectual, physical, and emotional components.
  • Addressing student misconceptions is essential to provide a productive learning experience.
  • Developing mastery over a concept requires acquisition, integration, and application of component skills.
  • Learning should not just provide knowledge to pass the next test, but engender skills for how to live life.


Teaching on the College Level

Archaeology Instruction at the University of York
Seminar Leader for Accessing Archaeology and marker for Prehistory to the Present.  These are both introductory courses for all of the first year students in archaeology.  I also have guest lectured and led seminars for undergraduate and masters level courses for the courses in bioarchaeology and archaeological science.

Biology Instruction at Penn State
Instructor for BIOL 240W Biology: Function and Development of Organisms. I taught the animal portion of the course where we covered basic animal form, function, reproduction, and development through lecture, homework, and in-class activities which allowed students to discuss graphs from publications, ethical issues surrounding biological developments, and other interesting and relevant issues.

TA coordinator for the laboratories for BIOL 110 Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity and BIOL 240W Biology: Function and Development of Organisms. I ran weekly TA meetings to prepare the TAs for teaching. I observed TAs as they were teaching and met with each individually to discuss teaching practices, address any concerns in the classroom, and help them create individual teaching goals.
 
 
 
 

Instructor for BIOL 598A/B Experiential Teaching in Biology. I co-taught with experienced college educators to teach an introduction to teaching for graduate students in the Life Sciences in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015.  We covered issues including teaching practices, presentation skills, personal deportment, classroom management, and the theory behind how students learn through lecture, large and small discussions, readings, classroom observations, homework assignments, and a practice teaching experience.

TA for the laboratories for BIOL 110 Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity and BIOL 230W Biology: Molecules and Cells.  I taught laboratory sections for 25 students.  The laboratories included teaching students basic biology lab skills, teaching technical writing skills, supporting students in learning about science, and grading homework and reports.  Every lab I taught also included 3-5 minutes about a current and interesting topic in biology to show students the breath of topics that are relevant to the skill set they are learning.

Laboratory Manual Development for BIOL 110 Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity, BIOL 220W Biology: Populations and Communities, BIOL 230W Biology: Molecules and Cells, and BIOL 240W Biology: Function and Development of Organisms.  Working with the lab instructors and coordinators, I created a consistently formatted manual for students brief readings and related pre-lab questions to improve student preparation for the labs.  In addition, I added a series of scientific papers that the students will read and analyze along with a number of popular science articles for the student to read so that students are more aware of the current scientific discoveries.


Foundation Year Instructor at Bradford University (UK)
TA for a biology and chemistry foundation year laboratory.  I observed students completing labs and made sure they obeyed health and safety regulations.  I discussed the core concepts of the lab with students while circulating around the lab.

Presentation Adviser at the University of Pennsylvania
Presentation Adviser for the Communication within the Curriculum (CWiC) program.  I worked with classes from very different disciplines including science, business, and education.  During the course I gave a brief lecture on presentation skills and then met with students individually before they gave their presentations for a grade.  Sometimes, I attended courses during the student presentations and discussed the presentations with the professor.  For other courses I simply gave a brief lecture on presentation skills.  I gave presentations on visual design of scientific data.  In addition, I taught and advised new presentation advisers.

Teaching on the High School Level

Private Tutor
I continue to work as a private tutor for high school students who are struggling in school.  I work one on one with students weekly or multiple times a week to improve small and large issues including study skills, turning in work, understanding how to learn, attention span, test taking skills and subject matter.  I tutor through Wyzant.com.

Teaching support classes to high school students
On an as needed basis I have worked with small groups of high school students to provide support directly through public and charter schools or through extra-curricular programs.  I have taught test taking skills, biology, chemistry, algebra, and geometry.