The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.Albert Einstein
My primary intention as a teacher is to create a learning environment in which my students and I can learn together, can understand and critically reflect on threshold concepts in public health. I strive to evoke passion and nuance in my students’ thinking and to promote the integration of concepts and perspective from multiple disciplines. Given the ready availability of information, it is no longer sufficient for students simply to memorize concepts and definitions. The contemporary challenge for both teachers and students involves conceptual exploration and innovations that bring together ideas from multiple disciplines to deepen our understanding of the world, appreciating both complexity and ambiguity. As a teacher I attempt to collaborate with students in creating the best learning environment.
To accomplish my teaching and learning outcomes I combine technological innovation, inspiring in-class interactive learning and problem based learning. Technological innovations in my courses include podcasting lectures, online forums and mobile availability of course material. Technology, however, cannot be a substitute for human interaction. My class presentations encourage interactions and critical reflection with and among students, providing conceptual brainteasers for students’ reflection to conclude each class. Students need to recognize that universities are integral community members. Through problem based learning opportunities, students are challenged to engage their knowledge and understanding through reflective practice. Problem based learning allows students to explore and learn firsthand the principles of public health, theory and methods.
To assess progress toward my teaching and learning outcomes I draw on students’ evaluations, fellow teachers’ peer evaluations, and my students’ accomplishments in major scholarship competitions. These assessment strategies encourage continuous development of my teaching based on students’ learning. A reflexive approach to teaching and learning demands that I remain self-critical and adapt to meeting the changing needs, competencies, and hopes of my students, the fundamental purpose of my teaching practices.
Teaching and learning create remarkable moments in our human experience. From watching the joy of a child ride a bike for the first time to that “aha” moment when a student finally “gets” a challenging concept, such learning moments imprint themselves in our memory. For me, teaching involves that wonder. The hard work of remote and immediate preparation in teaching is transformed into the joy of these indelible learning moments. Although these moments are rare, they are transforming. I am motivated and strive to create such opportunities in each of my courses so that students can experience and prove to themselves they are more and can become more than they have previously believed.