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Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy continues to evolve with additional teaching and practical experience, but my primary emphasis in teaching is on: 1) effective communication, 2) critical thinking, and 3) interactive learning. 

First, a focus on improving written and oral communication skills is paramount in any course that I teach.  No matter what field, the ability to present ideas clearly, and to express well-formulated arguments, is imperative to secure positions in the workforce or to contribute constructive criticism to advance projects (whether that be research, government, industry, non-governmental organization, teaching, etc.).  Therefore, I continually encourage students to improve and refine their writing and presentation styles.  In more research design or methods-focused topics, I facilitate this kind of development by requesting paper/presentation proposals, outlines, and drafts, that contribute to the overall course grade, as the process and progress made is nearly as important to me as the final product. 

Second, critical thinking is essential in problem solving, self-reflection, and contributing unique ideas.  It is also an important element for interpreting data and in inter-personal relations.  I encourage students to consider other perspectives on particular issues, and to develop their own arguments and opinions.  In more discussion-based or seminar classes, I aim to encourage diverse approaches and interpretations by facilitating discussions on potentially controversial topics, providing readings from various perspectives, and creating scenarios that require team responses or debates.

Third, I believe that learning by doing is often much more productive than just listening.  Thus, I am working to develop and refine a multi-faceted teaching approach that combines lectures with discussions, pictures with video, written assignments with presentations, and tutorials with experiential learning (either through small group work that engages course material or through local field trips). 

My vision for teaching is to raise awareness of geographic approaches to inquiry, encourage personal growth through thought and action, and contribute to student development that not only provides valuable skills but also encourages them to follow goals of making a positive difference in whatever career they may pursue. 

Courses taught at Carleton (2009 - 2017)

  1. GEOG 2005 (Geographic Inquiry)

  2. GEOG 2300 (Space, Place & Identity) 

  3. GEOG 3501 (Northern Lands)

  4. GEOG 4022 (People, Resources, and Environmental Change)

  5. GEOG 5905 (Masters Research Workshop)