Teaching is an integral part of scientific careers, whether in a classroom environment or simply communicating science to the public. In natural resources it is important to remember that this communication is two-way; the public and students often have their own contributions to make.
Learning happens by connecting new knowledge to existing interests and expertise. The role of the teacher is to provide the resources and encouragement for students to control and manage their own learning. In forestry and ecology education many courses are closely interlinked; and although the student may not initially see the links, I believe that focusing on these connections will lead to greater understanding and memory retention.
My objective is to prepare students for careers in technical, strategic and managerial roles. Specifically my goals for students are to not just to learn skills and knowledge directly related to natural resource management and forestry, but also to increase their analytical, critical thinking and problem solving skills. I also encourage them to continue their development of study skills, so that the learning process itself becomes easier and they begin to value learning as an ongoing process. To prepare them for the workforce, I expect the students to act in ethical and professional manners at all times.
Looking to the future, I have an adaptive management philosophy to my own teaching style and skills. Becoming a good instructor is an ongoing and dynamic process which requires long-term monitoring of student and peer feedback, and reflection of my own teaching experience. I also plan to continue my own learning in the teaching arena through reading and discussion with peers and mentors, and workshop opportunities.