My primary educational goal is to foster active and involved lifelong learning. My teaching philosophy is predicated on a deep investment in the success of my students, and on a constructivist approach that requires a student’s involvement in their own education. I think a successful education is one that produces students who have an appreciation for science, who have the knowledge and critical-thinking skills to articulate compelling questions, who can use rigorous scientific methods to seek out answers, and who have the potential to advance our understanding of science should they choose that career path. My teaching methods in pursuit of these goals are informed by my belief in a natural cycle of learning:
Wonder → Engagement → Discovery → Innovation → Wonder
- A classroom steeped in wonder makes learning infectious.
- Engaging students promotes interest and stimulates metacognition.
- Learning by “self-discovery” initiates independence and builds confidence.
- Achieving scientific innovation fuels self-motivation.
And so as students achieve this last step – when they understand how to be innovative in science, when they have created a novel scientific product, and when begin to self-identify as a scientist – the inherent cycle of learning becomes self-perpetuating. The inner life-long learner is awoken, now possessing the appreciation, skill, and confidence to ask, “What’s next?”