I see teaching as my most important professional task, and being able to help students grow intellectually as the most rewarding aspect of my position. I truly enjoy teaching, and, consequently, I carry one of the highest teaching loads in the Faculty of Forestry. I believe that enthusiasm for teaching cannot be learnt, but that the skills to successfully teach can always be improved. Therefore, I continuously strive to improve my teaching as documented by the workshops and trainings I attended throughout my career.
My teaching philosophy is student centered: as the focus at universities shifted from delivering information to coaching students on how to assess its validity, the focus in my classes shifted away from lecturing towards facilitating an environment where students learn how to solve problems. I believe that traditional teaching techniques need to be adapted to encourage students to take ownership over their learning experience. In my classes, I adopt strategies to inspire students, to focus on their own work, to reflect upon which procedure to implement, and how to achieve success in the light of available resources.
I strongly believe in the power of motivating students and trust their ability to collaborate in projects if an appropriate framework is set. TEAM-BASED-LEARNING (TBL) provides such a framework, it is a proven and successful approach to help students: i) develop team-working, problem-solving and life-long self-learning skills; ii) apply these skills to their tasks and projects; and iii) be successful in their future careers. In consequence, and accepting that particularly second year students often feel uncomfortable taking ownership over their learning experience, I completely revised the courses I teach at UBC and deliver them in the TBL format.