Teaching and Pedagogy

Courses Taught

Undergraduate/CEGEP

  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • World Regional Geography
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Geographies of Identity
  • Introduction to Urban Studies
  • Gender, Development and Environment
  • Political Ecology
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Urban Ecology
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods

Graduate

  • Research Methods
  • Environmental Governance
  • Environment and Development
  • Gender, Economy and Environment
  • Environmental Justice and Social Movements
  • Cities and Nature
  • Urban Citizenship and Right to the City

Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy has been inspired primarily by the many professors who have taught me, and by my interactions with the students I have taught over the past eight years. I aspire in my teaching career to develop the qualities that I have admired in my most inspirational teachers: to be passionate about the subject, to encourage critical thinking, to be approachable, and to appreciate the differences and potential in all students.

My main objective in teaching is to foster critical thinking and analytical skills by encouraging students to challenge the taken-for-granted assumptions of the social and natural worlds. I want to make students think differently about the world(s) they inhabit; to link in more complex ways their daily life with different places, people (and ‘things’) and discourses. Through this, I seek to encourage students to appreciate different knowledges and experiences. A large part of this, I believe, is enabling students to make meaningful connections between theories and methods, and their everyday lives. In my teaching, therefore, I attempt to bring together academic literature, (popular) culture, class discussion and, ideally, trips or fieldwork outside the classroom, to facilitate active and critical learning. In my experience both as a student and teacher, the courses which encourage student participation and which draw on a diverse range of information sources have been most successful in inspiring critical thinking.

I believe that teaching is about more than just imparting ‘knowledge’; it entails fostering curiosity about the world and motivating students to be interested in learning, analysing, and thinking. This requires for me two main aspects. First, a teacher who shows a passion for the subject they teach as well as for teaching itself. My longstanding curiosity about the political, social and environmental aspects of distinct ways of living led me to the discipline of Geography, and in particular feminist, urban, and human-environment geography. I teach because I want to inspire a similar interest in students, and also because I see in teaching the possibility that in the classroom new ways of thinking about and living in the world more sustainably will emerge through the interaction between teacher and students. In this way, my research contributes to my teaching by providing me with situations (examples) of different socio-natural worlds that help students link theories of nature-society relations (especially in cities) as well as in helping students to find similar examples in their own lives. At the same time, my interactions with students have generated questions that have made me think about my research in different ways.

The second aspect I feel is important to motivating students is a teacher who acknowledges and respects that each student enters the lecture/seminar with different backgrounds, experiences and interest in education. A good teacher, I believe, is able to draw on these differences to enrich the learning environment by encouraging students to actively participate in class. This is difficult when faced with a large lecture hall full of students, but I believe that if the teacher is active and enthusiastic, attempts to engage and encourage students to ask questions based on their experiences and knowledges, then students are less passive in their learning. I also believe, as mentioned earlier, that drawing on a mixture of information sources also fosters a greater interest in learning.

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