**Links to courses webpage:**

BIOM 300: Mathematical Modeling in Biology

**Teaching biography:**

I am deeply interested in pedagogy and best practice in teaching. During my postdoc, I started attending workshops offered through the Queen's University Centre for Teaching and Learning, and then took the formal course, SGS 901: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. To say that this course opened my eyes about teaching would be underselling it quite a bit. Although I have always taken a lot of pride in my teaching, I realized that my approach was not necessarily helping students achieve the learning goals I had for them. I saw my role primarily as an expert practitioner conveying information to students. Leaving aside the question of whether or not I actually qualified as an "expert," this approach emphasized only one of the many roles of teacher, and probably not the most important one.

Through reading and writing about science education in particular, and pedagogy in general, I have developed a much more comprehensive approach to teaching. I now see my primary role as being a facilitator of learning: by helping students make connections between new material and previous knowledge, by emphasizing self-discovery and exploration, and by focusing more on posing questions than providing answers,

**I encourage meaning-making, helping student achieve genuine learning and, in the process,**

**to learn to think like scientists**.

The 2014 article "Why Do Americans Stink at Math", published in the New York Times, had a wonderful anecdote from a teacher that nicely summarizes the change in my own perspective. The way math is frequently taught in primary and secondary school can be described as an "I, We, You" approach: the teacher demonstrates a new mathematical technique (I), then the class works through a sample problem (We), and finally the teacher assigns individual homework (You). This approach teaches students how to get answers, but doesn't necessarily help them learn how to think about mathematics. This can lead to students being unable to apply what they know to any problem that doesn't look exactly like something they have seen before. Picking up there:

'She knew there must be a way to tap into what students already understood and then build on it. In her classroom, she replaced “I, We, You” with a structure you might call “You, Y’all, We.” Rather than starting each lesson by introducing the main idea to be learned that day, she assigned a single “problem of the day,” designed to let students struggle toward it — first on their own (You), then in peer groups (Y’all) and finally as a whole class (We). The result was a process that replaced answer-getting with what Lampert called sense-making.'

Article excerpt from

Green, Elizabeth. (23 July 2014). Why do Americans stink at math?

Green, Elizabeth. (23 July 2014). Why do Americans stink at math?

*The New York Times*. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com.