Teaching Philosophy

I am a Senior Fellow with the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and Senior Lecturer: Teaching and Research in the Master of Education Program at the University of Dundee. My teaching and learning philosophy is co-constructivist, incorporating sociocultural, critical and post-structuralist theoretical perspectives. From a practical perspective, my experience as an early years and primary teacher, an academic, and in national policy development and implementation, means that I have insight into problems in both practice and policy and can apply these understandings in the development of teaching and learning programs.

I view the first step in teaching as understanding one’s students, their social and cultural contexts and the modes of engagement that are relevant to them. My teaching and learning approach offers students opportunities to develop a strong knowledge base through scaffolded, constructivist learning programs and innovative resources. It is informed by engaging with the discourse of constructive alignment and the impact this has on student learning approaches (Biggs & Tang, 2007), research on integrated early childhood curriculum (Ward, 2017b) and perspectives of aligned curriculum approaches and pedagogies (Arthur, Beecher, Death, Dockett, & Farmer, 2014; Biggs & Tang, 2007; Thomas, 2014). This, in addition to implementation of high quality aligned assessment, facilitates my students’ critical inquiry and practical application. My educational expertise and ability to engage with multiple contextual factors, enables me to make a substantial contribution to the Master of Education programs, taking full account of the policy contexts in which they operate, at the University of Dundee.

The scope of learning experiences in which I engage my students enhances local and global knowledge of the environment, includes social context, which is relevant to students’ life experience, and includes multiple modes of learning. My award winning learning materials for flipped and face to face classrooms (Vice Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning 2016) include ‘Explain Everything’, ‘Voice Thread’, ‘Captivate’, ‘YouTube’ videos, podcasts and self-authored ‘iBooks’. I have created two interactive iBook’s one of which is bilingual, and a professional website. The bilingual iBook won bronze medals in two categories in the 2017 International eLit awards. The website and class iBook are additional resources for students that provide multiple access points for engaging with content, catering to divergent learning dispositions.

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