Teaching is central to my career goals. Making meaningful and positive contributions to students’ learning experiences is tremendously rewarding, and I have great passion for teaching in all contexts. I have a particularly strong interest in teaching undergraduate biology and ecology courses. These foundational courses should prepare students to become good scientists. However, I have often observed a disconnect between the skills and knowledge reinforced by traditional styles of instruction and assessment, and those expected of students when they embark on additional studies or careers. Traditional approaches emphasize a student’s ability to memorize new terminology, formulae, or concepts. To be a successful scientist, a student must also demonstrate a capacity for critical thinking, analysis, interpretation and synthesis, practical skills, and interpersonal and communication skills.
My objective as a teacher is not only to help students accomplish the important task of learning the language of science, but to also challenge them to practice higher levels of knowledge synthesis while developing practical skills that they can apply to today’s global ecological challenges. To accomplish this, I create learning environments in which students: 1) actively integrate new concepts into their existing conceptual/experiential frameworks in ways that are personally meaningful, 2) practice applying those concepts to important, real-world problems via hands-on, field-based, active learning activities, and 3) refine the collaboration and communication skills essential to science.
My pedagogical research has been a valuable compliment to my scientific work. Using case studies and surveys, I have studied field-based teaching methods and tools in undergraduate science classes. I have also explored the value of incorporating teaching and training opportunities for students and other members of communities where one conducts scientific research.
Ernst, C.M., Buddle, C.M. and L. Soluk. 2014. The value of introducing natural history field research into undergraduate curricula: a case study. Bioscience Education. Available as an early release at http://journals.heacademy.ac.uk/doi/full/10.11120/beej.2014.00023
Finkelstein, A., Winer, L., Buddle, C.M. and C.M. Ernst. 2013. Tablets in the forest: mobile technology for inquiry-based learning. EDUCAUSE Review: published online November 4, 2013.
Ernst, C.M., Vinke, K.., Giberson, D. and Buddle, C. 2012. Insects and education: creating tolerances for some of the world’s smallest citizens. In: The Management of Insects in Recreation and Tourism. Harvey Lemelin, ed. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. ISBN:9781107012882
“Innovating Beyond the Textbook: a conference on learning to teach for graduate students and post-docs”, November 2013 (presented by SKILLSETS, McGill University)
“Experiential and Student-Managed Learning”, a workshop by Dr. Graham Scott (University of Hull, UK), May 2012 (presented by MITI, McGill University)
McGill Innovation for Teaching and Instruction (MITI) Graduate Teaching Workshop Certificate (December 2011)
“Teaching In Science”, a workshop by Dr. Diane Ebert-May (Michigan State University), April 2011 (presented by MITI, McGill University)
Teaching in Higher Education (PSYC5800), Carleton University (Sept-Dec 2004)
Population and Community Ecology (ENVB305, McGill University) – Winter 2014
Graduate Education Assistant, Teaching and Learning Services, Mcgill University (Jan 2014 – present)
“Coleoptera (beetles): biology and natural history” – Insect Biology (ENTO330, McGill University)
“Ecological pyramids, trophic structure and predation” – Population and Community Ecology (ENVB305, McGill University)
“Giving PowerPoint presentations”; “Beetle assemblages of the subarctic” – St. Lawrence Ecosystems (ENVB222, McGill University)
Organisms II (laboratory), McGill University (2010-2013)
St. Lawrence Ecosystems, McGill University (2010-2014)
Introductory Ecology, Carleton University (2003-2004)
Introductory Biology II, Carleton University (2004-2005)
I have had various “teaching” roles, including university lecturer, park naturalist, media spokesperson, nature blogger and museum interpreter. Each role has provided me with opportunities to share my passion for the science with different audiences. To learn more, please also visit the page, Experience.