Teaching and Capacity Development

On This Page

Showing students a hawk on Opwall 2014
Showing students a black-faced hawk (Leucopturnis melanops) on Opwall 2014

Teaching Experience

My teaching experience has been mostly in the field. The Operation Wallacea project involved a strong teaching component, training research assistants not only in the data collection methods, but also in the scientific grounding behind the project’s work. I strongly enjoy interacting with students in the field, and enjoy teaching field methods for studying birds and large mammals.

Teaching bird handling in the field
Teaching bird handling in the field (Photo ©: Alice Petherick)

I also briefly led an R coding club at the University of Guyana in 2019, and taught a cohort of University of Guyana students and faculty introductory coding in R with the tidyverse package.

Teaching Interests

I am quite interested in teaching fundamental ecological, statistical and conservation-related concepts. I am also interested in teaching fundamental social scientific concepts to students from unrelated fields (Biology, Ecology, and so forth), as well as the human-dimensions of human-wildlife interactions and conservation science.

I am interested in teaching field data collection methods, both for studying bird and mammal populations, and for quantitative social science research. In addition, I would like to one day teach quantitative methods relevant for both ecology and the social sciences.

Capacity Development

I have a strong focus on capacity development as a necessary part of my work. Capacity development, in my opinion, should focus more on leveraging everyone’s strengths, rather than overtly focusing on weaknesses. I take the approach of both teaching and learning, inclusive of learning how someone learns, while focusing on building one’s personal confidence and ability to work independently.

My capacity development work has focused primarily on the Indigenous and local peoples who I work with and for, primarily those who demonstrate an interest in scientific principles and inquiry. I understand and accept, however, that not everyone wants and/or needs to (necessarily) become a scientist. Nevertheless, scientific principles can be critical when applied in other areas of life.

My approach to my capacity development efforts take a critical lens to whatever is being taught, and a frank admission of my limits. I teach and learn by doing, primarily by example. I aim to embody the ideas of embodying principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI), to work towards having a body of skilled, qualified, and experienced people, who may work in a variety of ways towards common goals.

Return to the top