Over the 30 years since I first began classroom teaching at SFU I have developed various ideas and practices regarding educational philosophy and pedagogy.
As a graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) at Simon Fraser University I had the great opportunity to train under the leadership of Dr. Gary Poole, who had been a high-school teacher who at that time was completing his PhD in psychology. Gary had a great passion for pedagogy and training teachers, he was, i believe, the director of teaching at SFU. Gary arranged TA Day which was a training day for new and experienced TAs to get together and talk about teaching and learn a few things through workshops and short talks. I actually lead one on Evaluating student performance. At that time I had just been taken by Plato and the stories of Socrates and the forms, the ideals.
I soon discovered the generativity aspects of Erikson's life cycle that apply to teaching and presented a paper at CPA on Identity and Generativity. A few years later I was introduced to the work of Maria Montessori and really was taken by her work. The building of skills upon skill, something I also recognized in the work of Erikson (1950; 1964; 1968; 1980), the epigenics of development. He admits in his 1970 Autobiographical sketch that he only ever achieved a "diploma in Montessori" teaching that he used as a teach at Dorothy Birlingham's Heitzig school. A few years later I also turning the work of Wilhelm Dilthey and John Dewey, both who recognize the importance of developing responsible citizens as in the tradition of Bildung.
Over the years I have been involved in various types of teaching, In the early years, as A TA the professors would give lectures and I would take students in groups of 15-20 and review the material, making use of classroom discussions. I have since then always had a commitment to the Socratic dialectical method of learning through discussion. In various classes I tend to take a more lecturing style of information delivery, but in other places rely more heavily on the "Jigsaw Classroom" method.
In recent years I have been turning to this style more heavily, in particular through my teaching of Music Psychology where the model of everyone being both a teacher and a learner is invoked. Here I offer the metaphor of a music group or band where I am the band leader and lay out the general scores or chord changes and then the students each take turns to contribute to the learning of each other by improvising on those themes. This is also built upon the Jazz model where everyone gets a turn at giving a solo, while supporting each other and all coming together at the beginning and the end.
Elsewhere, where I do take a more lecture style I also tend to ask for questions and engage in discussion on important themes. Part of these kinds of courses, modeled by my History of Psychology course involves preparation for the real world living and the development of responsible participants in our larger community life. As such we try to engage current issues as they apply to the content of the given course, whether that has to do with the nature of science and how it is manipulated by people in power, or the application of health promotion programs in my Health Psychology course and social change through awareness and cooperative action.
In my History of Psychology class I draw from the works of Erik Erikson who states that we cannot know ourselves, our identities, unless we know our histories. Identity, as such is conditioned by the past, expressed in the present and directed towards a future goal or ideal for a good life. Central to teaching history I engage a tool drawn from my Mentor Professor Bruce Alexander, that encourages students to develop their own model of an ideal psychology. Here they make use of past models and articulate the type of psychology they would like to see in the future based upon a set of philosophical principles that they come to articulate.
We are currently living in a time of truth and reconciliation regarding the dark history of colonization and the marginalization and "cultural genocide" of indigenous peoples. To address these concerns, as in my Cultural Psychology course, and those over restriction surrounding immigration and assimilation and discrimination I also encourage students to learn about the issues and be prepared to take a stand to make things better.