I believe one of the best ways to engage students is to link learning opportunities with their personal perception, motivation and curiosity to understand a topic or problem. I use problem-based and interactive approaches to draw out student perceptions of a marine environmental issue, and then shape these initial views towards a deeper, evidence-based understanding of its causes and possible solutions.
Emphasising how marine ecological theory and research-based evidence are the tool kits for unraveling environmental problems, I provide opportunities for students to explore how these tools can be applied in authentic, real-world situations (e.g. Role-Playing Press Conference). Since 2006 my engagement in teaching at the ANU has involved convening the interdisciplinary Marine Science program, coordinating and teaching five undergraduate courses, and supervising numerous student research projects. Based on both interactive and formal student feedback, my approaches (including lecture discussions, problem-based curricula, adventure learning, and student-led assessments) have fostered a deep change in how my students perceive marine environmental issues and their role as educated members of the community working towards solutions to environmental problems.
My unique contributions to science communication and education have also been recognised by Fresh Science and Young Scientist of the Year Awards in 2008, an ANU Colleges of Science Teaching Excellence Award in 2009, an ANU Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010, and a 2011 Australian Award for University Teaching - Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.