Dr. Robert McGray, the recipient of the Brock University Award for Excellence in Teaching for Early Career Faculty, has taken his university teaching career in many directions. Before coming to Brock, the assistant professor in the Faculty of Education taught in the West Indies, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia and other parts of Ontario. His teaching focuses on adult education.
He recently shared thoughts about teaching in a QandA:
What excites you about teaching?
It is really about meeting new people and having the opportunity to explore ideas as a group. It is quite exciting to feel the energy at the start of a semester. This is one of the things I enjoy about teaching intro classes for students coming in to a program – such as EDUC 5P30 that I have recently taught for incoming MEd students.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My own teaching philosophy emphasises the need to be curious about what we take for granted in society. By this I mean that the role of education is really about investigating ways in which we can develop new just and democratic practices. This is not as easy as it sounds as we all have long histories and embedded assumptions.
What have you learned from your students that you apply to best teaching practices?
I think that I have been fortunate in meeting so many different students in my career. When I think about their different experiences, stories, and life experiences I try and never assume what someone does, or does not, know.
How does your teaching in Adult Education inform your research?
It is always exciting to talk to students about choices I make in term of class planning and facilitation. Not only does this help to contextualize discussion, but it allows me to receive different perspectives on pedagogy. When I am writing and researching, these discussions are always helpful to inform my perspective on the teaching and learning process.
Read more about Dr. McGray in Brock News:
Brock University’s perplexing backwards bicycle (Nov. 2015)