teaching philosophy | course syllabi
Teaching should be a continuous practice of connection, reflection and refining; not just concepts being delivered, but also their delivery. In my teaching practice, I seek ways to first, connect with the individuals in front of me. This is because I value creating and sustaining spaces where students come to know that their voices and life experiences are welcomed and respected. Whether teaching in traditional school and university settings or community-based spaces, I have found that one way to help ensure people feel heard, is by me actively enlivening my curriculum such that material and assignments are able to spark conversation and creative collaboration.
Since my philosophy of teaching stems from constructivist and socially just pedagogies, I design my syllabi to include ample time for teasing out and listening to various perspectives on topics. It is important to me that students walk away with a bit more curiosity and criticality about their perspectives, and others, than perhaps that with which they entered. I believe curiosity opens opportunities for reflection and refining because it expands questions of “why” into the shades and processes of “how, and in what ways” things appear to be one way or another. This is particularly relevant in today’s teaching climate as we work to create open, inclusive and diverse spaces — spaces that challenge the status quo and push back at the rhetoric of “right” and “wrong” ways of knowing and being in the world. Thus, connecting my lectures, discussion prompts, activities and assignments to larger interpersonal and social-political structures is a driving force in my teaching planning and practice.
Refining my teaching practice is, for me, about having a secure footing about a topic, and also the humility to be adaptable so as to meet students’ needs. Whether designing and facilitating a course from scratch or being invited to lead lectures and discussion in my TA positions, I aim to foster spaces where creativity and criticality are actively entertained. Therefore, my teaching philosophy is grounded in discourse, always aiming to balance theory, research and practice.