My teaching philosophy constitutes a non-hierarchical and challenging environment that allows for all students to participate in comfortably. In the classroom I am constantly striving for EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity) through universal design, non-violent communication, and attunement to the politics of citation. Fostering a conscientious and safe space is key, especially through being aware of various student learning behaviors and skill sets and adapting accordingly. I strive for this by being accessible (through frequent student contact and in my tone when speaking and marking) and always making sure that I attempt my best to assist students in getting their point across. This involves active listening by paraphrasing and asking questions to allow the students to approach the material in traditional and also unexpected ways. Teaching is also about learning from the students and thinking through concepts and ideas with them, rather than for them. In this way, I am also motivated to contact other professors to understand what they are teaching to complement other courses and create a holistic learning environment for the student.
I create assignments in form and content in relation to a through-line of a theme—the essence of the course that frames its objectives. To evoke this essence, I incorporate reading and writing skills, and research methods every semester. I assess students based on the creative application and integration of the concepts within our socio-cultural context. I encourage group work because sharing thought with someone is a relevant practice for every career field. Collaboration is not always as straightforward during pandemic times but is necessary to combat isolation and figure out how to think and make together with care.
Modes of experiential learning provide students with agency concerning their knowledge. I have done this with collaborative course blogs, analyzing the pedagogical and physical tools used in the classroom, or assignments that oblige students to re-articulate their knowledge outside of the classroom so that they can directly see the relationship of the course material with the everyday world around them. Choosing select guest speakers that are directly involved in themes of the class is also an effective method of inspiring students that their scholarly work can have a broader reach.
How can we as educators make use of this time to reconsider pedagogy and knowledge production in a historical, material, and philosophical manner?