A Brief Teaching Philosophy

“The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.” ― Paulo Freire, We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change. Image information: Panel Paulo Freire at the Center for Training, Technology and Educational Research (CEFORTEPE) of the Municipal Secretary of Education of Campinas, São Paulo; Image Source: Luiz Carlos Cappellano

At the core of my teaching philosophy is a critical pedagogical approach that understands the classroom as a space in which to inform students about their world/city and prepare and encourage them to play an active role in shaping that world/city. For me and my practice, critical pedagogy translates into three commitments: 1) facilitating collaboration and critical dialogue amongst a community of learners who share insights from equally-valued though diverse socio-political positions, 2) rejecting the traditional teacher/student binary in favor of a recognition of the fluidity of classroom roles that more accurately mirrors our everyday lives, and 3) dissolving the boundaries of the classroom in an intentional and transparent way.

My application of this approach is varied. In the past I have arranged fieldtrips (i.e. “Activist NY” exhibit, Museum of the City of New York), promoted events (on-campus and city-wide discussions, protests, rallies), referenced current events, and weaved my experiences as a socio-political being in the world into course material. These decisions endeavored to encourage students to engage course material beyond the classroom and to begin (re)imagining their position in and disposition towards the world/city. This academic year, I am experimenting with digital technologies as a way of moving beyond (re)imagining and into the realm of enacting (or actively experimenting with) new ways of being and seeing and knowing and sharing. Through the use of blogging, Twitter, Flickr, and Google Drive (primarily), students are participating in the creation of a digital public archive which aims to elevate their perspectives and situate them as knowers and learners simultaneously.

*This philosophy was initially written for an application to the Class Visit Exchange Program, a part of Open Classroom Week, an initiative of the Teaching and Learning Center at the CUNY Graduate Center. Though brief, I believe it provides insight into not only my teaching practices, but also my outlook on my work and my role in the world more broadly. 




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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.