My teaching philosophy comprises six interconnected components: three fundamental principles and three underlying practices, all rooted in contemporary pedagogical theory.
Inclusive teaching entails recognizing, celebrating, and leveraging diversity within the student body, with respect to both personal backgrounds and learning preferences.
- Providing a variety of learning opportunities, with both passive modes (lecturing) and active modes (activities), that are group-based and pair-based.
- Relying on different assessment strategies, both synchronous (in class) and asynchronous (at home), allowing students to leverage their different strengths (such as writing, presenting, or debating), and providing personalized feedback.
- Building course materials that offer a multitude of voices and rely on different cultural and intellectual perspectives.
Active class plans include opportunities for students to engage in the independent application of course concepts, through exercises, discussions, and varied activities.
- After a lecture on the empirical challenges associated with measuring the democratization of a polity, student groups are presented with a hypothetical country and asked to provide concrete steps through which they would assess the regime type.
- A reading response may ask students to find examples in current news that match theoretical expectations from the week’s readings (e.g. politicians’ interviews about election fraud during a week on illiberalism and democratic backsliding).
All course material, class plans, activities, and assignments stem from learning objectives, designed for a specific target student body and articulated at both course-level and session-level.
- A research seminar may have as course-level LO the development of research skills, which can then be addressed through specific assignments, such as a semester-long research capstone project.
- A class session may focus on a specific aspect of a broader topic (e.x. measuring the level of democratization) that caters to the session-specific learning objective.
Create a positive, collaborative, and fun class environment where students feel part of a cohesive and supportive community, allowing for spontaneous participation and intellectual risk-taking.
- Establish at the beginning of the semester communal discussion class norms.
- Devise group activities that encourage peer feedback and mix up student pairings.
- Employ humor to create a relaxed class environment.
Enhance the student learning experience by integrating movement, intervening in the classroom space, and allowing for interaction with objects in class plans.
- For a fuller description of this specific pedagogical approach, please see here.
Maintain a practice of reflections on one’s teaching, updating both specific class materials, as well as improving the broader pedagogical toolkit with novel teaching strategies.
- Keep an instructor’s diary to briefly annotate course material after each class session, recording what worked well and what could be improved in following iterations.
- Employ student surveys at both the beginning and the end of class to better understand the effectiveness of pedagogical strategies.