Teaching

As a communication scholar I am cognizant of the different ways in which people communicate and process messages. Students do not arrive in classrooms as empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge. Hence, teachers should facilitate and teach students in a variety of styles and through diverse materials, always encouraging them to identify, challenge, and test assumptions, and to take different perspectives from which to critically encounter and evaluate their world. Learning is an active, social, and collaborative process between students, teachers, and communities. Therefore, successful teaching integrates cooperative learning exercises and individual work as vehicles for self-directed and shared learning. Consequently, students should be encouraged to take courses seriously, and that class attendance and participation are of the utmost importance in their own and other student’s learning. Above all I believe in bringing a philosophy of mindfulness to education.

As a lifelong activity, learning is a process that I constantly undergo along with students. Teaching, like any other communicative interaction, is not linear or one-way and thus requires respect and openness to learning as one also teaches. Successful strategies that enhance this collaborative learning process and the development of the classroom as a learning community include: relating class subject matter to student lives, making the learning process an inviting and welcome experience, cultivating mindfulness and awareness of our actions and communicative behaviors, and engaging students collaboratively in the development of class content. Having students analyze and critique class teaching materials and encouraging them to come up with alternative ways to teach and learn the material covered facilitates the development of a learning community in the classroom that respects diversity and actively takes into consideration what students themselves bring to the learning process. Teaching is a consequential social practice.

My teaching is informed by Freire, Boal, Giroux and others, and by a body of thought that sees education as a critical and mindful practice. A commitment to excellence in education at all levels means not only learning as personal development, but as an integral part of our role as educators and members of our communities. Good teaching values intellectual effort, diversity, mindfulness, striving for excellence, and respect for perspectives other than our own. I am committed and dedicated to excellence in teaching, to teaching as community practice, to helping others succeed, and to lifelong learning.