I come from a liberal arts background and believe that individuals learn best when able to engage in healthy discussion and participate in their own knowledge creation. With this in mind, my teaching philosophy revolves around creating an environment in which discussion can thrive, and students are empowered to be partners in the instruction. However, I am also explicitly aware that not all students learn in the same way. With this in mind, I also seek to provide multiple avenues in which this discussion and co-creation of knowledge can take place.
These two guiding principles manifest themselves in myriad ways, but here are a few concrete examples:
- I prefer to limit lecturing as a portion of the class and increase discussion. When lecturing is necessary, it is usually only to the extent that it is needed to prepare a shared base of knowledge that can then be now be discussed. Then, utilizing the Socratic method, I like to push the class to understand their own assumptions and cultivate a deeper sense of understanding of the topics involved.
- The class assignments are focused on enabling individuals to develop their own critical thinking and research skills. An example might be to pick a significant urban development project and describe the various pressures that made this development happen. This would require them to research their own place and apply the theories we have discussed in class to this unique situation while also highlighting what makes this case unique.
At the end of the day, it is more important to me that my students have broadened their thinking to include some of the theories we discuss than it is for them to have learned any one specific piece of knowledge. I want to contribute to their ability to be critical thinkers and discerning researchers. Essentially, I want them to be better and more engaged citizens.
Courses Taught Solo:
Nature & American Values
Leadership in Global Sustainability