Democracy Now recently did an interview with two directors of the film '(T)error'. Here's an excerpt of the interview:
The full interview is available here
For my introductory post I wanted to state my teaching philosophy, as it shapes how, what, and why I teach.
Teaching Philosophy and Interests
My teaching philosophy is strongly grounded in social justice and critical thinking. As these values have been central to my teaching identity and praxis I have always strived to inculcate a classroom environment which nurtures respect, equality, and dialogue. This has fostered a close relationship between my teaching and research activities.
I have been an educator in formal settings for over eight years, having taught at both high school and university levels. In both settings, I am drawn to the challenge of communicating meaningful information in such a way that fosters curiosity and an eagerness to learn. I have always believed that teaching is an extremely rewarding profession. Through my personal experiences I have learned how there is so much potential for teachers to engage their students in transformative learning. Teachers have the potential to shape and influence the world through every student that they teach. Teachers can engage, inspire, and enlighten, yet at the same time possess the ability to misinform, discriminate against, and intimidate their students. As such, I approach my teaching assignments with great enthusiasm, while understanding the magnitude of responsibility that comes with the profession. I also view teaching as an opportunity to learn more, as I consider myself a lifelong learner. Through teaching and mentoring students I believe I am contributing to their intellectual growth, as well as gaining new perspectives on topics that can potentially inform my research.
As a secondary school teacher I have taught a wide range of courses including social studies, ethics and religious culture, media studies, and mathematics. At the university level, I have taught and lectured in courses for pre-service teachers in the Faculty of Education at McGill University since 2012. These courses were multidisciplinary courses which touched on a number of subjects including: education, society, critical media literacy, social justice, equity education, and critical pedagogy. Despite my wide range of teaching experiences, my objectives for student learning for all of my students involve acquiring skills and abilities to engage in critical thinking. Students who take my courses are encouraged to question dominant assumptions in societal discourses. I support my students, particularly pre-service teachers, to question their views, beliefs, and perceptions to try and make clear their biases to better understand themselves and their preconceived notions. This process is central to my teacher identity. I believe that in addition to teaching subjects, we teach ‘who we are’ to our students. The better a teacher understands him/herself the better s/he will be able to teach in a fair and equitable manner.
I have used various teaching strategies throughout my career. Most of these strategies are informed by a constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Hence, I view myself as a facilitator in the classroom and together with my students develop and construct understanding and knowledge of various issues. With every course that I have taught, I have developed my skills and knowledge as a teacher. This approach to teaching involves creating a comfortable and safe environment where students feel they are being respected. Creating a respectful space where students feel they are able to share their views enables them to exercise their individual voices. As differing views emerge in class discussions, through a facilitative approach, I am able to help guide the discussion. Engaging in this process has produced opportunities for me to discuss issues relating to social justice, racism, equity in education and student/teacher rights in a fruitful and transformative manner. In my teaching engagements I have come to recognize that students
learn in different ways and that traditional standards of learning and evaluation may disadvantage some students over others. Therefore, I offer my students differentiated options for evaluations when possible. This may involve producing original creative works, oral demonstrations, employing digital and social media, as well as more traditional forms of evaluation.
I measure my effectiveness as a teacher through intra and inter-personal processes. At an intra-personal level, I engage in the self-dialogical practice of reflexivity. This involves having an ongoing conversation with myself about what I am experiencing as I am experiencing it. This can take the form of journal entries, taking notes before, during, and after lessons, as well as just taking time to reflect upon my teaching activities in a quiet and relaxing space. I measure my effectiveness as a teacher through inter-personal activities by having discussions with my students and colleagues, as well as through formal course evaluations, which could involve both student and administrative feedback. Thus far in my teaching career, I have had a wealth of positive and constructive feedback from students and administrators, which have helped develop my abilities as an educator. Another process which I am hoping to implement is to videotape myself teaching a lesson. I believe this can help me to identify areas in which I can improve my delivery of lessons and become more aware of subtle mannerisms while teaching.
As an educator and lifelong learner I am always looking for ways to develop my skills, abilities, and praxis. I believe that this can be accomplished by finding new and challenging pedagogical engagements.