Department of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University-Camden (2014-present)
- 50:163:384 – Gender and Education
- 50:163:101 – Introduction to Childhood Studies
- 50:163:352 – Developing Minds and Bodies
- 50:163:381 – Children’s Geographies
- 56:163:698 – Children’s Geographies
- 56:163:581 – Girlhood Studies
Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga (2013-2014)
- SOC433: Power and Cultural Politics
- SOC302: Sociology of Culture
Department of Sociology, Vanier College, Montreal (2011-2013)
- 387-100-VA: Individual and Society (Introduction to Sociology)
- 387-208-VA: Sociology of Youth Culture
I approach teaching as an opportunity to help students become critical readers of their social worlds. This requires fostering a learning environment in which students can develop their confidence and capacity as self-directed learners. Mindful of countless studies documenting the disjuncture between course content and student understanding, I strive to develop strategies that go beyond the simple transmission of ideas to actively facilitating students’ learning. This requires drawing out students’ prior understandings so that these may be developed and challenged. Strategies such as reflective journaling or guided deconstructions of media texts can help students to identify and question their own assumptions through dialogue with others. I strive to relate critical theory to students’ existing knowledge through learning activities that recognize and build upon the diverse histories and experiences they bring to the classroom. Such activities also create opportunities for discussing how knowledge is mediated by social positioning, and thus shaped by relations of power.
I believe that students are better able to engage in critical inquiry when they are equipped with tools with which to interrogate how knowledge is produced and interpreted. Given that a central challenge for undergraduate students is to become critical readers of academic texts, I teach a variety of concrete strategies with which to interrogate course readings. For instance, we may collectively develop a reading guide that facilitates reflection on the author’s central argument and supporting points, as well as students’ own interpretations. In this way, theoretical concepts are explored in tandem with the tools scholars use to communicate them. This reflexive approach to reading provides the foundation from which to build critical approaches to scholarly inquiry. Students in my class are encouraged to ask not only “What do we know?” but also, “How do we know it?” My assignments are designed to highlight the connection between practices of inquiry and modes of communication, such that the sharing of ideas – through reflective essay, group presentation, or formal research paper – is as important as their development. Through my experiences teaching advanced academic writing, I have learned that discussing seemingly obvious elements of composition – such as the fact that good writers always address an imagined reader – can do wonders in developing students’ capacities as critical researchers and writers.
Finally, my teaching practice is deeply enhanced by my experiences conducting qualitative research in educational settings. In this capacity, I have observed how boys in a small rural community struggle between competing investments in academic achievement and tough masculinities; and how students in an urban high school negotiate the racialized boundaries of peer social hierarchies as they form groups for a history project. Rich and varied, these field experiences offer a poignant reminder that relations of teaching and learning are always embedded in broader social processes. Maintaining this dialogue between my teaching and scholarly work inspires ongoing critical reflection on my own pedagogical practices.