I am committed to teaching to the imagination. My pedagogy consists in cultivating rigorous practices of close reading within a larger frame of creativity-centered education. I take my teaching philosophy to facilitate the following skills: 1) creative thinking; 2) close reading; 3) eloquence. 

Jose Vasconcelos Library, Mexico City

First, my pedagogy invites students to pair creative thinking with philosophical inquiry. By integrating what motivates them, courses speak to their imagination and give them a platform to broaden their understanding of arguments and cast them in a new light. Encouraging this exercise in students, though, requires careful mentorship. Engaging with their diverse backgrounds, interests, concerns, and goals is at the heart of how mentorship encourages creative thinking. In my Basic Problems in Philosophy class, I selected readings echoing my students’ intellectual sensibilities. Some of these readings included Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in conversation with Plato’s Apology and Crito, as well as Enrique Dussel’s The Invention of the Americas in response to Descartes’ Meditations. My purpose was inviting them to see philosophy through a global lens and to appreciate contemporary issues in dialogue with the philosophical tradition.

Second, the practice of close reading is central to my pedagogy. Prompting students to think imaginatively requires strong foundations set in careful and rigorous readings of texts. Textual exegesis fends off hasty interpretations, examines argument integrity, and provides multiple questions to grapple withFor my Contemporary Moral Issues class, my students wrote weekly reflection papers that scrutinized moral arguments and deliberated over text coherence. Their close readings sharpened their judgement and provided them with a steady footing to critically examine larger questions of justice, discrimination, and inequality. Ultimately, independent thinking is the objective at work in the practice of close reading for each of my classes.

Third, my teaching philosophy builds upon student participation to achieve eloquence. Refined and concise articulation of arguments is cultivated through dialogue and placed at the core of a well-rounded education in the humanities. Students are active interlocutors in an ongoing conversation fomenting their own learning. For example, my Existentialism class was designed around a semester-long discussion between canonical texts and their illustration through cinema. Therefore, students were accountable to steer the conversation towards a persuasive and eloquent response to broader questions and themes posed by existentialist literature and cinematography. Fruitful debate should both stimulate and challenge students to engage in a mutual and holistic learning experience.

Lastly, the main purpose of my teaching philosophy, which encompasses creative thinking, close reading, and eloquence, is to excite students to cultivate a sense of curiosity geared as much to their studies as to their communities.

Courses taught at Emory:

2220: Introduction to the History of Metaphysics
2020: Introduction to the History of Social and Political Philosophy
2019: Introduction to Bioethics
2018: Contemporary Moral Issues
2017: Existentialism and Modern European Philosophy
2016: Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
2015: Introduction to the Philosophy of Nature
2015: Basic Problems in Philosophy

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