I am committed to teaching to the imagination. My pedagogy consists in cultivating rigorous close reading within a framework of creativity-centered education. I take my teaching philosophy to facilitate the following skills: 1) creative thinking; 2) close reading; 3) eloquence.
First, my pedagogy invites students to pair creative thinking with philosophical inquiry. Encouraging creative thinking requires careful mentorship. Engaging with students’ diverse backgrounds, interests, concerns, and goals is at the heart of how instructors encourage students to find what motivates their creativity. By integrating what motivates them, my courses speak to their imagination, giving them a platform to broaden their understanding of arguments or to cast them in new light. 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 with. For 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 conversations towards persuasive and eloquent responses 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. Please see this teaching portfolio for further information about my teaching experience and sample syllabi.
Courses taught at W&L:
2021: Philosophy and Social Trust
2021: Decadence and Decay
Courses taught at Emory:
2021: Basic Problems in Philosophy
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 (co-taught)