Teaching

My teaching and research are informed by my scholarly commitment to critically understanding culture, society, ideology and subjectivity; and is driven by questioning the possibilities for emancipatory politics and radical ethics in an age of neoliberal hegemony.

Through my teaching, students learn how to critically assess culture, society, and the media, by exploring different ways that ideas, images, and ideologies persuade us to act and think.

I teach students about the conflicting ideological positions that structure and condition social constructions of identity, and the political, social, and cultural roles of media, new media, and culture in the context of twenty-first century capitalism.  I engage students in these topics by connecting with their own experiences and backgrounds, and by approaching them from perspectives ranging from critical theory, to feminism, anti-racism, post-colonialism, and queer theory.

By thinking about images, ideas, and culture from these perspectives, students in my courses learn how to deconstruct the meaning-making practices and relations of power and inequality that are involved in persuasion, manipulation, exploitation, and surveillance.

My courses emphasize the role of global capital, and the relationship between finance, transnational corporations, structures of media industries and ownership, and ideological hegemony, in the perpetuation of class inequality, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of exploitation. In recent years, I have also encouraged students to adopt critical perspectives on global warming/climate change, the fuel economy and the Alberta oil sands, and the impact of new biogenetic technologies on our conceptions of human rights and identity.

My students learn how to connect notions of “the good society” to philosophies about human needs and conceptions of “human nature,” and I encourage students to always remain critical of the subjective position of critical thinkers when applying their methods.

Through assignments such as blog writing, video-making, poster and pamphlet writing, critical research essays, and ideological analyses of films, advertising, and popular culture, students in my courses learn how to critically assess culture, society, media, and technology and their connection to the broader social and political problems that we face, while also learning how to express themselves creatively using tools available through new media.

I engage students in lecture through the use of multimedia technologies, and I begin each class by “hooking” students into the course content through the use of planned and purposeful questions, by connecting to their prior knowledge, by reviewing material previously covered in class, and by facilitating dialogue through the use of opening and closing discussion questions.  My teaching practice stresses the role of critical thinking, questioning, analysis, and reasoning.  I encourage students to identify and question preconceived assumptions and values, guiding them in their appreciation and engagement with diverse value systems, and in their analyses of society and culture.  My role as a professor involves helping students to formulate aims and goals on their own, and I provide them with the tools necessary for evaluating the success of their actions and beliefs.  I promote original thought by motivating students through the use of increasingly complex questions that move from measuring and evaluating knowledge and understanding to questions that involve analysis, creativity, and synthesis.

I believe in the importance of challenging students and upholding high expectations, while maintaining inclusiveness, collaboration, diversity, and equity.  I have experience teaching a diverse group of students, including recent high school graduates, mature students, and students with special needs. I believe in maintaining a safe classroom where students feel comfortable and are able to take risks, and I provide accommodations for students with alternative learning needs and disabilities in order to maintain inclusion with integrity.

Outside of the classroom, I provide students with other learning resources by regularly posting materials such as web links, video clips, images, and news articles, to course websites.  I provide guidance regarding other university resources such as writing centres and academic counseling services.  I hold regular office hours and maintain professional email correspondence with students.  After each class, I take time to reflect upon the success of my teaching techniques.  I have previously participated in workshops to enhance my abilities as a course director and I will continue to do so in order to increase my skills as a university professor.

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