I teach because it helps me learn. By being able to present the knowledge I have gained in an accessible and effective manner, I not only come to a better understanding of the material myself but my enthusiasm spills over to the students. So inspired, students become more involved in the material and the process of learning expands. As each person has a unique view on the world, a dialogical method is best. I learn as much about teaching and the material itself from my students, as they learn about how to critically examine the subject at hand.
My teaching methods do not reflect a unidirectional approach of the authority lecturing students. I encourage discussion, in-class seminars, guest lecturers when appropriate, and make use of information technology. My aim is to encourage my student to learn how to learn on their own. My approach to my students has always been open and honest. I immediately tell them what is expected of them and remain true to the contract made between instructor and student.
I teach with a non-sectarian view and this includes not allowing my own skepticism to color the material. I act as an arbitrator or mediator during the drama of cross-cultural encounters. I always ensure my students understand that no one religion, ideology, or perspective is necessarily better than any other, but rather that they are all human expressions which not only serve certain social and psychological functions but also bring meaningfulness to people. Conversely, I practice demythologizing in my lectures: I examine issues and ideas that are considered ‘common knowledge’ and show how they may be erroneous and can lead to cultural and conceptual misunderstandings.
I believe it is the task of any instructor to 1) get the ideas across in an accessible and well organized manner, 2) to create dialogue among the students in order to foster deeper appreciation of the material, 3) to encourage critical thinking while developing the students’ speaking and writing skills, 4) and, to provide space through which students can realize how they can play a positive role in contemporary society.
My courses take advantage of multidisciplinary training and involves insights from feminism and gender studies, depth psychology, anthropology, the history of art and ideas, history in general, as well as philosophy, and linguistics.