HONESTY: is always the best policy.
A core tenant of my identity as an instructor is the promise that I will not lie to students, cloak importance in references or citations, nor waste their time on any activity or assignment that I am not genuinely convinced is essential, helpful and generative towards their personal practice. I expect reciprocal engagement from my students: demanding they forgo platitudes or regurgitating what they think ‘I want to hear’ in order to get to the meat of our concerns together.
WRITING IS THE RIGHT WAY TO THINKING: writing is a tool that is ever present, ever relevant and immediately accessible to all students regardless of their discipline. Acting as a diagnostic that identifies their concerns, provides clarity to their arguments and thinking and most importantly centers the work that we do in the classroom with respect to their personal practices as scholars and makers, directing students to develop a robust writing practice is one of the most effective tools I use as an instructor.
ACTIVATE LATENT KNOWLEDGE:
students are always already astute thinkers, makers, producers and consumers of culture and content. They are eminently capable of creating compelling connections between their lives, personal practices and global concerns of course curricula and academic programs. Much of my time as an instructor is used in helping students activate this knowledge, in discovering what they already know.
FOCUS ON THE WHAT + HOW:
provide structures which allow students to discover their own best practices. As an instructor my role is to clearly express what a course, assignment, resource or discussion’s objectives are and offer proposed strategies for how to get there. Students learn their own ways of processing, synthesizing, and utilizing information by doing; my job is to jumpstart this action with dynamic and engaging activities, case studies, debates and discussion.
ENTHUSIASM IS NON-NEGOTIABLE: constantly valuing the privilege of position as lifelong learners offers us perspective and injects passion into what we study. While core courses, assignments and evaluation may all be mandatory, a university education is not. Being mindful of the joy that comes from devoting time and space in one’s life to investigate the themes, concepts, ideas and materials that we have affinities for is something that sustains not only my personal practice but my commitment to teaching as well.