Henry James’ advice for living a full life:“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind”.
Pierre Bourdieu’s work on education and culture, combined with Francois Dubet’s work on the micro-sociology of the classroom, interactions between teachers and students, and the job of being a student, have been central to my education and my pedagogy. I’ve long been interested in understanding the role the education system(s) play in the reproduction of the social order(s) and the roots of inequalities, ideology, socialization, education, and sociology constitute the cornerstone of my professional path.
“What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?” –George Eliot
Elementary school is a fantastic school for the teacher. One learns to diversify teaching methods for all types of learners, to design long-term projects and hand-on activities to keep young children engaged, to keep the classroom engaged six hours a day, to explain ideas and skills using different modalities, and to clearly demonstrate connections between topics, skills, and between knowledge and real-life applications. I find that skill-set I developed as an elementary school teacher to be relevant and extremely helpful in the collegiate classroom.
When I teach university-level sociology courses, I explicitly and systematically alternate between theories and empirical cases to help students apply sociological concepts to current issues and practice their sociological imagination. I guide them toward understanding how to unpack the cultural, politico-economic, and ideological components of social problems. I encourage them to think of social problems in connection with each other, rather than in isolation, and to draw the connections between ideologies, emotions, history, and political economy.
Early each semester, I introduce students to three interrelated concepts that encourage participation in class. We address the topics of perspectives, implicit bias, and empathy. We discuss the social construction of socio-cognitive binders and start the long process of challenging individualist explanations of the social world. We regularly go back to those concepts through the semester. I find that initial conversation essential for creating a more relaxed, respectful, and open-minded classroom, conducive to better conversations throughout the semester.
Although not exclusively, overall, I take a constructionist approach to social problems because it provides the students with a clear method to approach social problems. I ask the students systematically pose questions such as: who are the claim makers? What exactly do they mean? What kind of interests do they have vested in their claims? Who are the silenced voices in their narrative and why claim makers’ voices prevail over another group’s voice? Why has one claim become a public issue or remained a private matter? I find that providing such a template for assessing the social world constitutes an easy to apply tool-kit and powerful template for engaging students in critical thinking.
At their core, my teaching and scholarship are about justice, injustices, and resistance to all forms of discrimination, oppression, or erasure based on race, gender, class, age, physical abilities, or species, and the interconnection between all forms of domination and injustice.
As a permanent resident of the United States, a non-native English speaker, and a first-generation student, I am acutely sensitive to the juxtaposition of my vulnerable outsider status on one hand and the privileges granted to me on the other.
Having had the opportunity to live on two continents has opened my eyes to the significance of social constructionism and challenged my own obliviousness and cognitive, cultural, and ideological blinders.
As a teacher-scholar, my teaching and research agendas build on those experiences.
At CU Boulder, I designed and taught three courses as the instructor of record.
I am familiar with D2L and Canvas
I approach this course as an opportunity for students to discover the sociological imagination and develop critical thinking tools to rethink about the social world.
This course focuses on connecting the multiple facets of environmental problems: causes, consequences, the place of culture, politics, the economic structure, all within a globalized context. I strive to offer directions for solutions.
The course critically assesses the criminal justice system from an intersectional perspective.
Below are my most recent teaching evaluations at CU Boulder for the three classes for which I was the instructor of record (Social Problems, Environment and Society, and Race, Class, gender, and Crime). I will be happy to share my complete evaluations and teaching portfolio upon request.