Courses I teach will be, in part, delivered in a lecture style, but the dominant format is discussion.  The classroom environment is your space to expose and explain your interpretations of the materials while having dedicated individual or team exercises to test your skills and understanding of the texts and visual materials. You are responsible for completing the relevant readings and viewings before each class to promote a better understanding of the material and to facilitate in-class exchanges.

I expect you to be punctual, attentive and respectful. Considering the need to maintain the concentration necessary for intellectual work, students are requested not to arrive late. Mobile phones or electronic devices will not be tolerated once the course has started.  Turn them off and put them away.  If you use your devices as a dictionary, begin new practices for vocabulary enhancement and comprehension:  write down words you do not know, raise your hand to ask what a specific word means or simply listen carefully in class. Your English should now be at a level that you can learn most vocabulary from context.  Use this opportunity to develop your listening and speaking skills!  Please do, however, raise your hand to ask for clarification about any word or concept discussed in the class that either I or other students employ.

Please do not bring food into the classroom.  You may be beverages into the class but please be responsible and clean up after yourselves (ie. do not leave rubbish in the lecture hall).  Try to limit bathroom visits for the ten-minute break period unless, obviously, an emergency.  The break is time for you to use the toilets, to eat, to chat with others, and to approach me with any problems or questions. 

Participation in dialogues and weekly position papers is essential for the enhancement of your reading and analytical skills. Course participation is essential to learning the material as class discussions offer you a chance to express your views, opinions and queries regarding the themes explored throughout the course as well as affords you the opportunity to listen to your cohorts’ critiques. Understanding the arguments is only one element of learning: students must also develop skills that involve formulating critical arguments, to suggest possible alternatives which will enable them to dialogue with other students. In order to promote a good working environment and to give you every chance to succeed, you are strongly encouraged to ask questions when you participate in the lectures and to both actively listen to and participate in interventions.

Bring your written texts to each session and be prepared to discuss what you have written. Since you  are asked to share your ideas in class, it is essential to have done all the readings and any visual search before each session. In addition, you should consult the course information on ICE each week to stay abreast of changes, announcements, changes in hours of availability, and other information related to the course.

You are responsible to attend the course meetings, to be punctual to class, and to participate in class dialogues. Missing class should be limited to illness and emergencies.  Class attendance and participation is essential to your understanding of the material and the development of knowledge and for this reason, many absences create a huge obstacle in your participation and learning.  All coursework which is submitted to me must be submitted to me in person.  Please do not submit or collect any coursework for anyone but yourself for reasons of privacy and my responsibility to secure students’ work.

Prepare for class each week by completing the readings. If you are not acquainted with methods for reading primary sources, please familiarize yourself with various methods for reading a text.  Also, remember to take notes, look up all vocabulary words that you do not know. In other words, come to class ready to discuss the materials for each week.

My approach to pedagogy is highly informed by the Brazilian educator, Paolo Friere, who poses an alternative to what he terms “banking” methods of teaching in which students are receptacles for the “knowledge” dictated by the professor and in which their task in learning is simply to memorize and regurgitate the materials given.  His solution,  what he calls “problem-posing” education, entails a type of learning that necessitates dialogue, disposes with the authoritarian role of the teacher, and leans heavily on critical reflection so that students might be able to overcome “false perceptions” of reality and hence maintain a critical awareness of the world.  (This is what he calls concientización .)  In short, this is the philosophy of teaching which I maintain since I believe to do otherwise is basically an injustice to the process of learning, hence an injustice to the students. 

In attempting to maintain a dialogical environment for learning, I establish a fairly challenging syllabus which, in most cases, incorporates critical theory with fine art artifacts.  I find that by presenting the students with the theoretical work to be studied accompanied by  visual work they are immediately posed with two different voices in relation to which they must necessarily position themselves.  Furthermore, I require students submit a weekly position paper each week expressing their critical interpretations of the texts and visual works to be examined that week.  I ask for these essays, in fact, on the first day that the material at hand is to be discussed in class in order that the students begin independently to form their own ideas and questions regarding the readings.  The combination of the readings, viewings and position papers forces the students to contemplate their questions and thoughts through writing  invariably allowing the writing process to inform their verbal skills.  Once the students have worked through reading and writing independently, they come to class with ideas and questions—their ideas, their questions—which they readily share in class. 

Initially I present in class the texts to be studied in a general overview, but almost immediately focus the discussion on questions towards which the course is oriented and which the critical essays engage. Each class I have objectives of what I want to present to the students and begin by raising certain problems within the texts as this often spur dialogue.  Moreover, I generally require short five to ten minute “oral reports” from each student which open up discussion from a “non-authoritarian” figure.  My aim is to get the students to be, not only familiar with the material, but comfortable in talking about it so that they might be able to express their opinions efficaciously.  Furthermore, I maintain a fair number of office hours which I stipulate in the syllabus so as I might use this time to orient myself with each student in a wholly different setting and that they may feel free to ask questions that perhaps their shyness impedes in class.  In short, my ultimate goal is that the students might communicate their ideas both orally and written, empowering them to think more critically about the both texts in the course and the world which these texts create. 

participation & preparation