I am a dedicated instructor with an aim to inspire a generation of critical thinkers by encouraging proactive learning.
I see pedagogy as the development of critical consciousness. I want my students to really think about where the information is coming from, who said it, what is the agenda, what is the counter argument or not presented, and how elements of their own identity influence how they respond to the information. I want my students to embrace that while there are no absolute truths, there is valid evidence to support a perspective.
I view higher education as the structure to support the shared pursuit of knowledge and the development of socially conscious, ethical, and globally engaged individuals. I view my role as providing students the skills to be able to interrogate the evidence they are being presented, to consider and evaluate multiple perspectives including their own, and to apply these skills to their everyday lives and the world around them.
My teaching is a reflection of my research and my own journey through two distinct education systems. After moving to the US from South Africa in the mid-1990s, I began to recognize that the history I was taught and my everyday experience was essentially propaganda. With no textbooks and an education system that relied on rote memorization rather than critical thinking, I was made to believe that government policies to segregate based on race, to minimize and even eliminate the potential of entire generations, were justified. As a researcher, I have explored the role of expertise in global health policy. I routinely guest lectured during my fieldwork at the Lesotho College of Education presenting students with newspaper articles and HIV policy statements related to youth engagement in risky behaviors that I would ask them to assess. For many students this was the first time they were critically engaging and questioning the accuracy of how others had presented their lives. These experiences have made me recognize that students and teachers should be co-inquirers in the shared pursuit of knowledge.
Developing critical consciousness and expanding one's global engagement is best achieved through exploratory reflection and collaborative dialogue. I envision the classroom as a space for such study, engagement, and transformation. I use an active classroom approach, asking students to engage with and reflect on materials prior to our meetings, then combine short lectures, visual materials (videos and images), small group discussions, and role-play exercises in order to bring students physically into the learning experience. Technology has further advanced our abilities to deliver learning content and respond to students’ learning and application of knowledge and skills. I acknowledge that students participate in different ways and structure my classroom environment to facilitate various styles of learning and engagement. I apply this same vision of learning outside the classroom in my engagements with students in global study abroad and research experiences.