The image that guides my teaching of American Literature and Cultural Studies is a voyage. It captures my conception of learning as a dynamic process where students are exposed to new ideas and analytical approaches that they can associate with previous knowledge and personal experiences. I see my role as a teacher as one where I support and encourage students to integrate the added insights of their learning journey into their reading, writing, and critical-thinking skills.
The Power of Words and Images
Much of my teaching emphasizes the wide extensions of language and images. I point that each word or image we use or encounter carries an important story which can be instrumentalized to a number of ends, from everyday relations to artistic expression, but I also stress their negative potential. A significant element of my teaching involves planned and modeled activities that transition to discussions and writing assignments that value the students’ active and conscious use of text and images.
Conflict and Resolution
While cheerful activities are fundamental in my courses, I am also fond of the pedagogical power of conflict and debate in my student-centered classroom. My selection of primary and critical readings aims to prompt students into conversations on timely political topics such as immigration and social movements that while difficult to discuss at first, lead us to find a common ground as well as challenge our implicit biases. I firmly believe that teaching literature and visual culture today should not only broaden students’ knowledge about distant or familiar cultures, but also deepen their critical outlook of issues that affect us all.
In addition to my courses, my teaching also involves mentoring and advising students in their research projects. My approach to mentoring aims at identifying early the strengths and structural issues of the students' work and designing personalized strategies for improvement and timely results. My supervision of senior theses typically includes conducting lectures on research methods as well as leading round table sessions to address obstacles and promote presentation and discussion skills.