In courses ranging from first-year writing and communication and introductory thematic programs to literature and drama surveys, to media studies, I have established a rigorous yet accessible environment designed to maximize student involvement in the subject matter. In today’s society, where knowledge is increasingly defined by practical, applicable and manageable skills, my primary motivation for teaching is to provide a balance to this social development. As a specialist in literary and cultural studies, I center my teaching approach upon the objective of providing students access to abstract thinking, thereby formulating a deeper philosophical understanding of current cultural issues. My aim is to demonstrate that the skills developed in English courses are crucial to responsible participation as global citizens, as well as to any post-graduate employment experiences. Georgia Tech and the University of Waterloo are both large institutions; however, the majority of my teaching experiences have been in small classes of between fifteen and forty students. This student-teacher ratio is representative of an aspect of education (both undergraduate and graduate) that I believe is crucial: such small class sizes provide unique opportunities for interaction, mentoring, progressive and experimental teaching methods. I believe that it is my responsibility as a teacher to support my students in their efforts to succeed both in and out of the classroom, to provide them with skills that will help them learn how to work with and lead others. These efforts are particularly well suited to small classes.
In all of my classes I emphasize group work and discussion as well as traditional lecture. I believe that to succeed in our society students must learn to communicate multimodally, and I therefore incorporate assignments that emphasize verbal, visual and electronic communication skills, in addition to scaffolded writing assignments.
In all my teaching, I endeavour to present canonical and popular texts in a light that reinforces their relevance to students’ perspectives on the world around them. Ultimately, I try to convey the passion I feel for early modern literature and drama to students. I encourage them to take on the challenges inherent in the language of the texts, thereby achieving comprehension of the universality of theme and character. I hope to bring students to the conclusion that having a deeper understanding and knowledge of literary texts of previous centuries will put contemporary issues in their own societies into a more global perspective.