Teaching Philosophy

I teach in order to keep learning. And learning is my passion.

I believe that our role as educators is to midwife the inherent intelligence and creativity of every student. I appreciate that people possess multiple intelligences; that intuitive, embodied knowledge is as profound and valuable as cognitive, literary knowledge; and I attempt to create a learning environment that engages them both. As a choreographer, I know that movement has the capacity to reveal profound truths, and that the body is the site of wisdom, knowledge, and imagination. Therefore, I encourage artistic, danced, painted, and written responses to material alongside the more traditional forms.

Education is a political, personal, and psycho-physical-spiritual act.

I practice transparency in my teaching, openly interrogating sources of authority both internally and externally. As an artist whose work has been devoted to social justice, heart, spirit, and beauty, these values shape and inform my choices in the classroom.

While I have aspired to fluency in the language of the academy, I also insist on speaking and writing more accessibly. I am interested in bridging the gap between academic theory and street theory. I am personally committed to theory that emerges organically from practice.

My classrooms are sacred spaces where individuals come together, creating a community of learners. Here we are able to take risks, reflect, and build relationships between our lived experiences, our dreams, and the wealth of knowledge and experience others have refined before us. My classes are interactive and collaborative laboratories of learning. I feel I am acting most skillfully when the substance I am teaching is actually discovered by the students, when our collaboration is so seamless that my offering of material and their discovery is barely distinguishable.

Teaching allows me the opportunity to learn in community.

My pedagogy has been influenced by the work of Paolo Friere, bell hookes, and Jack Mezirow. I am mindful of my own choices, often sharing my intentions and methods with learners, as well as the principles that underlie my choices. I often answer questions by engaging the class in an investigation, encouraging students to honor their own creativity and insight, offering my own experience as an option. I am, however, not afraid of asserting boundaries, standards, and opinions. I believe it is helpful for students to know where I stand, what constitutes a respectful environment for me, and what other types of standards they may be held to outside my classroom. They interact with my particular information while being encouraged to define themselves on their own terms. I am interested in rigor and integrity as companions. I want to challenge students with work that is extrinsic to them as well as that which arises from within. I hope that through experiential learning, they will gain a deeper understanding of where they wish to be situated in their lives, communities and society at large.

 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”. Alvin Toffler