I think it is important to make clear my teaching philosophy because it should make clear the reasoning behind the different approaches that I use in class. As I point out at the very start of my “Introduction to Anthropology” classes, it is important to understand the balancing of objectivity and subjectivity in the study of society and culture; similarly, a glimpse at my own subjective understandings of teaching may help you find your own “best approach” to learning and getting the most out of my classes.
Briefly, the following points structure my teaching philosophy (in no particular order):
- complex social theory can be said in plain English
(translating key concepts and jargon is a good exercise)
- social/cultural theory should be relevant
(abstract ideas can be translated in ways that relate to your own experiences)
- methodology is important
(all research involves gathering (and not just interpreting) data)
- writing is a form of thinking
(response papers are always a part of my syllabi; thesis statements are important)
- arguments make for a good learning environment
(read “with an agenda” and question the author and/or me; students learn best from each other)
- doing your own field-based research is the best way to learn about anthropology
(undergraduate, independent research is vital!)
More details are provided on each point on the menu to the right; please check them out for tips on finding your own learning style (and more on my teaching style).
Also check out this link (from Lifehack) that gives advice for doing better research.