When I am in the classroom, I work to impart transferable skills such as writing, critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and historical analysis. I have found that this happens most effectively by creating a balance between fun and rigor, humor and hard work. My teaching methods, which combine active learning with traditional lecture, reflect these goals.
Learning about the efficient cause in Aristotle’s account of generation
As I lecture, I work to create a fun atmosphere with enthusiasm and humor. Students who are excited and entertained are more receptive to difficult material that would otherwise be less accessible. My teaching evaluations over the years can attest to the effectiveness of this approach. Before each class, I make the lecture slides available for students online (via Blackboard, Oncourse, Moodle, etc.) In my experience, doing so allows me to accommodate a variety of learning styles, allows students more freedom in note-taking, and encourages students to participate in classroom discussion. As I guide classroom discussion, I work hard to create an inclusive atmosphere for learning and to encourage all of my students to participate and feel comfortable asking questions.
I believe that my strongest attribute as an instructor is the enthusiasm which I bring to the classroom and my eagerness to meet and work with students outside of it. I try to encourage students to learn outside of the classroom. When teaching at Indiana University, I took advantage of the Lilly Rare Books Library and the Kinsey Institute. Prior to taking my classes, most of the students in my classes had been to neither. I also frequently meet with students outside office hours, and each semester I meet with at least one student who was initially struggling weekly. My ultimate goal when teaching is to ignite in students their own curiosity and critical analysis of the world around them.