Teaching

I approach teaching and learning from the perspective of a political scientist, meaning that I recognize that civic literacy is necessary for the functioning of democracy. Indeed, the way that some citizens understand politics influences how, and if, they engage in the kind of deliberation required of democratic government. For that reason, I believe that an important part of my professional responsibility is to help my students strengthen the quality of their citizenship; I do this, in part, by teaching them about the rules of government, the psychology of behavior, and the process of policy making. Part of that task, it seems, includes revealing the familiar, or acquainting known-strangers, i.e., citizens and their government. The objective is to help students use their prior knowledge and experience with political institutions to build a bridge to the course content in a meaningful way. To this end, my curriculum draws on different active-learning techniques to encourage students to engage with the subject rather than being simple consumers of facts and figures. One of the techniques that I employ is problem-based learning (PBL), an experiential approach to teaching that challenges students to think critically and engage directly with real world problems.

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