I am driven to establish a more just world. One of the ways I can help to accomplish this is by process of empowering students in American universities. In formal education, writing is considered a vital form of student empowerment. I believe that l students can be capacitated through social justice pedagogy in writing classes.
The philosophy of Paulo Freire is in alignment with the social justice principle. I am greatly influenced by Freire’s critical pedagogy, which follows the generative teaching mode, prizing students’ views, experiences, learning styles, and cultures. I particularly value generating ideas with students, motivating them to come up with critical perspectives, and encouraging them to work in groups. Flexibility is my main principle which I always strive to embrace in my teaching-learning activities. I believe that simply being strict, not offering students the broadest possible options to learn, and imposing tasks without understanding students’ feelings will not lead to accomplishing the more significant objectives of education. So, in my classroom, I provide students with ample opportunities to learn through favored routes rather than being stuck on strict rules. I am never a blind follower nor blindly oppositional on issues and ideology; instead, I always try to look at teaching through a critical lens and always contextually. Similarly, my favored teaching techniques are leading students to learn through dialogue, relating content meaningfully to daily life events, and making students accountable for their work.
I believe that teaching, especially in higher education, is a process of making my students independent and analytical in their fields of study by valuing their knowledge, skills, experiences, and culture, enabling them to contribute to the knowledge-making process. Students come in with the great potential to work independently and think critically in class. For me, teaching is never making students rote-learn and recite back a given text; rather, it is the sharing of experiences, experimenting with new practices, and exploring new ideas, thus offering opportunities to engage in the work of learning. The principles that have guided my teaching journey are offering students a chance to put forth their views, question, generate and argue ideas, collaborate, share, reflect, and be accountable. Similarly, for evaluating and assessing students’ work, I embrace the labor approach of Asao B. Inoue (2014). Along with the product of students’ writing, I value their labor, sweat, and honesty while grading their papers.
I have taught graduate and undergraduate students from Nepal for over a decade and from the US for two and a half years. During my professional journey, I taught various courses, including English as a Second Language, English Literature, Rhetoric and Composition. My teaching experience shows that every student has unique cultural and linguistic backgrounds, educational practices, learning styles, motivation, and literacy sponsors (individual, institutional, and objects). I respect diversity and take it as a resource rather than an obstacle. I consider teaching as a partnership work among students and between students and teachers.
My job as an instructor is to create a favorable environment in which students can flourish their potential to become effective writers, communicators, critical learners, decision-makers, and change agents.