My approach to pedagogy is grounded in my own experience as a community educator and organizer, and highly influenced by theories of popular education as articulated and enacted by scholar-activists such as Paulo Freire, Myles Horton, and Ella Baker. From the work of these thinkers (and many more), I begin with the basis that we are all equally teachers and learners. This led me to a praxis of education, research and action that I honed through many years of popular education work, and bring with me into the classroom.
I teach classes that ask students to begin from their own lived experience, and to draw repeatedly on that knowledge as they encounter texts and ideas through class readings, conversations, and activities. I use experiential project-based learning in order to bring the classroom to life, and bring life to the classroom. Most recently, I crafted and taught an Urban Research Methods seminar that gave students the opportunity to learn and apply a powerful mix of quantitative (GIS, statistical analysis) and qualitative (ethnographic participant-observation, interviews) research methods to contemporary social justice issues in New York City. My success in pedagogical work has been recognized by the Center for Educational Innovation at the University of Minnesota, where I received an excellence in teaching award, nominated by students. I have also received support for my classroom’s experiential learning from the Hagedorn Fund at CUNY-Queens College Department of Urban Studies.