“The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves”
― Joseph Campbell
My teaching philosophy is grounded in my cultural experiences growing up as a young Polish immigrant in the culturally diverse city of Toronto, Canada. While I spent most of my early years in a Canadian French immersion school, I moved back to Poland when I was thirteen and attended school there for two years, after which I returned to Toronto and completed my high school education in a culturally diverse English-speaking school. While these early experiences sensitized me to varieties of educational contexts, my more recent studies in social and cultural psychology helped me develop the principles of my teaching philosophy.
As a cultural psychologist, I begin from the premise that sociocultural and political contexts constitute human development. Accordingly, I view my purpose as a teacher to create favorable conditions for inspiring students to develop their interests and to help them achieve successful academic trajectories. Second, as I recognize and support diverse forms of knowing, I encourage students to develop their own academic voices and think critically about class materials. Third, viewing knowledge as a social practice, I discuss with students the value of dialogue and debate in the production of scientific research. Fourth, assuming that knowledge is situated and perspectival, I encourage students to recognize the moral implications of scientific claims and to take responsibility for the knowledge that is generated through research.
These basic principles guide how I design coursework, prepare class materials, and respond to student concerns. Further, my teaching is grounded in a ‘culturally attuned’ teaching philosophy that is inspired by my mixed cultural background and grounded in my orientation as a cultural psychologist. Over the years I have honed my instructional skills through professional workshops, and I intend to continue such activities to become an increasingly effective instructor serving diverse student groups in the future.