At McGill University, I have taught “Introduction to Developing Areas/Africa” in 2013 and 2014, and in 2015 I designed and co-taught “Monitoring & Evaluation for Development: Theory & Practice.”
I use the pictorial superiority effect combined with humour to ensure that students are able to anchor discussions in lecture with particular concepts. My course reviews (and student performance) suggest that this method works quite well.
During lectures, I tend towards a Socratic approach, discussing key ideas and concepts with students and slowly bringing them towards the interpretation that I am trying to get across. While this is difficult in large classes, and some students would prefer to be lectured at, I find it to be the best way to teach complex ideas, and to keep students engaged.
I also use diverse material in my classes, including short videos, comedy performances, audio recordings, music, podcasts, works of fiction, and guest lectures. I engage students through the use of social media, and I am always looking for better tools and techniques to pique students’ interest in the course material.
I try to design my assignments in order to give students an opportunity to engage with the class material in a way that is both interesting and challenging for them. For example, I like assigning critical book reviews of works of fiction that are thematically related to material in the course in order to provide an opportunity for students to wrestle with the course material in a different way.
My course reviews have been pleasantly positive, both the formal and the informal, and I take the feedback of students very seriously in refining my approach.
In the future, I look forward teaching courses on the Politics of Health in sub-Saharan Africa, Public Opinion and Public Health, Political Methodology, and Global Non-Communicable Diseases.