Open Teaching Initiative, Teach@CUNY

Teaching Intersectionality and Student-Centered Pedagogy

Photo by Jason de Villa:

By Simone Kolysh

When I first began teaching in 2011, there was not a lot of help available to new adjuncts as far as pedagogy, curriculum construction or teaching skill acquisition. I wanted to open my classroom to another graduate student because I think having someone with less experience visit any classroom could show them that there are different ways to present information and different ways to invite students to absorb and process information.

I use a combination of instructional approaches and was hoping that Ernesto would see a bit of lecture, discussion and media in my classroom. During the visit, Ernesto was involved and engaged in the lecture that focused on fleshing out the theory of intersectionality in my Introduction to Women’s Studies classroom. Ernesto was part of the discussion with my students and my students benefited from his point of view. I also think he was comfortable speaking out about his experiences as an immigrant and a person of color because it was obvious that I center the voices of marginalized communities in my classroom.

After the visit, we sat down for a long chat about the visit and I got to know Ernesto lot more, and it was an incredibly positive experience.

Simone Kolysh is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the Graduate Center.

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