Teaching Philosophy

“The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy” 
― bell hooks, African American educator and philosopher

The I Ching or The Book of Changes is one of the most revered texts in Chinese literature. Originally used exclusively as an oracle,  it has inspired some of the most eminent thinkers in recent times, from Eastern philosophers to Western choreographers such as Merce Cunningham and Deborah Hay. Under the "Hexagram 58," whose image features a doubling of the trigram Tui (The Joyous, Lake), Richard Wilhelm (1984) writes:

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" A lake evaporates upward and thus gradually dries up; but when two lakes are joined they do not dry up so readily, for one replenishes the other. It is the same in the field of knowledge. Knowledge should be a refreshing and vitalizing force. It becomes so only through stimulating intercourse with congenial friends with whom one holds discussion and practices application of the truths of life. In this way, learning becomes many-sided and takes on a cheerful lightness, whereas there is always something ponderous and one-sided about the learning of the self-taught" 

The passage above resonates with my approach towards teaching in higher education. In a nutshell, I see myself as a facilitator committed to creating an environment conducive to growth and collaboration; a place where learners share and refine each other’s intellectual wealth with respect. My teaching philosophy is based on the premise that people often become good at things they care about. As I have learned, people tend to put effort towards ideas and initiatives that move them; that excites their energy, or that resonates with their spirit. Hence, as a conductor, I am committed to providing students with inspiring lectures and personalized activities that can ignite their desire to learn. At the same time, I am invested in challenging them to participate in the learning process as active thinkers, not as passive consumers.

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My capoeira master teacher, Mestre Cobra Mansa, at Kilombo Tenondé

Rehearsals for site-specific work Re-Birth in Brazil (2022)

Lesson plan for Dance and Environmental art, UK

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Accepting that no one can predict the outcome of human development, I believe that every educator should aim to, like a farmer, predict the conditions under which the potential of his or her students will flourish. I am invested, in particular, in empowering emerging scholars, artists, and art activists with the necessary tools to articulate ideas through writing or dancing. In doing so, the politics of exchanging knowledge or producing counter-narratives becomes a condition for finding new ways to balance out power (social, economical, personal) struggles and agency.

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Somatics class at UoR in London, UK

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No matter where I go, I continue to follow the guidance of scholars such as Paulo Freire, Boaventura Sousa Santos, and Gloria Watkins (bell hooks), all of whom advocate that no education is politically neutral. In last instance, I don’t try to prepare students for the future, but I seek to teach them how they can construct a future in which they would like to live. Or, as Freire has stated in his book We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change (1990):

“What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.” 

Grupo Nzinga de Capoeira's annual event in 2010 (Dr. Angela Davis at the center)