My Teaching Philosophy


Paulo Freyre, one of the most influential Latin American thinkers, developed a teaching philosophy based on social justice and critical thinking. According to Freyre, “Only authoritative educators deny solidarity between the act of educating and the one of being educated by a student.” Teaching makes us part of a larger community in which every professor shares a space for learning with his/hers students and colleagues. Therefore…

  • It is important to know who the students are and to take time to learn about their experiences with the Spanish language and culture. This will guide professors into tailoring his/her class to fit the students’ needs. She/he will be constantly learning from students, and improving lesson plans by incorporating their feedback.
  • It is crucial to understand the cultural diversity of students. In the case of Spanish for Heritage Speakers class, students’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds and learning experiences tend to vary more than in Spanish as a second language course. So, learning about their personal history is vital, and it allows faculty to customize classes to students’ specific needs and cultural references. The methodology, content and goals that guide teaching and the resources employed in the classroom have always being selected based on a constant dialogue with students at the beginning, during, and at the end of each course. Thus, student evaluations are an indispensable component of any instructor’s professional growth.
  • Activities and assignments should foster critical thinking, strive for cultural relevance, and engage students in stimulating discussions. Incorporating films, documentaries, You Tube videos, comics, and other materials from popular culture helps faculty achieve these goals.
  • Aim to foster a classroom environment of collaborative work and equality, where students share ideas and help each other. This way, students have an active role in their learning process and volunteer to participate more in class, whether in group work, presentations or open discussions. Faculty’s responsibility is to facilitate their learning, and this often means breaking away from a teacher-centered classroom. In addition, motivating students to search for learning venues outside our class encourages them to share their knowledge with other people, building bridges between their college experience and their community. The use of online resources such as blogs, discussion forums, and wikis helps to foment a more global approach to learning.
  • A collaborative and democratic philosophy towards teaching Latino/a/x Studies must extend to the community, and push the professor to encourage students attendance to cultural activities related to the topics and cultures discussed in class. All students must attend events offered in the community.
  • This teaching philosophy has been significantly shaped by cooperative work with other instructors that collaborated to create teaching materials, exchanged ideas on lesson plans, organized reading groups on teaching methodology, and prepared presentations. Educators can learn tremendously about students’ interests in Latin American and Latino/x/a cultures by working closely with his/her colleagues, and cultural organizations in their institution and community.