Teaching Dossier


Teaching

Teaching Philosophy

I am strongly committed to excellence in teaching and in encouraging students to learn material by and for themselves. My goal, then, is to support students in their own learning process by focusing on their strengths and using positive feedback to help them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. In my role as an instructor, my goal is to support students by understanding and meeting their varied goals and backgrounds (including social, emotional, and physical variables), which play a crucial role in students’ motivation, interests, and efforts. As a teacher, clarity and structure are the cornerstones upon which I build my classes, taking into account both the big picture and logical passages from one topic to the next. Students’ participation and interaction are probably the most important parts of the learning process. When I prepare a course schedule, I give priority to the topics that are more likely to motivate my class and then design course material on relevant applications of interest to the class. I structure my lectures to clearly organize the material, always marking “Definitions”, “Theories”, “Reviews”, “Critics”, and “Examples” wherever appropriate, to draw connections between the material at hand and previous topics in this or other courses, and to encourage critical thinking that helps students internalize learning. In order to encourage students participate in class, I use tutorial time to get students to present their solutions to both theoretical and practical problems, and organize social activities of interest to the class.

 

Teaching Responsibilities

My academic experience provided excellent opportunities for me to develop my teaching strategies. I had the opportunity to teach graduate courses at the Università degli Studi of Milan. I also functioned as teaching assistant for several undergraduate courses at the Università degli Studi of Milan, Università degli Studi of Turin, and Università degli Studi of Bologna. I took responsibilities for the most part of course duties, including syllabus writing, lecturing, grading, advising, and holding office hours (see Appendix A.1).

I have taught the following graduate courses:

• Environmental Ethics (Università degli Studi of Milan) – 2014-2015, 2013-2014, 2012-2013, 2011-2012, 2010-2011
3 credits, 20-40 students per semester
Topics: Theories of natural value; animal rights; ecosystem preservation and restoration; environmentalism.
• Bioethics (Università degli Studi of Milan) – 2014-2015
3 credits, 20-40 students per semester
Topics: Abortion; animal rights; environmental ethics; multicultural ethics.
• Theoretical Philosophy (Università degli Studi of Milan) – 2011-2012
3 credits, 20-40 students per semester
Topics: Basic logical concepts; deductions; inductive reasoning; fallacies.

Although my focus is graduate education, I have also served as teaching assistant for these undergraduate courses:

• Environmental Ethics (Università degli Studi of Bologna) – 2014-2015, 2013-2014
9 credits, 20-30 students per semester
• Bioethics (Università degli Studi of Milan) – 2013-2014, 2012-2013
9 credits, 20-30 students per semester
• Moral Philosophy (Università degli Studi of Turin) – 2011-2012, 2010-2011
9 credits, 20-30 students per semester
• Neuroethics (Università degli Studi of Milan) – 2011-2012, 2010-2011
9 credits, 40-50 students per semester
• Environmental Ethics (Università degli Studi of Milan) – 2009-2010
9 credits, 20-40 students per semester
• History of Philosophy (Università degli Studi of Milan) – 2011-2012, 2010-2011
9 credits, 20-40 students per semester

 

Teaching Strategies

I use a blend of lecture, discussion, and problem solving in my classes. The following 5 principles provide the fundamental structure for my teaching strategies:

1. Topics review: At the beginning of each class, I spend three to five minutes reviewing the major topics from the previous lecture, restating important definitions.
2. Minimize notation and organize presentation: I make a substantial use of videos, slides, and computer graphics in order to stimulate discussion and discourage students from passively taking notes of what is said in class (see Appendix A.2).
3. Teller-seller approach: I adapt my teaching to the level of the students and the material they need to learn. I also utilize a question-and-answer approach to promote a cognitive and emotional involvement in the topics and arguments I address in class (see Appendix A.3).
4. Points of interaction: I actively encourage students to contribute to discussions and learning activities by using case studies (to generate debate and encourage critical thinking skills) and learning projects (in which students work in teams to explore issues).
5. Flexibility: I am flexible in my methods and open to discuss different opinions.

 

Advising

I love teaching as much as I like helping my students learn and grow as individuals. Encouraging them to develop their potential is my top priority. I have high expectations in terms of academic standards and I help students meet them. Rather than imposing my solutions to their questions, I guide them in finding answers for themselves. I am eager to provide extensive feedback and I am always available to meet for mentoring. I take every opportunity to make it clear that “my door is always open” for my students. I keep regular office hours and meet daily with students. I was a mentor to undergraduate students from 2010 to 2014 and I currently serve as secondary academic advisor to 4 graduate students.

 

Conclusion

Italian educator Maria Montessori said, “The first thing required of a teacher is that he be rightly disposed for his task”. My responsibility as a teacher is profound. I strive to improve content, delivery, and assessment strategies and standards every day. Having the opportunity to teach students and help them growing is a tremendous privilege for me. What I have learned in the past four years is that effective teaching is, first and foremost, rooted in the relationship with students. I consider myself as a person sharing with them a mutual challenge, which rests on the commitment to a continuous personal growth.