Skip to main content

Teaching Philosophy

In sociology, we spend a lot of time discussing and dissecting reasons and consequences of social inequality. My mission as an educator does not stop with my students’ mastery of the content of the class. I am pushing for more. I want my students to apply sociological concepts to understand and to solve real world problems. My students ought to become active and well-informed citizens and community leaders.

To achieve that, I strive to broaden students’ horizon and to deepen their critical thinking skills. The road to success starts with an inclusive syllabus that represents authors from different gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds. I will not compose a specific ‘minority’ or ‘gender’ week, but rather have a syllabus that overall reflects more than just the White Middle-Class American narrative.

I encourage students to question everything, but they must use factual and theoretical evidence from a respectable academic source to back up their ideas. I am a proponent of the student-centered approach, hence my role in the classroom switches back and forth from a formal lecturer, to a discussion moderator. I employ various strategies – lectures, visual media, interactive individual and small group exercises and classroom discussions – to accommodate different learners. 

I couple carefully selected diverse readings with hands-on exercises to engage students in every step of the learning process. For example, I would use an in-class experiment to demonstrate how prejudice arises; organize a debate for students to get familiar with arguments of both sides regarding affirmative action policies; or ask to conduct a content analysis of a Disney movie to see what messages are being send to viewers of different genders.

I am accessible to students after class during office hours and via email, which ensures that the learning does not stop when students exit my class. 

I use a cumulative grading system to assess students’ learning outcomes. Their final grade depends on their level of engagement in the classroom (participation), on their content mastery (tests and the final exam), and abilities to apply theoretical concepts to real-world challenges (papers and projects). I also use reflective writing exercises and student feedback throughout semester to informally assess their learning process, prevent future crises, and to adapt my teaching style to the environment of a specific class or cohort. 

In conclusion, my classroom is a place where diverse academic discovery happens, where students’ views are challenged by the facts grounded in theory and rigorous research, and where theoretical knowledge gets transformed into concrete future action plans.


Popular posts from this blog

Sunni and Shia Muslims in Georgia: a Societal Margin in Motion? (in the Caucasus Analytical Digest, #81)


This article offers a concise overview of the different Muslim groups in Georgia, and discusses their identity issues and socioeconomic situation as well as the current actions of the state directed towards their integration. The Muslim communities in Georgia, which consist primarily of Azeri, Adjarians and Kist, generally form a marginal group in society since they are not perceived to be full members of the Georgian nation due to their confessional background and, in case of Azeri and Kist, linguistic factors. A large majority of the Muslims in Georgia also live in rural regions where the overall economic and social predicament often negatively differ from that in the majority culture and in urban areas. Hence the question is whether specific socioeconomic conditions and identity issues and alienation contribute to forms of radicalization among Georgia’s Muslim communities or whether there are dynamics of integration in Georgian society.

Georgian Muslims are strangers in their own country (Mar 2015)

The Republic of Georgia is an avowedly Christian country, but one out of every ten Georgian citizens is Muslim.
The Republic of Georgia is an avowedly Christian country, but one out of every ten Georgian citizens is Muslim. Eye-catching headlines in recent months have touched on the ethnic Chechen and Kist villages of Pankisi Gorge in the country’s north-west. A small number of residents have left for Iraq and Syria, to fight and die for ISIS. But the story of Islam in Georgia today neither begins nor ends with foreign jihad.

Radicalization in Georgia: a self-fulfilling prophesy?

Georgia's Pankisi Gorge has been portrayed as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. Its ethnic Kist residents suffer poverty and discrimination – a distant government and sensationalist media coverage alienate them further.
A narrow valley in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, Pankisi Gorge is back on the local and international media radar. In fact, Pankisi has been the centre of attention for the past year after it wasdiscovered in June 2014 that Abu Omar Al-Shishani, a leading commander in Islamic State, was born and raised here.