As an educator and mentor, my work with students is grounded in scholarly teaching, decolonial and anti-oppressive pedagogies (e.g. Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Paolo Freire), and intersectional feminist analytical frameworks (e.g. Kimberlé Crenshaw) that, together, drive my students and I to create brave spaces in which we can work collectively toward the self-actualization and social justice advocacy that lies at the heart of women's, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSS) teaching and learning. My overarching goal is to get my students to think critically about the construction of knowledge and why it matters who gets to say what matters.
Kim begins her historical walking tour on Calgary's sex trade industry. Photo by Michelle Bodner, September 2018.
Scholarly Teaching To my mind, a commitment to scholarly teaching has two components. The first is an ongoing inquiry into the process of teaching itself. In my interdisciplinary field of WGSS, this inquiry is an historically robust one that draws from feminist and other anti-oppression pedagogies, critical race theory, disability studies, queer theory, Indigenous studies, and postcolonial theories with the intent to decentre conventional knowledge paradigms and to make visible that which is typically invisible. I often include scholarship on critical approaches to teaching and learning in my courses as a way to make transparent my own pedagogical praxis. Second, scholarly teaching means bringing my own research questions into my classrooms. Every semester I aim to teach a new group of students about why they need to care about equity and justice and about strategies for achieving them, in their own lives and the lives of others. I’m at my best in my classrooms when the stakes of that conversation are high and at the heart of my own scholarship. This is why I endeavour to use new, politically relevant materials whenever possible, often intentionally choosing things that even I’ve not read or engaged with before. This currency not only maintains a sense of urgency about the central themes of my courses, but it also facilitates genuine learning communities and enables me to model the importance of curiosity for my students, and the willingness to risk making mistakes in order to learn something new.
Universal Instructional Design My commitment to flexibility and to providing an inclusive, supportive learning environment is at the heart of universal design principles. I try not to rely on requests for accommodation (which serve only to remove learning barriers for an individual student). Rather, I approach my course design and delivery in a way that creates spaces that are more fully barrier-free for all my students.
Cristinapilataxi, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Civic Engagement I often joke that it’s my job to spread bad news; WGSS class content and discussions necessarily centre some pretty terrible stuff that doesn’t often get talked about or analyzed elsewhere. But while it’s important that my students learn that this terrible stuff happens, it’s equally crucial that they leave my classes empowered, energized, and equipped with workable strategies to do what they can in their own lives to solve those problems – for themselves and others. Class content, activities, and assignments are all aimed toward this goal of civic engagement. And since social justice advocacy is difficult and exhausting, I also incorporate content and conversations about the importance of relying on each other as a resource.
Photo by Eldan Goldenberg, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Learning Communities Learning to lean on each other means learning to think together as a community of learners. Because I’m attentive to the power dynamics between myself and my students, as well as among students, I use various strategies to maximize engagement and help all my students feel included and valued. This approach reflects my commitment to fostering learner-centred democratic classroom spaces that upend conventional hierarchical power dynamics.
Please click here, or on "Courses" above to see a list of what I teach.