Simply put, I consider myself a pedagogist, i.e. someone who is interested in gaining expertise in the art and science of teaching and learning. Some scholars use terms like instruction and training as well but I find them somewhat indicative of the inherent hierarchy in the current educational systems, which is better captured in the term pedagogue. The role of a pedagogist, in my understanding, is to collaborate with teachers and educators to create inclusive and equitable learning environments for our students to be, know, and do with autonomy and intention. I work for and with teachers and scholars toward creating a system where people’s motivations in education are not fueled by power differentials, but rather by the dream for creating a just society.
With a dream as big, I believe in sharing the responsibility of achieving social justice and equity through education. Thus, as a teacher educator and scholar, I am in interested in helping teachers consciously design and create inclusive and creative environments for learning, innovatively using technology to steer systems that perpetuate injustice.
On the intersections of social power, creativity, and technology, I play with ideas to better understand how we, human beings, use tools to make sense of our world and transform it. As we create ourselves with and through texts and tools, we create an understanding of our realities, too. With these, how do we find meaning for us and our world? And what meaning do we create?
I am passionate about teaching in higher education contexts. Over past few years, I have had the opportunity to teach and work with students at multiple levels and contexts. I have taught engineers and preservice teachers at the undergraduate level, in-service teachers at the graduate level, and conducted several professional development workshops with international teaching assistants and graduate students at university level, and in-service teachers in k-12 settings. I have also worked as an educational counselor for over 2 years in India, working one-on-one with students regarding their educational development and career. While teaching at both undergraduate and graduate level, i have taught in face-to-face, online, and hybrid or blended (partially face-to-face and online) formats.
Additionally, I have also interacted with small groups of 4-5 students as a fellow with the residential college in the arts and humanities discussing intricacies of learning a foreign language (Hindi), led several workshops as an inside teaching fellow at the graduate school, and hosted, produced, and conducted webinars that were shared publicly on the internet. My students have ranged from freshmen to in-service teachers with over ten years of experience, in settings where section sizes have ranged from as low as one student to 120, and even sessions intended for bigger and live audience over the internet. In all these, I have received highly positive student evaluations as well as part of the team that was awarded the MSU-AT&T Best Blended course award of excellence in 2015 for creating a synchronous video conferencing and collaboration classroom for an undergraduate level course.
My approach to teaching comes from a rich array of lenses— deeply connected to my background, interests, and my stance towards education. My background in engineering, my passion for science as a way of knowing, my love of cinema as a medium for expression, and my understanding of the socio-cultural nature of learning have all influenced how i approach the act of teaching. Thus, i value learning that is both grounded in knowledge of the discipline yet is not bounded by it. At heart is an understanding of the deeply humanistic nature of learning and thus seeks to address the learner in a holistic manner. Therefore, I seek to critically address multiple ways of being, knowing, and doing through an emphasis on three approaches that have always held true: humanizing pedagogies, enacted within multiliteracies framework to mobilize knowledge. To me, each of these provides a unique perspective on the process of learning even while being deeply interconnected with each other. Throughout my teaching, irrespective of the format, I have attempted to create humanizing learning environments that encourage multiple voices and multiple ways of being, knowing, and doing. I encourage my students to reflect on where they stand in the society, critically question what they know about the world, and contribute their understanding back to society. For this reason, I often dialogue with my students around critical issues of race and gender equity, media literacy, scientific literacy, creativity, and the role of technology.
Being a transnational, multilingual, immigrant researcher of color from a transdisciplinary background in engineering, science, and cinema, I am critical of colonial influences on identity and literacies and seek inclusive and non-normative ways of thinking about education. Thus, my broad interests blended with my personal and educational experiences takes various forms and raise interdisciplinary questions that cut across multiple methods and approaches. To organize my work, I label them under two overarching categories: critical educational technology, which includes writings on decolonizing and humanizing teaching and learning with technology and rethinking what it means to be/become literate today, and transdisciplinary thinking, which includes writings on the topics of creativity, aesthetics, morality, what STEM education means and how it is different from imagining STEM disciplines, and finally what knowledge is considered of most worth.