Experience is Gold

Having a theatre background allowed me to perform the role of a teacher long before I felt I was one. Now my ego has inflated to the point where I know I am a good teacher, thanks to being consistently rated at the top of end of the scale by students and course participants for well over a decade. Who would bother to keep up a benign collective lie for that long? I enjoy watching eyes light up around the room – it makes all the prep worth it. The best part about teaching is that I love it.

Woke Teaching Pedagogy

Teaching ought to be engaging, fun, and societally relevant without compromising intellectual thought. You will definitely find me at the let- me- build- you- up end of pedagogy. I am committed to awakening intellectual curiosity and developing critical thinking & reflexivity. Most of the courses I teach are on topics, which the participants are far from indifferent about. My experience is that I have to tap into the preconceptions and opinions on said themes, before I can begin to teach, unpack, or deconstruct opinions, readings, or academic arguments in any meaningful way. I have the ability to make interactive teaching work, even in very large groups. I do my bit to try to decolonize the academy, and I talk openly with my students about the selection of their readings. Need I remind you that one of my students wrote ‘Every lecture is an academic nirvana’ on her course evaluation form? You can basically consider ‘academic nirvana’ my teaching pedagogy.

Fun Teaching Style

I am informal, and pretty down to earth in the classroom. This may be because I am comfortable in my own skin (well, at least my teacher skin). My teaching is increasingly interactive. It makes sense to me to get a sense of where the participants are at. I ought to add that if someone has the strong desire to speak enthusiastically about say shoelaces in the middle of a class on religion, I have a friendly but firm way of bringing a conversation back on track. I sprinkle my teaching with humour, visual material, theatrical elements, and storytelling techniques. But, hey, let’s be honest, I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I think some people may think of me as too much of a: fast talker, performer, or simply see me as frivolous – all of which are ‘insults’ I can live with. Still, for the most part, my enthusiasm for knowledge and teaching appears to be contagious.

Expansive Teaching Repertoire

I have a broad teaching repertoire. I teach all levels of university students, practitioners, Introduction Programme participants, and the general public. I have taught classes on: gender, religion, social media, popular culture, humour, religion, media & conflict, anthropology of the Middle East, contemporary Islam, identity politics in the Nordic context, managing diversity, and the Arab Spring, to name a few. I also teach diversity training courses. I designed and taught the Middle East Anthropology BA course for Middle East Studies, at the University of Oslo (2003, 2012). I also redesigned and taught the Media, Religion, and Conflict course in 2018, as well as contributed to teaching previous years.  On occasion, I give guest lectures. For instance in 2018, I was an invited speaker and spoke of ‘Putting the fun back into fundamentalism’ at the Humour and Satire in Europe Summer School, University of Groningen. I also delivered a lecture called ‘Hijacking Religion on Facebook & The Politics of Affect’, at The Religion Values Society Research School, at the University of Bergen in 2018. Oh, and, let’s not forget my recreational teaching: improv  workshops- a sporadic indulgence.

Impromptu Coaching of Peers N’ More

As if counselling and diversity training wasn’t enough, I also organize skills-focused workshops and coach fellow academics in: academic writing, blogging, giving constructive feedback, conference presentations, media appearances, and humorous output. Some coaching sessions materialized simply because I saw the state of angst that a few of my colleagues were in, before giving their first academic talk, and I knew I could increase their comfort levels and help them set higher goals for their talk than ‘please let me not puke on the audience’. Do you need a writing coach or presentation coach? Contact me for an offer. DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, I cannot promise to make you exceptionally funny and/or charismatic.

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