As far back as I can remember, I have always been passionate about learning. Perhaps that is the reason I ultimately became passionate about teaching. I delight in the moments when new ideas spark enthusiasm in my students; when they connect with the inner joy of learning; when their quest for becoming educated is no longer driven by fulfilling an obligation, but has blossomed into a search for wisdom and truth.
Becoming an educated person may begin in the classroom, but it is, in essence, a life-long journey. It is a constant search for higher understanding and deeper insight; for new frontiers and broader horizons. It is a thirst that may be stilled for a time, but never quenched.
I believe, as did Paulo Freire, one of the influential 20th Century authors on pedagogy, that true education cannot happen via “depositing” knowledge into students, but rather through “drawing it out” from them. I am in my element when my students and I gather in discussion groups; where the topic has been selected by a student and everyone has already prepared for the discussion. It is only through this interactive process, centered on student initiative and participation, that we can all learn, together and from each other, even as I provide the framework for that learning and take advantage of the teachable moments in the discussion to illuminate concepts relevant to the learning objectives. My classes begin with short lectures followed by extended discussions based on questions that encourage critical thought and a search for balanced solutions. I believe that, often, the true answer resides not in the middle of two opposite sides of an issue, but in an unexpectedly creative synthesis of elements present in both.
I aspire to be a professor who inspires her students to become independent investigators of the truth; to take up learning as a life journey; and to leave this planet better for having lived on it.
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This website is your portal to learning about what you can expect in courses offered by Professor Roya Akhavan, Ph.D.
Education for Life