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Faculty Spotlight: Ana Maria Menda

By Ana Maria Menda

Faculty Spotlight: Ana Maria Menda

By Ana Maria Menda
This Assistant Professor of Practice at the School of Education and Human Development believes "there’s no teaching without learning." Get to know her in this faculty spotlight!
What led you to become a professor?

I was a public school teacher before becoming a professor. My master’s advisor told me about a Ph.D. fellowship in Special Education I might be interested in and I applied.

Do you believe that what you teach your students can relate to their everyday life?

Absolutely. We cover topics such as race and racism, language hegemony, and disability—all topics that are real and relevant to everyday life.

How do you engage your students in the classroom?

I listen to their stories and how they relate to articles, chapters and other materials of the course. I also like to use video clips, visual thinking strategies, podcasts, and game-based learning to keep the lectures engaging. Most importantly, we discuss critical topics that are engaging by nature.

Why do you teach?

Because I believe in the content of my lectures, the voices of my students, and in their power to make the world a better place.

What is your teaching philosophy?

Based on Paulo Freire’s philosophy - there’s no teaching without learning.

How did you develop your approach to teaching?

Over the years, based on what has touched me, what content is supported by research, what is most relevant to my students.

What are your goals as a professor?

For my students to walk away with a love for teaching and learning.

What is your best advice for someone thinking of entering this field of study?

Search for a place where you can have a voice and where your research interests match those of the faculty with which you will be working.