Teacher name: Valeria
Teachers share a significant responsibility in shaping students’ long-life learning approach. Although my teaching is eclectic and resist a clear philosophical classification, however it is possible to identify some fundamental values I always attempt to rely on; first of all conveying contents in an attractive way in order to keep students’ attention. Based on my experience, the constant search for new teaching materials together with the support of new technologies is a powerful combination to stimulate young people’s curiosity. Secondly, another important theme of my teaching I will emphasize is student autonomy. The teacher should provide students with learning skills needed to create independent study and research methodologies. I think that the best way to achieve this is to offer a wide range of academic contributions to a specific subject and encourage students in their own research papers to move beyond the mere description and make constructive suggestions.
During my Ph.D course I gave lectures on Chinese language and literature as Assistant Professor and worked for a project of e-learning Chinese lessons in order to provide courses with innovative tools. Both the two experiences have contributed to improve my teaching skills and methods and a deeper knowledge about modern and contemporary Chinese literature.
My work experience as Italian teacher and tutor in China from 2010 to 2013 allowed me to improve my knowledge of teaching and research methodologies as well as linguistic and literary analysis with focus on contemporary society and culture, language learning and comparative studies including Asian-European studies.
From September 2013 to July 2014 I worked as Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Sichuan University of Chengdu giving lectures in both Chinese and English. I was also responsible for the coordination of the Institute’s Comparative Literature programme organising lessons about Chinese and Western Literature and Cultures with a comparativistic approach.
When I taught at “L’Orientale” University I was part of a teacher teamwork responsible of developing an e-learning course on modern and contemporary Chinese literature. The team goal was to create an interactive context on Chinese history and society, including art, cinema and literature, which could provide the literary subject of greater depth and complexity and encourage a multidisciplinary approach. As a result, we had some success in creating a learning environment in which students could improve their synthesis capabilities and critical opinion.
Interaction with students is also essential to my approach; I tend to encourage informal discussion and I use to consider eventual learning problems as important feedbacks for my teaching. When planning a curriculum I am always aware of their different learning needs and styles, what they have already learned and what they will need to learn in the future. Listen to students has been crucial to improve myself as a teacher.
As for this issue, my experience as teacher of Comparative Literature at Sichuan University has been crucial; listening to students’ feedbacks has helped me to adapt my course according to their specific learning modes which, of course, were in part determined by their cultural background. When developing a seminar on the function of myth in literature I attempted to integrate it with some discussions about the use of myth in ancient Greek and Latin literature which have been useful not only to a deeper understanding of modern and contemporary Western authors, but have also provided students with hints about new research interests.