JFTF Spotlight on Divya Chaudhry
Throughout the year, the CFT highlights the work of their Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Divya Chaudhry shares about her work as a Fellow.
I am a senior lecturer in Hindi-Urdu at Vanderbilt University, passionate about teaching Hindi and Urdu languages, as well as South Asian culture. My instructional decision making can be best described as intentional and reflective, centered on meeting the needs of learners, with the ultimate aim of fostering learner autonomy.
The majority of my own schooling was characterized by a culture of obedience, where questioning the teacher was discouraged, and rote memorization was prioritized over critical thinking and discussion. Teacher’s phrase ‘finger on the lips’ was our cue to be quiet and work silently. Inspired by my undergraduate and graduate experiences that provided me with a contrasting educational experience in which asking questions was both acceptable and expected, I am determined to create dynamic and engaging learning experiences that empower students to think critically and participate actively in their education.
As a result, my goal for the JFTF fellowship opportunity was to explore diverse ways of structuring intellectually challenging discussions and engaging with course readings in a meaningful way. I enjoyed observing my peers’ classrooms and gaining insights into how they structure discussions on potentially delicate or controversial themes, while inviting participation and reflection from students.
Now, I am excited to bring these insights back to my own classroom and continue to innovate and create rich and meaningful learning experiences for my students.