Felipe G. Santos

Teaching Philosophy

I am passionate about social change and this passion inspires my reflections about how social sciences should be taught. I enjoy understanding the causes that led to a political and social outcome and the strategies of the different groups to influence the result. I am also intrigued to explore the arguments of those I do not agree with to have a clearer picture of how they reason and why they think the way they do. When I teach, I try to inspire my students to feel that passion, the will to connect theories and practice, and to think critically while being empathetic to the position of the other. This way of teaching is based on three reflections. First, learning social sciences should be guided by our curiosity to better understand society. Second, theories and concepts are easier to learn when we connect them to real events. Finally, a good teacher must be a constant learner, and this is achieved through research excellence.

You can find my full teaching philosophy here.

Teaching Experience

I have been teaching assistant in both methodological and theoretical courses. Trough these experiences I saw the importance of learning through curiosity. Especially during statistics courses, students are many times reticent to engaging with the course and think that quantitative methods are just not for them. Once the teacher is able to show how statistics help us to better understand even simple features of our daily lives, students are much more receptive to the content of the course. During the sessions I taught during the courses European Integration, and Social Movements & Democracy, I was able to experiment and put into practice my reflections about teaching.

This is the list of courses I have been involved in:

  • Social Justice Frameworks in Action (syllabus)

  • ​Social Movements, Contentious Politics and Democracy (syllabus)

  • ​Jean Monnet Module on European Integration (syllabus)

  • ​Advanced Multi-Method Research (PhD level) (syllabus)

  • ​Quantitative Methods for MA Students (syllabus)

  • ​Research Design and Methods in International Relations (syllabus)

Teaching Development

Since well before my PhD studies I was curious about how we learn and how to teach. I have been a non-formal education trainer for two years at AEGEE-Europe. To prepare for this engagement, I participated in a one-week intensive course called 'Training for Trainers', where we tried to unpack how we all learn in order to develop trainings that would engage and motivate the volunteers of the organization. This experience taught me the importance of curiosity and innovation for the process of learning. As the trainings were developed from the perspective of non-formal education, I learned how to develop dynamic activities aimed at facilitating the learning process.

Since the beginning of my PhD studies, I have always been convinced that being a good teacher is a crucial component of becoming an academic, especially in the social sciences. If we want to have a positive impact in the world with our research, we need to be able to make it available and relevant for society beyond the generally narrow academic circles. For this reason, I have given great importance to developing my teaching skills participating in the Program for Excellence in Teaching in Higher Education, created by the Center for Teaching and Learning of the Central European University. This program gave me the space to reflect about different strategies to teaching, the objective and context where each of them could work best and how to adapt them to my discipline and students' needs. Within this program, I have attended the following seminars: