last updated 23rd May, 2016

Personal information

Ráhel Katalin Turai's profile picture

Contact me at: turair@ceu.edu

  • First name: Ráhel Katalin
  • Last name: Turai

CEU profile

This link will lead you to my CEU profile as a PhD-student at the Gender Studies Department: 


For my PhD Dissertation and MA thesis, follow this link to the CEU Library's catalog:   http://bit.do/turai-theses

Curriculum Vitae

"Introduction to Gender Studies" Course Syllabus 1.

"Productive challenges in sexual biographical interviewing": Session design 1.

"Dilemmas of women’s and sexual liberation in post-socialist global capitalism" Session design 2.

Interactive lecture

My lecture with the ppt above

"The Nature of Performativity" (TAship): Course Syllabus 2.

Creative Commons license

Introduction to my page and its structure

Welcome to my teaching portfolio page!

Here you can see my thinking process about teaching and learning Gender Studies. My Teaching Philosophy Statement below rests upon my teaching experiences so far, which are documented with course- and session plans, listed in my CV as well.

   On the left side of the page you can find the materials used in the classes and courses I actually taught.


The items on the right side reflect my development process as an instructor, including session and assignment plans not realized yet.                                                                                                                                                          


The following Teaching Philosophy Statement contains references to all of these elements.


Teaching Philosophy

For a scholar in Gender Studies like me, teaching faces particular challenges and, at the same time, opportunities. Based on my teaching opportunities so far (see my CV), I highlight two of these, and propose that a constructivist approach to learning addresses them the most effectively. One concerns the academic integration of the field, therefore the characteristics of the classes to be taught; another concerns the relationship between scholarship and everyday experiences.

First, due to the ambiguous academic acknowledgement of Gender Studies as a discipline, classes are either foundational/introductory for those unfamiliar with the discipline, or focus around very specific topics for graduate students, which two require different strategies. During my teaching assistantship at CEU Gender Department for a nationally diverse MA class on performativity theories, we could immerse into the internal debates of my special research interest. On the other hand, leading an extra-curricular, Hungarian-language BA course in the László Rajk College for Advanced Studies of BCE University required an overall, interdisciplinary view of Gender Studies. There the main question was how I can bring such a view closer to the students (see the two syllabi).

Second, just as in my research, I follow a constructivist-performative approach to learning as well, understanding knowledge as acquired through application, trough interaction with the world (see Biggs and Tang 2011). Owing to the specificities of Gender Studies based on feminism, everyday experiences heavily inform and are informed by scholarship. Therefore, in foundational courses in particular, I encourage students to make personal connections, but always with attention to interpret those in scholarly frames as the basis upon which feminist theories can be applied (Ambrose et al. 2010). In both types of courses, I see my role as facilitating students’ critical thinking processes (see Kugel 1993), therefore my main teaching goals are that the students become able to interpret phenomena through theoretical concepts of the discipline, as well as to be able to reconstruct and then critically question (deconstruct) texts and discourses (see my assignment plan).

In order to reflect these two main concerns in teaching/learning strategies, I understand discussions and debates as key for engaging with feminist theories. In each of my courses, each student is required to present shortly a reading, always together with one or two questions which they think can start a discussion (see my sample syllabus in the Annex). This works well for both types of courses, because it gives students a feeling of relative expertise in one area, even if they have limited or diverse previous knowledge. I sometimes divide the group in two to model a debate with pro and contra arguments (e.g., about decriminalizing prostitution). Here the main challenge I faced during my Rajk College course (and I am still learning how to handle) is the guidance of the direction of debates: how to point out the scholarly implications without imposing those on the students, since students learn most effectively through internalized processes of exploration of a research question. However, at the same time, I have learnt that they also need guidance to be aware of broader structural issues (e.g., of the extent of violence against women by their male partners, or of the economic need for women’s unpaid care work).

Gender Studies is a very text-focused discipline on the one hand, and I consider close reading as playing an important role in it. For this, following what worked well during my CEU TA-ship, as assignments I ask for summaries of key quotes or key concepts covered during the course. Written assignments are ideally both shorter and longer, combining the reconstruction of theoretical arguments and their application to a specific case (see the assignment plan). On the other hand, owing to the everyday relevance of feminism, a great deal of media resources can be used as well, allowing for multi-methodological teaching and learning practices (Michielsens 2009). They are especially useful on the introductory level to demonstrate that theories and everyday cases appear as in dialogue, and students can link them to one another (see the CTL course plan).

Similarly informed by the aforementioned constructivist approaches, I view teaching and learning as a process, where points of transformation are important, both in course design and thinking (see Wiggings and McTighe 2005, Biggs and Tang 2011). I can rely on the transformation of my own feminist thinking towards a more critical-structural one when facilitating students’ gradual understanding. I thus find regular, mutual feedback necessary, which partly takes place verbally during classes. However, discussions might not be comfortable to all (myself included), even if I moderate them in order to give voice to everyone, therefore I often ask students to write down their preliminary thoughts before entering a debate. Based on my experience both at CEU and in Rajk College, it works well if they get written feedback throughout the term on presentations as well as on written assignments, even possibly replacing grading.

Moving to the Gender Institute at Humboldt University, Berlin as a research fellow in 2016 Spring/Summer term has provided me with opportunities to familiarize with, and teach in, the German academic context, as I was also invited to lead a methodology seminar on ‘Productive challenges in sexual biographical interviewing’ at the Georg-August University of Göttingen. Expecting more opportunities to teach both introductory and specialized classes primarily in Hungary, I am most equipped to teach courses on Qualitative (feminist) methodologies; Language and gender/sexuality; Sociology of sexuality; Feminism and sexual Movements in Central-Eastern Europe; Bisexuality, women and men. I envision my future as expanding my knowledge also onto topics less familiar to me to involve students in a shared – coherent, reflective, and critical – thinking process.



Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., Norman, M. K., & Mayer, R.E. (2010). How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. Jossey-Bass.

Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill and Open University Press.

Kugel, P.  (1993). How Professors Develop as Teachers.  Studies in Higher Education, 18, 315-328.

Michielsens, M. (2009) The Use of Information and Communication technologies in Women’s Studies. In Braidotti, R. & Vonk, E. (eds.) The Making of European Women’s Studies, Utrecht: Athena, 95-100. 

Wiggings, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.



Presentation for Gender Studies Instructors

On 16 April 2018, I gave a presentation for Gender Studies instructors in Kiev, Ukraine in the framework of the project ‘Gender Studies Curriculum: a Step for Democracy and Peace in EU-Neighboring Countries with Different Traditions’ (see also my CV).

Certificate from the Center for Teaching and Learning

The certificate testifies that in June 2016 I completed the Program for Excellence in Teaching in Higher Education by the CEU Center for Teaching and Learning

"Gender and Bodily Comportment" Session plan 2.

Poster for the session plan

The poster for the Gender Studies session plan I co-designed with Edit Jeges and Calvin Keogh for the foundational course at CTL.

Assignment development

Certificate: Gender Studies: Teaching, Learning, and Studying

In March 2017 I participated in the "Gender Studies: Teaching, Learning, and Studying" International School (held in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine) as a trainer.

Certificate: Gender Studies: Learning, Research, and Practice

In April 2018 I participated in the "Gender Studies: Learning, Research, and Practice" Conference (held in Kiev, Ukraine).

Leading workshop discussion

I prefer to collect and then organize participants' ideas using a board, and thus highlighting the key concepts and their connections.