Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that students should be afforded the skills to advocate for themselves and interrogate the world around them. To do this, they need to develop the rhetorical awareness and flexibility to write not only in the classroom, but also in spaces beyond it. One of the biggest issues that students face in the composition classroom stems from them not feeling included in or connected to classroom activities. My approach to teaching decenters the classroom and places me as a collaborator and facilitator, and allows my students to function as my colleagues. This allows students to determine their own outcomes and have a say in the progression of the class throughout the semester. My approach also allows students to practice interrogating the world around them as they practice interrogating various readings in the classroom, as well as the goal of the class itself.

I believe that my teaching should extend beyond the walls of my classroom and my pedagogical approach allows students to see how their work in the classroom translates to whatever environments they inhabit. My pedagogical approach is informed by the work of Deborah Brandt and Geneva Smitherman. As such, I am interested in approaches to literacy and literacy sponsorship, as well as linguistic diversity and how these things should be interrogated, decentered, and in the case of linguistic diversity, preserved. For example, in the composition courses I have taught at the community college level I do not
focus on strict grammatical conventions as much as ways to communicate effectively through writing. However, I do not believe that communication can only take place through text, and for me, a culturally sensitive writing course would not be complete without a multimodal project that allows students to choose the medium through which they communicate.

Moreover, I emphasize through my class construction that collaboration is key to the writing process, and that text has a fluid meaning. By highlighting instances where context is also rhetorical, my students and I can interrogate what these non-text artifacts do, and how we are meant to interact with them. Moreover, situating students in a space that is both collaborative and displaced allows us to see that our classroom is an organism in the larger ecosystem that is literacy education.

While no composition course can teach students to compose in every genre they will encounter in their lives, they can help students develop a critical consciousness of how to approach various rhetorical situations. Students need to be exposed to a variety of cultural approaches in order to develop this necessary critical consciousness.