Teaching Philosophy

Hello, thank you for visiting my Teaching Philosophy.

One important step toward fulfilling my teaching philosophy is to encourage an environment where ideas can be formed and critical thinking fostered through discussion. To this end, I want to set up my classroom as a roundtable of sorts (albeit with desks most likely). And despite my internship classroom not being set up this way (it may have been due to constraints of the size of the classroom), I want to prioritize this setup in order to create a more conducive atmosphere for a collaborative based model of learning. From my past teaching experience, I realize how something as seemingly simple as the setup of a classroom can influence learning. In fact, throughout my undergrad and the handful of graduate courses I have taken, the courses that were set up for discussion physically in conjunction to practice were where I gained the most insights. Lad Tobin’s metaphor of a party host might be most apt in this regard: facilitating discussion though the instructor is nominally in charge of the proceedings. Though, I assure I will fulfil many metaphors when teaching the class, the party host may be the most central to my philosophy.

Also in line with our readings and the goals of the English department, I want to heavily incorporate digital technologies into the classroom curriculum, allowing students to write in multiple genres and to start thinking about audience and rhetorical situations in a digital environment. Toward a scaffolding method, just as students are familiar with some conventions of genre such as comedy or horror, I believe students inherently understand aspects of audience in regards to how they curate their online presence or present themselves to different people (their grandmother versus a friend for example). I hope to use this prior knowledge to foster further critical thinking, reflection, and translate it to other forms of composition they may not be as familiar with.

As far as how I compose myself, I want to follow in some manner Peter Elbow adherence to “liking” a student’s writing and having the comments on their paper be a part of a conversation. While at the same time I realize the constraints of some of his revolutionary ideas in grading which cannot be implemented realistically at FSU, his call for a process-oriented outlook of students’ work is integral to how I will approach their writing and the assigning grades. I will ultimately encourage students to revise often in order to make sure they are fulfilling the requirements of the assignment. On a further note regarding commenting on students’ work, I hope to emulate some of the ideas brought forth by Donald Daiker’s “Learning to Praise.” Especially in an early college course before students have gained confidence, praise can be as important as criticism. This desire stems from aspects of empathy as well as the practical evidence of positive encouragement as a motivating factor. It is something that I believe was a weak point in my prior teaching experience and which I wish to revise when I teach at FSU.

In line with the previous notions of grading, commenting on assignments, and giving agency to students, in what will probably the most difficult aspects of my teaching philosophy to navigate,  I want to make sure to allow for other voices in students’ compositions. A piece read for McElroy’s course,  Steven J. Corbett’s “Tutoring Style, Tutoring Ethics,” advocates through his summarizing of Nancy Grimm, “negotiating assignment sheets to see if there might be any room for student creativity or even resistance; making students aware of multiple ways of approaching writing tasks and situations.” It is important to create assignments where students might use of their own subjectivity, voice, and even nonstandard dialects outside of Grammar A. Allowing this can empower students and give them voice and agency. Inoue was correct in assuming that racism is “occurring in the way we judge language” as variation is intrinsic to language and the seemingly codified academic or stand English is not fixed but an evolving discourse. Ryster in "When the First Voice" also touches upon this subject and makes valid points as to maintaining diversity in language and experience.