Philosophy of Teaching

My purpose in teaching writing is to help students think critically and to articulate their ideas to others in scholarly and creative ways. I believe my students can learn to do that. It’s why I teach. This basic belief drives my entire teaching philosophy, but other factors also influence me.

I believe that

Learning liberates. Therefore I expose my students to new ideas and experiences, ask thought-provoking questions that lead to meaningful class discussion, and encourage intellectual exploration. I demonstrate my love of learning by showing interest and enthusiasm for the subject, not only in the classroom but by pursuing my own intellectual exploration and keeping current with contemporary thinking.

Teachers guide students to be self-learners. Therefore I provide interesting and effective assignments and explain the rationale for each. I provide motivation for students to complete their work on time and to a high standard.

Learning is built on previous knowledge; reading and writing are the building blocks.Therefore students are often given the opportunity to explain concepts they know or are learning. Assignments are designed to push them to discover more. In addition to their major writing projects, students are assigned low-stakes writing activities so they can practice the skill of articulating their critical thinking in creative ways.

Feedback must be geared toward improvement. Therefore I provide clear standards of evaluation so students know what is expected. I provide significant feedback at the draft stage so I can direct them towards substantive changes that will strengthen their writing. I review their final work for evaluation, but also offer input that will help them improve future writing. I give specific feedback on what they did well and what they can work on. I return work quickly so students won’t lose momentum.

The class is a learning community. Therefore students lead class discussions so they have ownership of the conversation. They are also taught how to engage in meaningful collaborative work.

Teachers set the tone for the learning experience. Therefore I treat each student with respect and encourage mutual respect for each other. I am open about my own stories and beliefs so they can feel comfortable sharing their own. I divide each class period into several blocks of various learning activities to maintain interest and focus.