As an instructor, my pedagogical practices and philosophies have been heavily informed by my work in the writing center, where I have accumulated over four years of experience, first as a tutor and now as an administrator. In the writing center, I am able to work collaboratively with students; similarly, in the composition classroom, I also see myself in the role of collaborator, helping facilitate students’ learning while guiding them toward a greater understanding of thoughtful and effective communication. I consider the composition classroom to be an opportunity to build an inclusive, culturally responsive writing community that honors students’ humanity and immanent value. By using a process-oriented approach, and by creating an active learning environment that is dialogical, student-centered, and inquiry-based, I hope to establish a classroom that fosters transferable skills and provides a transformational learning experience.
I want my students to see the possibilities inherent in the composing process and approach it purposefully. To achieve this, I will help them become rhetorically adept writers, able to not only understand and adapt to the conventions of existing and emerging genres, but also understand their own role in the evolution of those genres. By helping my students acquire multiple literacies and learn to compose in multiple modes, I want them to understand how making purposeful rhetorical moves in the composition classroom is a skill that will transfer into any writing context.
My writing center work has taught me the value of learning from the experiential and ideological differences of others as peers, without respect to hierarchy. Therefore, just as I want my students to learn collaboratively with and from one another, I want to listen to and learn from my students, and adapt to their needs by teaching in a way that expands, rather than limits, access to students from non-dominant discourse communities. This will be accomplished through a culturally sustaining, justice-oriented approach that supports students as they transition to academic and professional discourse communities, and encourages them to interrogate the ways in which linguistic hierarchies and discrimination have been normalized and codified. My assignment design and assessment practices will also reflect my belief that labor and growth should be valued over strict adherence to culturally-exclusive rules of language and writing. Through this approach, I hope that my students learn to interrogate the ways in which our world is rhetorically shaped through exchanges of knowledge and power, as well as the role of language in creating and sustaining a systemically unjust world. Most importantly, I want my students to understand the potential inherent in language and writing in making a world that is more just, as well as their own agency in using them toward that end.