teaching statement

A public exhibition of student essays held at St. Cloud State University in 2014.

I approach every class session with the understanding that students engage in a wide range of textual practices in their everyday lives.

Whether it’s the conventions of Tweeting or posting on Facebook, the cultural phenomenon of memes, or the rhetorical moves presented in Change.org petitions, students in my courses are encouraged to reflect, analyze, discuss, and produce writing in diverse digital contexts. As a writing instructor, I engage students in projects that help them understand these practices as vital and instrumental in shaping and sharing identity, culture, and community.

I continue to find ways to combine student engagement with digital tools and their lived environments.

I have since led students on classroom excursions to generate visual records of their surroundings, reflect on monuments and memorials, capture images to archive the sense of place at our institution, redesign communication technologies, craft visual arguments, create mixtapes, and lead exhibitions of student work for peer review outside the classroom. These activities encourage a number of discussions about how meanings are generated through combinations of modes for a range of audiences and purposes, both inside and outside the classroom.

As a writing instructor, I strongly emphasize a pedagogy informed by research.

A peer-centered and collaborative approach remains at the core of my pedagogy. According to Hattie and Timperley (2007), feedback presents an often untapped, yet powerful source of student learning. Using Eli Review, an online, peer review tool, I have transformed my approach to pedagogy that is now centered on students producing multiple drafts, providing feedback, and engaging in deep revision. Students in my classes have the agency to shape their own personal learning paths. In the spring of 2015, I look forward to enacting a first-year writing course design centered on building and developing personal learning networks. Informed by practices in professional writing pedagogy, I will guide students in constructing and maintaining professional networks, a process that may transfer to skills and success in upper-division coursework and their careers.

I believe that students should play a key role in negotiating their own learning.

I collaborate with students to co-create assessments as we negotiate project criteria, generate value statements, and produce rubrics that are then used for both formative and summative assessment — by both me as well as my students — that replace high-stakes assessment moments and become valuable assets to student learning. While working on multimodal projects, co-creating assignment criteria and rubrics has been a useful way for students to articulate the purposes, elements, and affordances of multimodality (Adsanatham, 2012). While teaching professional and technical communication courses, I will enact a similar approach to ensure that students are actively involved with all stages of their learning process.

As writers orchestrate their ideas, I guide them as they discover their voices and make valuable contributions to issues that matter.

Their instruments, whether advanced web applications or simply pencils and paper, aid them in this process and we discuss the societal structures represented by the technologies we utilize. Throughout my experience teaching composition, I have always ensured access to content and materials and strive for clarity as I provide a range of engaging activities and discussions for students. Most of all, I encourage students to think critically about the value of written communication as a study and practice in the 21st century, actively to empowering students to become agents of change in our increasingly complex, networked society.

Adsanatham, C. (2012). “Integrating Assessment and Instruction: Using Student-Generated Grading Criteria to Evaluate Multimodal Digital Projects.” Computers and Composition 29.2: 152-174.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). “The Power of Feedback.” Review of Educational Research 77: 81-112.