Reflection

These documents are snapshots of my ongoing thinking about and reflection on teaching:

  • Teaching Philosophy: A general statement of my values for teaching and learning.
  • Advising Philosophy, written as part of an application for a university advising award.
  • Administrative Philosophy, which I include here because of the significant aspect of writing program administration that involves teaching.
  • Reflection Essay on workshops offered by MSU’s Center for Faculty Excellence (nee Teaching & Learning Center). Written as part of a Certificate of Teaching Enhancement earned in 2012.
  • “What Is First-Year Composition,” a chapter from A Rhetoric for WPAs (ed. Rita Malenczyk, 2013/2016), in which I offer a philosophy of the role of first-year college writing courses.

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig critiques a dispiritingly widespread philosophy of writing instruction:

Another thing that depressed him was prescriptive rhetoric, which had supposedly been done away with but was still around. This was the old slap-on-the-fingers-if your-modifiers-were-caught-dangling stuff. Correct spelling, correct punctuation, correct grammar. Hundreds of itsy-bitsy rules for itsy-bitsy people. No one could remember all that stuff and concentrate on what he was trying to write about. It was all table manners, not derived from any sense of kindness or decency or humanity. (183)

The core of my ideals for teaching are understanding it as creating experience rather than delivering content, focusing on truth-telling and radical transparency, and connecting conceptions and performance. I am not trying to change my students’ knowledge of writing, I’m trying to change my students as writers.

 

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