My Teaching Philosophy:Literacy and the ability to effectively communicate are the cornerstones of education. My teaching style is based on the following philosophies: composition theory/process based pedagogy, social constructionist theory, critical pedagogy, and cognitive psychology.
In terms of composition theory, I believe that process must be emphasized over product. If students can develop and refine their own writing process, while understanding the various nuances of academic discourses communities and genre specific writing, they will be capable of effectively writing to a given audience with a specific purpose. In the words of Peter Elbow, the renowned composition scholar, the focus should be on helping to develop better writers, not better papers. To achieve this end, the concept of writing process is interwoven throughout the class. By addressing correctness and propriety last, students begin to understand that developing a strong writing process will eventually lead to a strong product.
Social constructionist theory in composition primarily focuses on the way in which audience (community) shapes the discourse of community. The concept of collaboration is also privileged in that knowledge and reality are “mediated by or constructed through language in social use as socially constructed, contextualized, as in short, the product of collaboration (Lunsford)." These concepts provide the rational for posting position papers, peer review workshops, writing for real audiences, and the sharing of our learning in the classroom.
Critical Pedagogy plays a role through the equalizing relationship between the students and the instructor. That is, although the students and the instructor have different levels of expertise, learning is explicitly seen as a two way street where all participants learn from one another. Moreover, students are given opportunities to actively create knowledge whether it’s through the verbal interaction in class discussion or the concrete creation of knowledge through writing papers and giving presentations. These are all exercises in critical consciousness, which enables the participants to see themselves as agents rather than passive, static consumers of information.
Lastly, Cognitive Psychology factors into my teaching philosophy primarily through the concepts of self-regulated learning and metacognition. Self-regulated learning encompasses metacognition, planning, monitoring and evaluating one’s progress. (Zimmeran). These concepts are embedded into the daily freewrites, journals, and opportunities for revision throughout the class. Ultimately, it’s through self-regulated learning that students not only become independent learners as they begin to understand the process of learning itself but also life long learners as well.