My pedagogical philosophy requires that students engage with the text contextually, historically, and critically from their own perspectives, as I believe retention and application to life outside the classroom, or lived-learning, requires the synthesis of what they already know with what I teach in the classroom. My approach establishes the classroom as the point of learned context (literary criticism and analysis) followed by critical, analytical engagement with text through Socratic-seminar style dialogue. Through student-centered learning and synthesis, I challenge students to expand literary analysis into lived-learning in which students recognize the relevance of what they learn through literature and writing and how it applies to culture, other professions, and society trans-historically. Student-based learning requires students to synthesize pivotal and necessary ideas. My pedagogy puts my teaching persona at the center of the classroom environment where I am facilitator, literary historian/scholar, and guide as they learn to meaningfully construct dialogue and analysis to produce fruitful commentary. Students only retain and understand what they organically produce in thought which is why my philosophy is centered around their uninhibited approach to the texts I teach in class. The best service I can provide is a space where critical thinking is promoted and challenged, which I believe results in lived-learning engaging texts beyond the literature classroom in conversation with history, philosophy, politics, ethics, and various other disciplines.
My end goal of making the study of literature applicable to other disciplines and professional life functions through providing students with proper context to understand texts so that they may engage with them. Reading dated material often proves immensely challenging for students, making the establishment of foundational understanding essential to their confidence in producing critical readings. Teaching thorough context is of critical importance as no literature can be read in a vacuum or a-historically. In my classroom I create a controlled, accessible environment of student-centered learning based on dialogue in which my personality as an instructor is the central tool of engaging students. I demand that they engage with me and with each other to produce in-depth dialogue about the texts we read. This dialogue begins with contextual lecture but quickly moves into large class discussions, small group discussions, and culminates in response writings, which is where I first challenge them to make connections of their own from within the proper context after having been guided through reading and engaging with the text in class. Response writings provide productive exercises for the students and allow me access to their writing style and level of critical thinking. As they continue to produce response writings over the course of the semester, their developments become apparent, whether it be through quality of writing or complexity of ideas, and I know which students will require the most guidance as we move towards producing a research paper or other formal assessments.
My ability to engage students is central to my pedagogical philosophy and practice. Student-based learning is at the core of how I run my classes and how I structure my assignments. The academic perspectives from which they choose to approach texts are incredibly important and valid in my pedagogy, as I believe they must be invested in their topics to learn and succeed. It is my job to make texts approachable. All students are challenged to engage, analyze, synthesize, and come to understandings of texts through working aloud in class discussions or through meeting with peers outside of class, regardless of major or background. I constantly ask challenging questions and if students seem timid, I am reassuring and guide the discussion in productive ways. Students respond extremely well to my teaching style, and quite often students who do not normally engage feel free to do so in my courses. I am rigid in the sense of syllabus, deadlines, and expectations, but as a discussion facilitator, I bring students out of their quiet and safe zones. I use technology and multi-media every class, seeking to prove visually and through video or sound that our discussion of literature and texts are never one-dimensional. My style of teaching is such that I successfully facilitate an environment where all types of students feel comfortable and capable to the degree that they share observations on the text at hand. Allowing students to, in effect, teach and realize for themselves the larger concepts at play in literature is not only the most effective for retention, but also the productive for me as an instructor.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Wyoming - Bachelor in Arts, English
Graduate Degree: University of Wyoming - Master of Arts, English
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