Katherine J. Robinson
Statement of Teaching Philosophy

I agree with Erika Lindeman when she asserts that one of the major roles of the instructor is to “build a community of writers who encourage one another to use one another to use writing to make meaning and effect change” (255) within that community and the larger society. In the development of cultural and community-oriented discursive spaces, one  important goals of the writing classroom is communication. I believe that the writing class should focus on mentoring the student past the fears and doubts by providing the tools to examine the world critically and communicate ideas clearly and creatively. Through practical and tangible application as well as the development of critical thinking, reading, and revision skills students are encouraged to excel. Additionally, I establish a collaborative atmosphere where students act as peer-teachers when talking informally with friends and classmates inside and outside of class.

In addition to the creation of cultural and community-oriented discursive spaces, one of the important goals of the writing classroom is communication. Talking with my students, I find that the biggest hurdle is getting started. The student knows that he or she has something to say. However, there are some very serious fears regarding the communication process. Once I share my own trials and tribulations as a writer, I find that the collective anxiety fades away. The writing class should focus on mentoring the student past the fears and doubts by providing the tools to examine the world critically and communicate ideas clearly and creatively.

In the writing class, the writing assignments are recursive in that each assignment connects to both past and future writing assignments. In addition to the discussion of critical reading and thinking skills, the writing act of revision is an important tool for the student to practice. For example, class begins with a journal question that links an assigned reading with the rhetoric topic of the moment—audience, evidence, and ethos. Other portions of class discussion include the student’s incorporation of that rhetoric topic into his or her own life as well as the student’s engagement with technologies to move beyond the classroom. In addition to the discussions of critical reading and thinking skills, the writing act of revision is an important tool for the student to begin practicing. To that end, I have included different types of editing into the class structure including peer group invention and rough draft workshops as well as individual meetings with the instructor.

Through practical and tangible application as well as the development of critical thinking, reading, and revision skills students are encouraged to excel. Additionally, I try to provide a collaborative atmosphere where students can act as peer-teachers when talking informally with friends and classmates inside and outside of class.
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