Understanding How Learning and Teaching Coincide
Throughout this semester, I have explored various teaching elements, which have been evident through my blog posts. I have read and analyzed Naming What We Know and learned about the five threshold concepts. I have also thought about how I want to set up my future classroom.
In my first blog of the semester, The Oxymoron of Writers: Dark and Welcoming, I emphasized that I had excellent connections with my professors, especially English professors. I hope to make the same type of connections with my students because these connections influenced me to want to teach. Another reason that I want to teach is that would be that I admire that writing is a continuous learning process. As the students are learning from me, I will be learning from them.
I want to create a welcoming space where people feel free to express themselves. In my first blog I stated, “I hope to show everyone that writers are extremely welcoming. I hope to encourage that inclusivity and inspire students to welcome new ideas, thoughts, and people into their lives. I want people to know that writing is a way for everyone to have their voice heard” (Sibert para. 5) I feel that my goal as a future educator is to get students involved and asking questions about everything. They should be asking questions about themselves, about the processes of things, research, etc. One of my main goals as a professor is to encourage students to challenge themselves and look at things from a different perspective, whether that be a topic or an aspect of the writing process. Self-expression and identity are two aspects that I plan to incorporate in the classroom. One of the threshold concepts that I admire the most is Threshold Concept 3: Writing Enacts and Creates Identities and Ideologies (Adler-Kassner & Wardle). I want to incorporate this threshold concept into my classroom by encouraging students to speak (or write) their voice and pushing them to challenge themselves. They should be asking questions and evolving their thought processes, which will help students learn more about their beliefs. I plan on incorporating discussions on various topics—both academic and nonacademic—to get people comfortable with each other. I also will encourage journaling for the class, so they can come to the next class ready to ask questions and participate in discussions. I will also pose my own questions to the students. I want them to know that it is encouraged to continuously ask questions. I began “The Oxymoron of Writers: Dark and Welcoming” by stating, “Writers can learn from each other, both by discussing with each other and reading other writers’ works” (Sibert para. 1). Asking questions about our peers’ work and speaking about our writing choices can help us grow as writers.
Another way that we can learn and improve as writers each other is through reflection. We can reflect on our own work, as well as the work of our peers. In the scaffolded assignment that I designed, I encourage students to reflect on the writing of their peers but also their own writing. One of the things I emphasized in my first blog is that “good” writing cannot be determined. My thoughts on “good” writing have not changed throughout the semester. In my future classroom, I do not want students to use words such as “good” to describe writing. I want to encourage students to use words such as “effective” or “compelling” for writing. Thus, students will not be commenting on if their work is “good,” but rather if it is “effective.” They will be analyzing and providing feedback to peers, which will give them a chance to also think critically about their own writing and their writing process. I wrote a blog post earlier in the year about the importance of self-reflection in writing; it is a vital part of the writing process because it allows us to better understand our own writing and how we can approve. Taczak states that reflection is how “writers develop and improve” (78). I want to give students the chance to reflect on what they have learned, as well as their own writing process.
In addition to reflecting on writing, I want students to reflect on themselves; however, this self-reflection can lead to writing. In my blog, “Find Yourself in Writing,” there is a video that displays a person expressing their identity through poetry. I find this to be extremely relevant, as I want to encourage students to express themselves however they want. I also am a huge supporter of creative writing, especially poetry, so I plan on using utilizing creative writing as an example in my classroom whenever I can. I want them to be both reading and writing creatively, even if it is just journaling or a flash creative nonfiction piece.
I feel that as a professor, I am a leader. It is not a professor’s job to tell students what to do but rather guide them on how to figure it out themselves. I want to encourage students and supply them with the tools to come to their own conclusions and form their own way of doing things.
The readings and activities in this class have allowed me to explore how I may want to set up my own classroom. Although I am still in the early stages of devising a teaching philosophy, I know that creating a welcoming, safe environment is one of those most important aspects to me. I want to encourage this environment through self-expression, identity, and encouraging the students to challenge themselves. I want to be a guide in their journey of their writing and learning processes. After this class, I have a greater understanding of Threshold Concept 4: All Writers Have More to Learn (Adler-Kassner & Wardle). Students and professors alike will always be learning from each other. Through discussion, research, drafting and peer-reviewing, we will learn new tactics for writing. Writing is a part of everyday life, and I want to emphasize this by setting up the classroom as a community of writers. I don’t want everyone to leave the semester feeling alone. I want them to feel that they have a better understanding of writing, themselves, and each other.
I am excited to see how my teaching philosophy evolves as I continue to experience more of the concepts and have more interactions with professors and students. My teaching philosophy will continue to change as I learn more through my writing and teaching journey.
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Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth A. Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Classroom ed., Utah State University Press, 2016.
“Five Reasons Why Writing is Important.” EssayMasters, 6 September 2019, https://www.essaymasters.co.uk/five-reasons-why-writing-is-important-in-real-world.
Fleckstein, Wyatt. and Button Poetry.“Labels (CUPSI 2014)” YouTube, 24 June 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWsId7od794 Accessed 12 September 2019.
Sibert, Peyton. “Find Yourself in Writing.” Peyton’sPages, 12 September 2019, https://peytonspages.com/academic-blog/find-yourself-in-writing/.
Sibert, Peyton. “The Oxymoron of Writers: Dark and Welcoming.” Peyton’sPages, 25 August 2019, https://peytonspages.com/academic-blog/the-oxymoron-of-writers-dark-and-welcoming/
Taczak, Kara. “Reflection is Critical for Writers’ Development” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 78-79.
“Writing Your Teaching Philosophy.” University of Minnesota, 22 November 2019, https://cei.umn.edu/writing-your-teaching-philosophy.