“To love what you do and feel that it matters, what could be more fun?”
In the classroom, I employ a humanizing, student-centered pedagogy where all learners’ voices are valid, and where practice, exploration and reflection are more important than perfection. My goal is to nurture a critical learning environment that honors the diversity of student abilities and identities.
Through uses of varied technologies, my classrooms are transformed into authentic learning/discourse communities where students regularly interact, know each other’s names, and all student work may be viewed and commented on by other members of that community. Such participation lays the groundwork for digital literacy and application of these skills later in their careers. Thus, by taking a problem-based, social-constructivist approach to learning and content-integrated approach to teaching I encourage students to work on projects that are meaningful to them; I believe they engage more deeply when learning is connected to their various identities and as such I might be considered a critical expressivist. I see it as my responsibility to help learners build bridges between their self-described passions and talents and their chosen disciplines and intended professions thereby fostering student investment and agency.
My pedagogy involves clear scaffolding through the provision of models, samples, regular supportive communication, and mentors. I like to provide concrete examples of learning expectations; to encourage students to utilize and consider peer-reviewed and other relevant academic scholarship whenever possible; and to regularly offer course assistantships where students who have successfully completed my courses are invited to mentor future students. I also encourage the further development of academic communication skills via supporting publication and presentation of student work.
My overall goal as a teacher is for students to complete their courses with a feeling of success and a positive, open-minded, curious attitude towards further study. If I can effectively remove some of the performance anxiety and instill a sense of pleasure in the processes of learning, then I will feel that I have been successful.