Over my eight years of college and university experience, I have developed guiding principles for every course that I design or teach. These principles are rooted in my commitment to creating inclusive classroom spaces, and equitable experiences that honor students’ diverse backgrounds, educational goals, and interests while maintaining scholarly rigor and setting high expectations.
I uphold an ethic of inclusivity, based on antiracist thought. Beyond just course content, I am concerned with inclusion in the classroom environment. To support various student backgrounds and to ensure that students are evaluated based on their work in the classroom and not on prior knowledge, I rely on antiracist pedagogies. For this, my most recent composition classroom relied on labor-based grading. Despite some initial trepidation, students began to explore their own voices and their passions. In my Technical Writing classes, I ask students to design documents with an eye toward audience—chiefly, I ask them to consider who technical documents are designed for by default and how non-white audiences might receive them. The capstone project for these classes ask students to create a document for a “default” audience, and then to create another in which they translate to a different discourse.
I teach multimodal strategies to bridge theory and practice. Most modern students have practice writing extensively when they come to college. The prevalence of writing on social media is a grounding for critical thinking. Teaching multimodal strategies based on this extensive practice draws back the veil on the rhetoric of writing on the web and creates a link to writing outside of the classroom. I frequently offer students broad guidelines to low-stakes assignments, and use their experience in completing the assignment as a touchstone to teach a larger theory. This flipped model of instruction, leading students to learn by doing, allows students to create deep connections between their existing skills and experiences and the theoretical work of the class.
I create classroom structures and assignments that foster metacognitive learning. Rather than simply teaching genres as a set of rules, I encourage students to look deeper and discover why those genres have taken root as they have, why they are seen as the correct and often default response for a particular situation. In my technical writing class, students complete an audience profile for the technical guide they create, and strategize how and why to best address audiences’ needs.
I ask students to work collaboratively to foster their sense of the social dimensions of rhetoric. Integrating collaboration deeply into the classroom creates an example and a practicum for social epistemology. In my technical writing classes, I use small groups to simulate the challenges and benefits that come with collaboration, a process that they will encounter again in their future positions as technical communicators. The capstone project in many of my classes is a multimodal project that puts into practice everything learned over the course of the semester. I ask students to create this collaboratively, to present their group’s research in a cohesive manner, and then to reflect on the experience. I encourage students to divide the workload equitably, and coach them on their project management skills.