My teaching style aims to help students develop their rhetorical thinking as it applies to the analysis and production of alphabetic writing and digital texts. Although my classroom methods are constantly evolving, the following concepts guide my pedagogy:
RHETORICAL THINKING ACROSS MEDIA
As a way to strengthen students’ critical thinking and their creative flexibility, I ask them to apply rhetorical concepts like ethos, pathos, and kairos to the analysis and production of alphabetic writing and digital texts. As they revisit these concepts in various genres, they begin to understand the concepts’ malleability and to apply them to their own textual production. By inviting students to connect rhetorical thinking with production in multiple media, I help them think critically as they produce effective texts in different contexts.
My students learn to correlate their ideas for videos, websites, and/or podcasts with their technical skills and the available tools. As they learn to think visually and to work with different softwares, students weave their new creative processes with their technological experience and personal aesthetics. During our supportive peer-reviews and critiques, the class as a whole provides advice to improve each project.
In my classes, we dispel the myth that writing and producing digital texts is an isolated activity, asking students to collaborate in the invention, production, and review processes for both individual and group projects. My emphasis on group work, both in and outside the classroom, comes from wanting to prepare students for their professional careers, where they will need to ethically collaborate with others. Especially for groups that are diverse in terms of gender, race, sexuality, and social class, discussions of representation and cultural differences emerge, helping group members confront prejudices and assumptions as they decide what is ultimately best for the project.
COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS OUTREACH
For every course I ask students to work on at least one main assignment that will have a life outside our classroom. Whether they are promotional videos for organizations and businesses, educational podcasts, or professional websites, my students create work that can be used beyond our course. This approach allows them to develop strategies for working with the sorts of organizations and companies they will be expected to engage with professionally upon graduation. Moreover, their commitment to the assignment increases when they know it will be have a purpose beyond our classroom.