Teaching Philosophy

As part of a requirement for my ENGL973 Digital Literacies course at UNL, I wrote a teaching philosophy statement and then remediated it using technology. This is very similar to an assignment Jody Shipka gives her classes and what she describes in her book Toward a Composition Made Whole. Essentially, remediating is taking a traditional print text and refashioning or recreating it as a mutlimodal text; a text that uses a combination of senses in meaning making. These senses include visual meanings (images, page layouts, screen formats), gestural meanings (body language, sensuality), audio meanings (music, sound effects), spatial meanings (environmental spaces, architectural spaces), and multimodal meanings (combination of above).

Having previously never written an official teaching philosophy statement, I began with a very rough draft and continued the process of revising and remediating it at the same time. Below is what I accomplished so far. Below the video is a link to an abridged version of my Statement of Goals and Choices (SOGC) that will take you through my process of creating this.

Please note: This is not a final draft of my remediated teaching philosophy. I suspect as I continue my teaching career, it will be revised and revised again. I welcome your feedback and discussion on this piece. Thank you!

 

 

 

Statement of Goals and Choices

This exercise was definitely more challenging than I expected. Choices all of a sudden became more complex and complicated. Throughout this process, I found myself questioning what it is I was trying to do, and whether this piece accomplishes that, which is the point of this exercise. I do not think this piece is finished, but as someone once told me, a piece of writing is never done, it’s just due.

I approached this task with primarily me as the intended audience. This piece attempts to answer a very important question: What is my teaching philosophy? I used this as an opportunity to take a step back from my teaching practice and evaluate how what I believe about teaching influences how I teach. I was met with difficulty in articulating what exactly is my teaching philosophy. I think it was the “linear alpha-numeric” statement that gave me the most difficulty. I quickly found it very challenging to articulate exactly what it is that drives my teaching; even more difficult was articulating it so it was not only understandable, but also sophisticated. I am not sure if this was a challenge because I was half excited, half confounded as to how to remediate this, or if I just couldn’t put my thinking into words. (The latter is difficult to admit because teaching English is my business—I should be able to use it effectively.) My advisor eventually convinced me to post it on this website and see what happens.

When I first began this project, I initially thought that the best way to demonstrate what I believe about teaching and learning is to actually show me teaching and interacting with students and the content. This idea was met with a slew of issues, ones I was not ready, nor even capable to address. Videotaping my teaching was risky because I would be opening up what I do to an outside audience, and also opening my students to an outside audience, which is ethically shaky. Because I do not yet possess a sophisticated knowledge of video editing, I chose to do a Tapestry story that takes the viewer/reader through a conversation between two students, and myself, and use that exchange to demonstrate and explain what it is I believe about teaching and learning.

In an attempt to maintain brevity, and your attention, I omitted the narrative of specifically how I completed the project. If you are interested in reading that portion, you can find a less abridged version of the SOGC here.

The process of creating this remediated piece was far less linear than I anticipated. I expected to create the Tapestry story, record my voice reading the statement, then record my tapping through the story to synch with my voice, and then put it all together in iMovie without feeling compelled to revise as I went. However, through the process, I found myself re-watching what I had created and making adjustments. The recording of the video of me tapping took just under ten hours. Sometimes I would falter and not tap on cue; but mostly, I would make it through the story, and then change the tapestry story by editing or adding new slides. Additionally, the text of the original philosophy statement evolved through the remediation process much like the Tapestry story.

With regard to failure, I found it interesting how much time I spent on paths that I did not pursue for very long. I still wonder if I would have arrived at this product, of which I am proud, if I had not made so many undesirable choices. Additionally, this project took a significant amount of time to plan, revise and execute. When I review it, it does not look like it took as much time as it did to create it. I wonder if those who view this will understand that? Will they understand that I thought about this for weeks, while driving, while cooking dinner, and various other parts of my day? Then I ask another question: does it matter if they know this? What should matter is: Do they have a better sense of me as a teacher? Ultimately, that is what I want this piece to accomplish, whoever sees it.

 

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