In my teaching, I bring ideas from my research into practice, by adopting an embodied, multimodal pedagogy that intentionally explores the societal implications of rhetorical practice.
In Fall 2013, when I taught a first-year writing course theme about cyborgs, students designed and implemented a website from scratch to showcase their final papers (best viewed on a computer, to see the mouseover effects). This effort is the strongest instantiation of the “community organizer” figure I use in my teaching philosophy—sure, students wrote their own papers, and each included an image in their analysis, but they also drew on their diverse skills to collectively a) design a website (which they chose, out of self-confidence and CS purity, to hand-code), b) organize papers into sections, c) create an icon for each section, and d) format each paper consistently. This public-facing collaborative effort speaks to a long-term direction of my teaching.
In 2012, I led 35 at-risk high-school students in a 6-week community writing
project through video. The students were participants in Pittsburgh’s
“WorkReady” job training program. Monday through Thursday, each participant
worked at a local internship. On Fridays, I led the group as part of a
metacognitive component of the program that reinforced work skills
(accountability, collaboration, networking, etc.). I structured our time so that
the students collaboratively wrote and acted out a short movie.
This narrative structure allowed for not only each participant to have a
speaking part in the movie, but also to have a multi-voiced narrative that
embedded rival ideas about working. Link to video
The narrative arc: First, in a nightmare sequence, a friend tries to persuade the protagonist not to bother earning money, but to find other ways to get by. Then, he wakes up resolved to get a job. Through the day, his friends give him advice about what it takes to be work ready. That night, in a reversal, he dreams about his success.