Principles of Instruction

Teacher Assisting a Student

Student-Centered Teaching

My courses are NOT simply designed for students to fulfill my requirements to get an A. While I acknowledge that grading is rightfully important to students, my courses are designed for students to focus on their own growth and have a say in how they are evaluated. As result, I ask that students are actively involved in developing class rubrics for assignments. In my classrooms, students are able to see the value in different kinds of evaluative methods while I am ensure that student expectations meet standards of academic rigor.  Likewise, my feedback is not designed to mold to mold students into my expectations but rather to promote reflection and growth as well as to aid students in the achievement of their personal academic goals. In my classes the power of change and growth is in the hands of the students. 

Old Documents

Writing as a Process

My courses require all students to engage with writing as a process rather than a product. This means that each major writing assignment has minor assignments associated with it that allow students to receive self, peer, or instructor feedback multiple times before the final date. I am not simply concerned with measuring the polished product of a piece of writing, but the growth and progress associated with is as well. By engaging with writing on a procedural level, students are more engaged with the social aspect of writing rather than producing an object that is molded to my expectation. Students are able to explore possibilities of their role as a writer, their audience, and the purpose of their writing. Process based evaluation also enables a more inclusive classroom, as it can help any writer grow in spite of their level coming into the course. Product-based evaluation privileges students from more robust academic backgrounds and disadvantages first-generation students who perhaps have not received well-rounded writing instruction in their past. Process-based evaluation ensures that equity is maintained in the evolution of all students in my classroom. 

Colorful Bubbles

Diversity in the Classroom

As is stated on my syllabi, while I cannot guarantee that my classroom will be a completely comfortable space for every student, I work to ensure that my classroom is a space in which every student is able to participate in classroom activities without fear. Diversity of thought, background, gender orientation, religious belief, race, and ideology allows students not just to understand the classroom material with greater efficacy but also allows each student to grow as empathetic global citizens who can respectfully learn from one another not in spite of but rather because of their differences. In my classes, students are encouraged to express their perspectives on sensitive topics and engage with those who disagree with them within a framework of building an understanding of one another. We do not set out to find out who is "right" within the myriad of viewpoints but rather to understand the value and limitations of views that are not ours. Diversity is a pillar of my classroom because it is impossible to learn about another without being challenged by perspectives and people that are not like one's own. 

Black Binoculars

Discovery-Focused Learning

My courses are all designed to promote discovery and heuristic engagement in my students. Students are not just allowed but encouraged to question my methods, readings, assignments, etc. in order to help them to think about not just what is required of them, but why it is required of them. This principle manifests itself in the open development of rubrics for course assignments as well as the general attitude of the classroom. My goal is that in my courses, no stones are left unturned. If a student has question that we do not know the answer to, we take the time in class to look it up. If we come across a word that we do not know in a reading, we look it up. If we do not have enough time to address a question because of class restraints, we will either address it at the beginning of the next class, or I will take time to email the student independently. While this is a simple principle, in my classroom it is important to model behaviors that empower students to learn independently both inside and outside of the classroom. In class I take time to develop students into heuristic thinkers, eager to discover new meanings and question boundaries through promoting an environment of empowerment and discovery. 

Sample Syllabi

"Introduction to College Composition" sample syllabus

Sample syllabus for a seminar in the American novel

Sample syllabus for a course on Black Womanism and Rapsody's Eve