As a writing teacher, I am dedicated to preparing my students not only for academic writing, but also for their professional and social lives. My teaching experiences have shaped my understanding of writing as a critical practice invigorated by social interaction and public engagement. Over the years, I have worked to build a pedagogical approach to academic writing that provides students with a chance to enhance critical literacy, to embrace cultural diversity, to gain digital knowledge, and to produce social change.
I enact critical literacies in my writing classrooms. The critical feminist rhetorical approach, in the traditions of Krista Ratcliffe and Jacqueline Jones Royster, invites students to reflect upon social inequalities and to advocate for underrepresented social groups. Coupled with creative and innovative writing projects, this critical approach allows my students to acquire useful critical thinking and writing skills. In my course, Composition and Digital Literacy, I have developed a Wikipedia-based curriculum that asks students to address the encyclopedia’s gender and racial gaps. Students are capable of expanding Wikipedia’s scope of coverage pertaining to historically marginalized social groups such as female citizens, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ community. Similarly, I also teach students to critically interrogate issues in their professions. For example, in my Research Writing course, I challenge my students to sustain a research-driven inquiry about a contested topic in their fields of study, culminating in the writing of a researched argument based on their interviews with professors or practitioners. My teaching not only motivates students to become writers who participate in academic discourses, but also to become critical thinkers who actively engage with social and public issues.
My pedagogies envision students as citizens of the world. Moving beyond the conceptualization of students merely as consumers, I view students as active producers of knowledge and culture in the world. My own teaching and research experience allows me to take seriously the capacities of “ordinary citizens,” as championed by Kurt Spellmeyer, in initiating cultural production and social change in public spheres. Following the call for a multimodal public rhetoric advocacy in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, I use a blend of traditional and digital writing assignments, discussions, and activities, striving to accomplish the goal of cultivating students’ skills in practicing critical writing and raising public awareness. In my course design, Composition and Public Advocacy, for instance, I engage my students to identify, research, and address real-world problems tied to their communities, such as local foods, environmental issues, and income inequality. In response to these problems, students take the roles of public writers to write, design, and circulate multimodal campaign materials including nonprofit websites, animations, and brochures. These assignments help students to approach writing as taking pace both within and outside of academic communities. Rather than seeing public discourses and civic engagement as detached from their everyday practices, participating in multimodal advocacy projects encourages students to negotiate writing and compose publics in their social and community lives.
Through employing critical, diverse, and multimodal pedagogies, I aim to help students grow into critical thinkers and intellectuals who can apply their writing knowledge in everyday and professional situations. More importantly, I attempt to create a space for students to engage in academic and public writing, through which they become socially responsible writer and citizens, who attend to the issues in their communities and environments and who see their capacities in producing culture and effecting change.