erin daina mcclellan
Teaching

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

I believe teaching is about inspiring students to think about the world in a way they have not yet attempted. By learning new perspectives, new theories, and new approaches to practical problem-solving and critical analysis of thought, I hope to provide them with an opportunity to be as prepared as possible for an ever-changing world. Since whatever we teach today may or may not be directly applicable to the world in which live tomorrow, I believe students prepared to adapt, apply, and critically assess what they learn in the classroom are the surest skill sets we can offer. I believe in one-on-one support as much as possible and continually encourage my students to come to my office hours for advice on how to academically succeed in the classroom, help study for exams, seek support in writing papers, and discuss terms and concepts that may be more easily understood in a one-on-one environment. I consciously design my classes to take into account a variety of learning styles and incorporate small group activities, individual reflection assignments, and open class participation (in both oral and written forms) as part of my lecture-application teaching format. I continually emphasize praxis as a foundation of rhetorical studies – the combination of theoretical understandings of abstract concepts and terms with concrete and “lived” examples of their application is essential to a holistic understanding of any discipline. I encourage not only student participation, but also interaction—with both each other (instructors and students alike) and with the physical environments that so often subconsciously persuade us to believe, do, and think in powerful ways. I strive to provide an atmosphere in which students can learn from me as an instructor, their texts, each other, and their everyday lived experiences outside the traditional classroom on a daily basis. Teaching is what I consider to be the true test of my academic knowledge; I cannot claim to know what I cannot teach. Watching my students take ideas to new levels is the joy of teaching; watching a concept develop into a consequential project for making a difference in even one person’s world is what matters.

Today's students need to be prepared to enter a complex world in which critical thinking is an absolute necessity. Teaching critical thinking skills, however, are often overlooked at the expense of "teaching to the test." While it is important that students are able to do well on exams, it is also important that they are given the opportunity to explore their own interests and critically think about the world in ways that do not result in a clear "right" answer. I encourage students to consider the difference between a "good" answer and a "right" (or "wrong") answer. Teaching is a continuous challenge as I strive to make history alive in our modern understandings of how we engage in and interpret rhetoric on a daily basis. By encouraging students to explore their own interests when completing term projects, answering essay questions, or participating in activities, I aim to give them as much opportunity as possible to apply their life experiences and pursuits to the theories and concepts we discuss in the classroom. Today's world is not only complex for students, but it is equally complex for instructors. By modeling to students how to be both a rhetorician and a rhetor in various ways, I hope that they may be able to competently navigate the complexities of everyday life, no matter what may fall before them.

TEACHING AWARD

Best Should Teach Award (2006) - faculty nominated award issues by the University of Colorado at Boulder Graduate Teacher Program TEACHING EXPERIENCE Please see the following links for more information:
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