wheel statement
...Everything I do as a teacher revolves around the learning and growth of my students.
Dr. L. Lennie Irvin




Everything I do as a teacher revolves around the learning and growth of my students.  Like spokes around the center of a wheel, my focus is on encouraging and supporting the learning experience of my students.  I think every teacher has this focus, but I suppose where teaching philosophies differ is in how we as teachers kindle this learning in our students.  In this statement, I want to share my own philosophy of teaching my students to learn.

First, I believe in creating a learning environment where students feel safe and respected. I greet students as they arrive in class and believe that as much as I may challenge my students and require their best effort, I am predominantly there to serve them and help them grow as writers and individuals. I'm keenly aware that writing is hard, and my students have full and complicated lives, so I want my class to be a place where my students believe they can succeed--where they can, in fact, succeed. 

I also believe my students will learn potentially as much from each other as they do from me. I set up my classroom as a learning community where we share and discuss our writing, our experiences writing, and our views of what we are learning. We are constantly sharing, reading, and responding to our writing. 

I know my most memorable learning experiences as a student were moments of discovery and transformation, so I seek to tap into my students' interests in hopes that they will reach an earned insight rather then accept a received truth.  I believe we learn best by doing, so I try to keep my talking to a minimum, seeking to be strategic in my guidance and direction. Learning by doing in a writing class means that we do a lot of writing.  Ideally, my courses represent a sequence of activities that work together to form a rich learning experience where students leave my class feeling more confident about themselves as writers and thinkers. Each assignment should build from the last, challenging students to learn and gain competence with something new by using tools and skills gained from previous assignments.

It is such an honor to be a teacher. For me it is a vocation of the heart, and I thank my students for giving me this privilege.

The above statement focused mainly on my teaching freshman. I want to add a word about my philosophy of teaching graduate students:

I believe adult learners in graduate classes have a stronger sense of personal identity and self-direction. They have an inner flame, so to speak, and as a graduate teacher I believe my job is to help this flame grown through guidance and support. This role involves leading them to deeper and richer scholarship and supporting the growth of their own knowledge-making, especially as researchers.

Learning is discovery, and while it may come as a flash of insight, it is also something constructed. I believe this discovery happens through individual efforts brought into the crucible of social interaction. The essence of my teaching philosophy is to sustain this fertile shuttling between inner and outer, self and other, to promote a deeper discovery that is true learning.





created July 2007,updated July, 2017 | L. Lennie Irvin