There are many reasons why we write, each as personal and individual as our own handwriting. In some cases, we may not yet know what these reasons are. My goal as an educator is not to enforce one way of approaching writing, but to instead foster a natural curiosity in my students and a readiness to question—skills that I believe are important across all fields of study. When students are not afraid to examine why things are, they can become more open to new possibilities and to fostering change. Through curiosity, students can find more to love about the world, or more angles from which to examine a problem, and more reason to share their voice through writing. In order to support discovery, I want my students to engage in the kinds of questions and self-reflection that lead to uncovering something new.
To this end, I believe in fostering diversity in language and form, helping students to understand that there is no one way to approach a topic. I want them to challenge their own perceptions of what writing is while giving them the practice and tools to be flexible through the "writing about writing" approach supported by UCF’s composition classes. Through my class, I hope to eliminate set ideas about what students think writing is in order to broaden their understanding of what writing can do, and to give them the practice and tools to be flexible writers. I want to help teach students to make their writing truly their own and to understand the versatility of communication by introducing students to the variety of forms that writing can take (not just essays and books, but comics, posters, videos, and more) and allowing them to practice using more than one form.
I also believe it’s important to offer students to tools to discuss what they’re interested in. When we understand why rules exist, we may be more intentional and thoughtful about how we break them and why. When we know the context in which certain topics are discussed, we can be more thoughtful about how we approach it. Research acquaints students with the conversation surrounding their interests, while terminology gives them a shared vocabulary to discuss and understand. When students are involved in academic discussions, they also become active and invaluable members of the scholarly community. As such, it's important for students to understand that their voices do matter and that their words can have an impact on their community, as well as the wider world.
Writing is about communicating, and I want to give my students the tools to be open to the diversity of language, to be comfortable with the unfamiliar, and to be acquainted with (but not beholden to) the strange animals we call “standard English” and “academic language.” I hope that every student I teach will at least come away with a deeper understanding of who they are as a writer and a mind open to the ways in which their writing may evolve. I believe in critiquing through questioning and emphasis on content over grammar when looking at student work. I hope that my classroom can be a space in which students are able to feel comfortable trying a new approach to writing and voicing their research and opinions in a manner that feels authentic to them.