Researcher/Teacher Statement

// As a Teacher

Composition is potential. It is the space to compose and communicate ideas from a vast combination of composite materials. As a compositionist, my focus is helping students to see what is available to them in their ideas and the rhetorical choices and materials they have to communicate – to move their ideas from message to action. This shifts the instruction in the composition classroom from a mode of text reproduction in commonplaces of form and content, to a methodology of text exploration, invention and creation, focusing our vision on what becomes possible when ideas and materials are illuminated, combined, and juxtaposed in inquiry. The writer becomes an agent of composition who designs in collections and connections; described as “media being” by William S. Burroughs, the agent of composition is an individual who mixes and is mixed, who composes with media by commutating, appropriating, visualizing, and chorally structuring knowledge to circulate and function within complexly articulated social networks.

As a focus on methodology, composition as potential takes different shapes in the classroom, but what remains is an emphasis on materiality in composing – what is available and for what purpose. Together we unpack materiality to understand it as material things as well as semiotic – events, places, values, institutions, practices.

In the writing courses I teach, student/agents create media rich texts that function as ecologies of their own literacies, experiences, and knowledges situated within influence relations. The work of the courses labors to make visible the type of connectivity between students’ self(s) and larger forces of influence I care for in my teaching. In dialogues and in composing, I am constantly working with my student/agents to push at the edges of what is noticed, expected, and accepted. While our materials and mediums range, rigor, inquiry, and experimentation remain at the center of how we do composing – to challenge, to connect, to question, and to relate. Composition becomes taking risks and carefully reflecting on the possibilities and limitations of composed texts. Perceiving texts of student creation with such careful contemplation extends into how students interact with the world, a move from passivity to activity through the engagement with texts instead of the consumption of them. Considerations of materiality, visual and digital rhetorics, new media, digital rhetoric, and network studies form the framework of my pedagogical materials and take shape from and respond to the complex and dynamic webs in which we as global citizens and agents of change are situated. Within the composition classroom is not only the potential to create texts, but the potential to create texts that circulate and shape our world(s).

 

As a Researcher \\

 

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