Research on Education and Teaching Practices
The phrase "scholarship of teaching and learning" often gets thrown around, but the gist is as follows: in order to maintain best practices in teaching and learning, we must be critical of the way we teach, considerate of student learning, willing to assess not only our students, but also ourselves, and motivated to improve the classroom experience. My interest in best teaching and learning practices stems from a long history of having "bad" teachers, but importantly also one experience in having a great teacher. This teacher had a way of inspiring us to want to learn, something which none of my other teachers were good at. She also had a way of explaining course materials, such that it was not only fun, but easy to learn. She made the course content matter to us and enabled us to learn together, but also in our own individual ways. Looking back, it is not surprising that a little bit of her is in every class I teach. I take student learning very seriously and strive to be the teacher they deserve. However, though I have been fortunate to been given several opportunities to teach so early in my career, I know that there is still a lot I can learn (hence my active engagement in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Here are some of the scholarship of teaching and learning things that I am currently involved in:
- This year, I joined forces with seven other MSU graduate students as an Inside Teaching Collaborative Fellow. Together, we are working toward building a community to promote teaching excellence through conversation about and sharing of best teaching practices. I am particularly committed to creating pedagogical resources for teaching assistants and future educators to help prepare them for the classroom. At the moment, I am working with a colleague to address identities, inequalities and social injustices, in an accessible and digestible way, promoting inclusive, non-oppressive teaching and learning environments. See our recent blog post here. Inside Teaching has also allowed me an outlet to discuss linguistic diversity and discrimination outside of the linguistics classroom at MSU, encouraging other graduate students and educators to consider ways to build a linguistically inclusive classroom. See my blog post here.
- In my Language and Gender course, I designed and have begun using a project that I call the Facebook Project. As part of my research, I am interested in finding new ways to teach sociolinguistic concepts to students. As such, I am gathering data on the success of projects like the Facebook Project and the use of Twitter in the sociolinguistics classroom.
- I am also working with faculty at Davenport University to bring workshops on linguistic diversity into the University. The goal is to train faculty to become more aware or linguistic diversity and linguistic discrimination both at the level of the University, the Departments, and in the classroom. I am also leading the charge towards bringing this perspective (that of linguistic inclusion) into the classrooms at Davenport University, working with members of the English Department to revise current curricula and to change the way in which we frame the importance of an English/Speech Communication course to our students.