Originally, I am from Nepal and I have spent 4 years in the United States pursuing two additional Master’s degrees, one in Professional Writing and the other in English and Women’s Studies from Kennesaw State University and Florida Atlantic University respectively. Two years of teaching at FAU have honed my skills, not only through teaching ENC 1101 and ENC 1102, but also by doing in-depth research on some of the difficulties and challenges that students cope with in what Peter Elbow would call “Writer’s block.”
It has been a joy to teach the diverse student populations that I have met in the United States. Coming originally from a different social, political, cultural, background than the students I teach has been a bonus because I have been able to incorporate a vision of the United States from a place that most of my students have not heard of. Teaching English to native speakers in the United States has been a somewhat outlandish achievement and an intellectual transformation on my part. I take pride in the fact that I have successfully been able to impart critical, creative and innovative strategies in my classes to create enduring understandings about the English language. My discussions of texts in the class have been some of the most successful aspects of my teaching in terms of student feedback and peer review. For me teaching has been enlightening, informative and ultimately fun. My collaborative teaching style, peer review, small group workshop, paper presentation, one to one conference with the students, portfolio making assignments are core methods of my teaching.
Having worked as a TA at Florida Atlantic University and university/school teacher in Nepal before that, I have gained teaching and other attendant skills and experiences in a range of settings. I prefer collaborative and critical pedagogies in the classroom just because I believe that learning is collaborative through which students learn more from interaction and conversation among themselves rather than from lecture. The students also will be able to engage in group work and research. I have a belief that through collaborative teaching method, knowledge is meaningful. Therefore, I encourage small-group discussion, peer-review workshop, individual and collaborative writing assignment, group work, collaborative research projects and presentations in and out of the class. My assumption is that such academic activities can act as springboards for discovery, revelation, reinforcement and feedback.
Being influenced by the Scholars like Richard Rorty, Stanley Fish, Kenneth A. Bruffee, Greg Myers, Rebecca Moore Howard (of CCR) and others, I prefer the collaborative model of learning. For Rorty, “knowledge is the social justification of belief”, established and maintained in the ‘normal discourse’ of communities of knowledgeable peers. Stanley Fish completes Rorty’s argument by saying that these ‘interpretive communities’ are the sources of our thought and of ‘meanings’ we produce through the use and manipulation of symbolic structures, chiefly language. Knowledge for both of them is the “product of human beings in a state of continual negotiation or conversation” and “Education is not a process of assimilating ‘the truth’ but, a process of learning to “take a hand in what is going on” by joining “the conversation of mankind.” My teaching experience has taught me that collaborative learning facilitates the practice of the normal and abnormal discourses among the students. This approach appreciates the views coming from minoritized groups. In conjunction with collaborative pedagogy, I also choose critical pedagogy in the classroom. For this reason, in my class, students examine, discuss, debate, contest and scrutinize the ideologies causing disparities and inequalities among the classes and groups in society. Moreover, Teaching English reading and writing to EFL students in Nepal (where I also edited English texts and translated from/to Nepali/English) have given me rewarding experiences.
Candidly speaking my students’ love for my teaching style and the respect of my colleagues kindles my spirit and confidence, optimism, and passion for teaching. As a teacher, researcher, freelancer, and a budding writer, continuing to build on my teaching career will enable me to honing and craft my skills in each and every sector of my life. Teaching is an art and the art require a craft and the craft is possible through tolerance, perseverance, and dedication to the students whom I teach. I would like to assure you that if you provide me with that opportunity, I would bring a transformation in the students’ learning methodology by meeting the objective to the point.
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