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Teaching Statement

Teaching Statement

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Published by Mariana Grohowski
June 3, 2013 Statement of Teaching
June 3, 2013 Statement of Teaching

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Published by: Mariana Grohowski on Jun 03, 2013
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Mariana Grohowski Teaching Statement mgrohow@bgsu.edu
As a rhetoric and writing studies teacher-scholar, I regard being literate as more inclusive than expertise in alphabetic reading and writing. Stemming from my interest in multimodality, I have
great respect for students’
 broad range of life experiences and abilities. These two core beliefs foster an approach to learning and teaching that seeks to uphold the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL); through these beliefs and UDL, my students and I are afforded the opportunity to learn from one another as we hone our rhetorical skills, whereby the classroom is inclusive to variances in learning preferences and abilities. At its essence, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) seeks to eliminate barriers to student learning, exposing students to a range of methods, materials, and assessments to meet a variety of learning preferences and abilities. I implement
UDL’s three principles:
 multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement into my research and pedagogy with the intention of meeting
students’ broad range of lea
rning  preferences and abilities while refining their use of rhetoric for personal, professional, and larger societal needs. Regardless of the level at which I am teaching I seek to uphold UDLs three  principles. Indeed, my dissertation research validates this pedagogical approach as my findings revealed that  participants (U.S. military-service personnel) engaged in my research because they had agency in choosing the mode in which they wanted to participate; likewise, participants confessed to  processing their military experiences through modes beyond the alphabetic, including drawing, spray-painting, and public speaking. My research also suggests that having participants choose the mode and content of their literate practices is fundamental to cultivating their personal agency in moving beyond their traumatic experiences and, in once again (after the military) feeling like contributive members of their communities. Beyond my research, I have also successfully enacted UDL practices in first-year and intermediate level writing classrooms. For example, I offer course content in a variety of modes to uphold the principle multiple means of representation. In the case of course readings, students have access to electronic (on my course website, electronic editions of textbooks) and hard copies (of textbooks, or of readings I provide hard copy); c
omparatively, I provide feedback on students’
writing in both written and aural feedback on their drafts. I create voice or video comments so as to ensure all students easily comprehend my feedback in a way that the written comments might impede. Learning this approach as a coach at the Michigan Technological University writing
center, I found that international students and “traditional” students benefited when I presented
challenging information in multiple ways. Though at first some students expressed confusion at my nontraditional methods (e.g., my use of UDL principles) by the end of the semester, most students expressed appreciation of my teaching style because they were encouraged to use and develop their unique rhetorical skills. I understand composing as a social action; likewise, I make efforts for students to understand that
“writing and writers as
 fully engaged in social
 practices” (Cooper 201
0, p. 15). Given this social view of composing, I regard observation as a key mode to the development and refinement of composition. I encourage students to witness and observe how other rhetoricians craft their compositions for inspiration and insight into the process. Students are then asked to produce a response to what they observe or witness through modeling or through reading. However, these responses tak 
e shape in a variety of modes in order to uphold students’ choices for action and
expression given their needs, abilities, and preferences. For example, students are given the option to provide traditional written responses, to design
 or compose
responses” (Dunn 2001). While mind
-maps can be hand-drawn or created through the Google Chome Application Mindmeister, the talking response entails the student providing an oral

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