Risk and Access
Throughout my time as an instructor, I have learned to take risks alongside my students by mixing genres, cultures, texts, and contexts. I've had to learn to de-center American experiences and sought intentionally to mix language and culture by asking students to write about their individualized experiences. It is this mixing, and the authorization from the instructor this student received, that allowed her to both brave and be brave in the college classroom.
While these experiences will not have been universal to all of my students, they nonetheless exemplify one of my main aims in teaching, which is to encourage an active, dynamic discussion space where students engage with course materials in creative and personal ways through the mixture of culture, genre, and texts.
As Assistant Director of the First-Year Writing program at the University of Connecticut, I have contributed to the development of a curriculum emphasizing genre mixing and multimodal composition. My colleagues and I have developed the curriculum under principles of Universal Design; by asking students to compose in multiple modes, I aim to draw on the strengths of students marginalized by dominant or traditional narratives of academic prose.