Teaching

Photo by Jordan Nafekh.

I believe that teaching English and its evolution across media are an integral component of the liberal education project. I also believe that interdisciplinary approaches to teaching provide students a more meaningful way to see and to take part in the world. It is my goal to introduce students to cultural critique with various media including literature and to develop their critical thinking skills through discussion and writing. To achieve this, I am excited by the possible uses of new technologies for communication and education. I enjoy negotiating the tension between established and new methods of instruction and learning that are enabled by new media. It is also crucial that I attentively track the rapid changes in technology and culture, because those changes inform the body of my teaching and research. Therefore, I consider it an important objective to shape my teaching practices by mediating proven educational methods and technologies with those that are new, experimental, yet also manifesting potential.

Photo by Michael Eldridge.

I believe that two consequential aims of my teaching are being a student-centric mentor and providing rigorous challenge. To achieve these, I begin by teaching them how to use certain tools, such as writing and research technologies, and then I demonstrate how to combine those tools with techniques, such as argumentation, peer-review, and collaboration. Meanwhile, I show students how to read texts, evaluate sources, and synthesize the ideas of others with their own through multimodal compositions following the WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) approach. In addition, I find that it is crucial to challenge students with interesting and demanding work, not intended to overwhelm, but instead, to give them an opportunity to develop through the experience of entering a new discourse. I have found many students are motivated by the given challenges, such as a former student who wrote on the course evaluation: “There was a lot of work that was required, but I thought it helped to keep me working hard to earn a good grade.” I do want my students to succeed with a “good grade,” but I also want to help them exceed their own learning expectations and take what they learn to other courses and life.

Photo by Kyle Chrzanowski.

In all of the teaching that I do, I model my practices on those of the best teachers who have taught me. I give careful thought to my instruction and continually adjust it to enable the best learning experiences for individuals as well as groups of students. This means not only uncovering the needs of students but also connecting with their strengths and backgrounds. Additionally, I constantly reflect on my teaching approaches, because I am not afraid to change plans that might not work as well as I anticipate. I am committed to delivering the best that I am as I continue to develop as a teacher, because my students deserve the best that I can offer them. Furthermore, it is essential to my role as an educator to inform my teaching with my research. As a responsible mentor, I need to keep pace with the latest debates and knowledgably introduce those discussions to my students. Furthermore, it is my responsibility to invite student engagement through difficult texts that are enlightening, rigorous, and provocative. Last but not least, I encourage students with thoughtful, focused, and individualized responses to their work, and I welcome them to discuss their work with me online or in person. I consider myself very fortunate to have had teachers and professors who enlightened me and greatly shaped the teacher and scholar that I am today. Likewise, it is my goal to be a teacher who provides positive learning experiences and facilitates student success.

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.

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