Coming from the Middle East with a background in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) made my new experience in First Year Writing and Professional Writing classrooms radically different. However, there are certain teaching skills that transfer across contexts and classroom spaces. Through the support of intensive mentoring in teaching first year writing, professional writing, and tutoring in Purdue’s Writing Center, my goal has been to develop my expertise by transferring what applies and implementing my new learning.
As a teacher, I see myself quite fitting in Schon’s (1987) profile of a ‘reflective practitioner’ i.e. I assess my knowledge base and learn from experience. To do so, I adopt an experiential learning framework in my classroom. I engage students in a cycle of active experimentation, introspective reflection, and interactional feedback. This particular student-centered approach develops learning skills which stimulate effective observation, reflection, interaction, scaffolding, and conceptualization.
In the Writing Center, I work with diverse students (domestic and international, graduate and undergraduate) who write in various genres in the disciplines. Due to the nature of individual consultation sessions, I have developed pragmatism in dealing with different writer identities thus catering for a variety of needs while assessing each individual situation. The one-on-one nature of consultation sessions strengthened my skills at scaffolding and abilities to experiment with varied teaching strategies to consolidate a repository of best practices suitable for both the classroom and writing center.
Through my work at the Writing Center, I have come to realize the ecologies and stakeholders involved to make writing a better process. I have come to witness the power of student writer reflection and how it guides the rhetorical choices and decisions made during the process to produce an effective product. Thus, I promote both the Writing Center and the OWL as additional resources in my classroom to be utilized when challenges are encountered, when peer feedback is required, and when dialogic interactions about writing are needed.