Classroom & Philosophy
THE ART OF COMMUNICATION
The study of English is a means to improve all forms of communication. To that end, at all levels of English, I emphasize rhetorical structures, performance, presentation, and activities that develop students as "speakers" and performers in myriad ways.
My classes are geared towards refining the argument. The noted trial lawyer Gerry Spense once said that "everything is an argument." Whether working with sophomores, or students in my Junior Honors class, I emphasize how to use a variety of rhetorical frames with which to write, debate, and persuade. Throughout the year, I give multiple exams on "thesis patterns," and - in the end - students leave the class able to both construct sophisticated and clear thesis statements and topic sentences, and to conduct substantive "peer editing" of fellow students' work that reflects a knowledge of structure and development.
No great work of art exists without the presence of ambiguity. At all levels, I work hard to push students to engage challenging works of literature (especially non-fiction and long-form journalism), poetry, film, and fine art. The goal is to make students comfortable with the uncertainty that great art will inevitably bring, and to help students make meaningful observations and conclusions about the great narratives of our time, and beyond.