Teaching Philosophy

Each time I enter the classroom, my lessons are geared toward helping students discover a purpose to writing. I accomplish this goal by positioning my students as rhetors. Since rhetoric is epistemological, students as rhetors posses the power to create knowledge and realities outside those offered through textbooks. I encourage my students to view themselves as writers and producers of knowledge through engagement of contemporary theories of writing and rhetoric. I practice group learning and collaboration as a primary source of information and knowledge, with less focus on lecture. The research my students complete teaches them about the importance of language in their everyday environment. I stress technology use of various mediums as sources of discourse, which extends students audience potential into the real world, and teaches students that discourse is not limited to the text. Students leave my classroom with the understanding of rhetoric as a tool to create positive change, and with the knowledge that they are participants in various discourse communities.

Rhetoric and writing studies provides me, as an instructor, with the ability to reach across cultural, gender, racial, class, and community borders in the classroom. I ask my students to consider theories of rhetoric and writing that challenge their current beliefs, which encourages them to look at the world with a different perspective. I believe that the teaching of writing should help students with practical applications of their writings, but more importantly, it should show them that through their writing, they are able create and implement change in their immediate communities, and those that they cannot see.

In one of my Research and Critical Writing courses, I emphasized technology and writing through the use of blogs. The student’s writing became part of much larger discourse community than they or I ever imagined. Many students were unsure about which topics to cover in their blogs, and so I encouraged them to not only post their reading responses from class, but also to look around their communities and write impressions of what they observed. One student, Oscar, focused on the sheriff elections being held in El Paso, Texas, which held an extra ordinary high number of candidates vying for the position. Oscar followed the voting closely, posting the different qualifications of the candidates, and also the results in the election. Around the middle of the semester, Oscar brought a letter to class sent to him by our community Senator, Eliot Shapleigh. Written on official state letterhead, it read, “Oscar, Your blog is great. Thank you for keeping our community informed! Eliot Shapleigh.” The students were impressed by this gesture, but more importantly, the personal response from a local senator taught our class that technology has the power to extend their audience and their discursive influence.

I believe teaching rhetoric and writing studies has the potential to extend our student’s vision beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom, and to reach students from every disciplinary background. My experience in teaching Workplace Writing and Organizational Communication, and Critical Writing and Research, which accentuates theories of rhetoric and their relation to student’s everyday life, has proven that writing has the potential to change student’s life from one governed by the discourse they read, to a life of rhetors actively participating in the creation of knowledge.

Student Testimonies

"She has communicated effectively with the students, making us feel at home, and opened our minds to new ideas. The grading responses were amazing. Thank you for being a different teacher." Junior - Business Major

"Yes, she has challenged us to the extreme. She expects more of us and she brings the best out in our writing." Junior - Major - Management

"Ms. Ramirez maintained my interest in the course. She is passionate about what she teaches, and it makes me very intersted to hear what she has to say. Great job!" Junior

"She gets the entire class involved in the assignments, very good use of WebCT and other web resources." Senior

"The instructor was well organized, informative, and knowledgeable in her discourse of this class. The course description and function is well correlated." Senior

"She really allowed us to interact and debate the concepts from the readings. This allowed for greater understanding of the course material." Junior - Marketing

"A lot of motivation and drive. Always kept an upbeat tone and elaborated a lot on course subjects. A lot of work, but practice makes perfect. Great job overall!" Sophomore