Stephanie J. West-Puckett

writing, teaching, studying digital writing and rhetorics

Teaching Manifesto

Writing is Making

Human beings are toolmakers, and rhetoric is our primary tool. We mix and re-mix rhetorics to make meaning and make things happen in the world. In my classroom, we engage rhetoric as a boundary-marking practice, inscribing difference. We interpret and produce material rhetorics by manipulating images, sounds, objects, and their combinations, focusing on how we inscribe and are inscribed by these rhetorical practices.

Influences: A. Banks, Gee, A. Haas, Shipka, M. Powell

Making is a Humanistic Endeavor

Making is essential to crafting our individual, cultural, and organizational identities. My classroom is a production-centered space where students explore the affordances and constraints of making with material rhetorics. Learning is the natural by-product of critical making and reflection, and I serve as a mentor—making alongside students, helping to solve wicked design problems, offering feedback, and prompting them to make apparent and develop their personal theories of writing.

Influences: Arola, Ball, Grabill, Marback, Prins, Wysocki

Play and Failure are Necessary in Production-centered Classrooms

Cicero’s rhetorical canons are too often codified into inflexible linear composing models. In contrast, my classroom is a place where we tinker, play, and experiment. We engage the rapidly changing disciplinary, academic, workplace, social, and institutional cultures that require flexibility, adaptability, and imaginative problem-solving. As such, I design alternative assessment instruments that privilege intentions over outcomes and encourage students to take risks and find joy in the processes of writing, making, and sharing their craft knowledge with others.

Influences: Alexander, W. Banks, Inoue, Johnson-Eilola, Poe, Rhodes

Students and Teachers Should Always Tool Up

Every person can learn to compose effectively when engaged in maker-centered ecology that includes highquality tools and high-quality support for using those tools. I provide functional, rhetorical, and critical support for students who use a variety of digital and analog technologies to make meaning in community. I nudge students to move beyond their comfort zones and connect them to the human, material, and discursive resources they will need to persist. As such, students learn to grow their learning and writing networks and to leverage them.

Influences: Prior, Rodrigo, Selber, C. Selfe, D. Selfe

Do it Together to Create Thirdspaces for Composition

I reject out-of-the-box solutions for the difficult work of teaching and assessing students. Instead, I build and tinker with classroom practice, testing my pedagogies through ongoing action research projects that trace impact on particular student groups. I design learning pathways that pivot on student interests and passions while remaining responsive to my department’s and university’s vision. My students and I (re)make the classroom as a space of negotiation and shared agency, constructing a “thirdspace” that blends amateur and expert knowledges, public and counter-public appeals, academic and non-academic writing, and discursive and non-discursive making practices. My goal is not simply to help students engineer more successful texts, but to support them in composing futures that are more participatory, just, and equitable.

Influences: Brannon, Hurley, Longo, Nickoson, J.B. Scott, Soja

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