This section contains information regarding Gary Lawrence’s teaching philosophy, teaching techniques, and experience.
The basic mantra that applies to all writing courses?
READ LIKE A WRITER. WRITE FOR THE READER.
Following is my teaching philosophy as prepared for Cardinal Stritch University course syllabi (a good idea to include a teaching philosophy there, eh?).
It still sounds pretty true to me.
My Teaching Philosophy/Style:
• All students start with an “A,” with equal opportunity to keep it or lose it based on their personal effort and results.
• I believe education is something to be “pulled out of” students versus something to be “crammed into” students.
• As a teacher I learn at least one thing from every class I teach.
• I believe in life-long learning. A key to long life, as well, is your openness to consider new ideas and ability to learn from anyone — humility.
• People that feel good about themselves learn more than people that are shamed and/or humiliated and/or intimidated.
• I am your teacher first and your friend or buddy second.
• I do not have much tolerance for lies, late assignments or excuses.
• Learning should be relevant and meaningful to the learner. Learning should be current. Learning should be meaningful. Learning should be challenging. Learning should be both analysis and synthesis. Learning should be fun.
My Instructor Pledge (also from CSU syllabi):
On average, my students can normally expect a 24-hour turnaround from me for emails, a 72-hour turnaround from me for assignment review/grading, and 168-hour turnaround from me for end-of-course projects. Assignments handed in late to me will not receive this same preferential treatment. My students will be notified in advance if for some reason I am not going to be able to meet these turnaround objectives. I will respect and work to maintain the inherent worth, self-esteem, and dignity of all my students.
I have taught in several different teaching environments — face-to-face, hybrid, and online — and accelerated for most if not all of those.
In all these different class types, my teaching techniques stay virtually the same:
o Start where the student is. Work for improvement.
o Give the students the confidence to not just try and succeed, but to try and fail and learn something from it.
o Give the student what they need when they need it.
o Whatever you are teaching, make the student better at it, true — but also make it easier for the student to do what you are teaching/learning. In writing, for instance, this includes giving students a variety of methods to try for “invention,” for instance.
o Make whatever you are teaching practical and meaningful for the student.
o Technology is a means to the end, not the end itself.
Over the years I have found I am a very “classical” teacher — by that I mean “old school.” Way old school. To the Middle Ages, perhaps, and the trade school model of master/apprentice: We will talk a little bit, you and I, then I’ll ask you to try something. Then I’ll give you some feedback in what I see you are doing well and what you could improve on. Then we’ll do it again. We’ll progress together like this, following a defined process and repeating the query/input/feedback loop until we reach a milestone. At the end of the milestone (some call it “assessment”), I’ll give you feedback, but you will ALSO do a self-assessment of what lessons you’ve learned in our working together — about the subject matter and about yourself performing this process to a result. Then we’ll do the whole process again, probably on a slightly different topic…
I gave a presentation at Maricopa Community College Tech Day in May 2013, and talked about the “Three R’s” for good instructional design: Regularity (reduce variation), Repetition (of the process), and Reward (extra credit and motivation).
I have taught classes as follows as of March 2014:
Courses Taught: Program Type Institution*
Advanced Management and Leadership BSBA, MSM OC CSU
American Free Enterprise ASB O CSU
Business Ethics BSBA OC CSU
Capstone: Business Policy and Strategy# BSBA O CSU
Capstone: Total Quality Management (TQM)# BSBA, MSM C CSU
Communications# BSBA, AS C CSU
Critical Thinking and Writing# BSBA, BSM OC CSU
CRW170: Intro to Fiction AA. AS O GCC
Developmental English# AA, AS C RVC
ENG091 AA, AS C GCC
ENG101 AA, AS O,C GCC
ENG102 AA, AS O,H,C GCC
English Composition# AA, AS C RVC
Exploring the Short Story — C CLR (RVC)
Fundamentals of Executive Mgmt MBA, MSM OC CSU
Introduction to E-Commerce BSBA O CSU
Labor Relations BSBA, AS C CSU
Management and Leadership BSBL OC CSU
Managing and Leading the Diverse Org MBA, MSM O CSU
Persuasive Writing# ASB O CSU
Technical Writing# AA, AS C RVC
#Significant composition component(s).
C= classroom. O = online. OC = online & classroom. H = Hybrid.
*CSU = Cardinal Stritch University; GCC = Glendale (AZ) Community College; CLR = Center for Learning in
Retirement; RVC = Rock Valley College.
Many/most classes taught multiple times. Also developed TQM Curriculum and Capstone course for CSU, and taught Indian nationals how to write technical manuals per ATA specifications for aerospace industry circa 2005-2007 (ESL).