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I prioritize listening in the classroom. Writing studies scholar Krista Ratcliffe (1999, 2005) describes the kind of listening I favor, one that is rhetorical and fosters understanding, or standing under: “consciously standing under discourses that surround us and others, while acknowledging all our particular and fluid standpoints. Standing under discourses means letting discourses wash over, through, and around us and then letting them lie there to inform our politics and ethics” (p. 205). As a result of this pedagogical priority, I developed a course in writing as community activism. This course asks students to research problems that matter to them and craft arguments about these problems. The class facilitates listening among peers as they workshop their ideas with each other. It also requires them to listen with intent to assess the rhetorical situation. Who is their audience? What is the exigence for their message, and what is the best media for delivery? Moreover, I wanted to design a course that allowed students the freedom to utilize multiple media platforms in order to refine their critical thinking skills and bolster their sense of agency.

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