Teaching Philosophy

Statement of Teaching Philosophy-Toddi Norum

Concept of Learning:

I taught technical writing for two years at Cochise College in SE Arizona when I myself was a young but experienced practitioner in the field. I remember some of my students entering the class telling me how much they hated to write. By the end of the course, I found that I had students who had changed their minds about writing, articulating to me that I had influenced their understanding of the process; helping them break content into chunks and tasks that made it simpler.

From my own sophomore year in college at Colorado State, I started to enjoy academic and technical writing because I was influenced by a book, “Writing to Learn” by William Zinsser, a book which forever changed my research and writing process-turning writing into a tool for discovery and understanding for me.  I’ve referred it (and used it in class) at least a hundred times since then. I found myself understanding subject immersion and engagement from the perspective of learning about and writing about things that you love. Teaching, particularly teaching and mentoring students in the areas of passion and innovation, are no different to me. Mastery of a subject and the subsequent ability to communicate about that subject comes from an interest in the very subject you’re learning.  Loving a subject allows you to make a deep dive into comprehension.

Concept of Teaching:

As a teacher, I believe that a big part of teaching students to master a subject has to do with inspiring them in ways that uniquely resonate with them. I’ve been a life-long learner myself and I’m passionate about learning as a transformation of thought and actionable outcomes, changes in behavior or the abilities to discuss something that you may not have known about before learning happened. I love to teach critical thinking, to act as a devil’s advocate and pose questions and discuss risks. But I’m also a passionate champion for my learners, working to find the places where we can both engage and learn. I’ve long acted in a coaching role, working with a young team of LA filmmakers to build a brand, and most recently working with a UCCS student in her senior year, coaching her on a business plan, and introducing her to key stakeholders that she should meet. I’m a “connect-the-dots” person. I listen and remember people and resources, and I connect people to each other.

Goals for Students:

I love it when I see students articulate an idea, form a plan, strategize the steps and tactically act on them with clear skill in critical thinking, clear writing and with creative problem-solving.