In his approach to an innovative, research-led teaching practice Dr Wrighton has developed a personal and professional Philosophy of Teaching (see below) and pioneers the latest advances in digital pedagogy in his Teaching Goals, Strategies, and Evaluation Methods.
Dr Wrighton’s philosophy of teaching is comprised of three core values: participation in the scholarly community, fostering the spirit of enquiry, obligation to an ethical responsibility.
In recent years considerable emphasis has been placed on the individual process of lifelong learning which takes each of us forward on our journey of personal development. Student-centered teaching is therefore vital as it focuses on the varied needs of a diverse student demographic and enables the individual to take ownership of their learning. It is Dr Wrighton’s belief, however, that effective teaching also means welcoming students into the scholarly community of their discipline. The manner by which this community collectively advances its discipline sets the standards of scholarship and maintains the values of collegiality. It is through a cognitive apprenticeship that learners grow in character and capability and so the first skill of effective teaching is in the professional person of the teacher as exemplary guide and mentor.
The spirit of enquiry has its foundations in humility. When faced with the complexity of the human experience in its fullest context we are oriented towards observation and contemplation. This perspective brings the thirst for new discovery. In the mastery of the required skills and the acquisition of subject knowledge – especially where it challenges preconceptions and received dogma – there is born an enthusiasm for the spirit of enquiry. The second skill of effective teaching then is passion and enthusiasm, drawn from humility, and is evident in the character of the teacher in the teaching of their subject. The process of enquiry nurtures the critical and creative faculties (critical thinking and creative problem solving) which effective teaching must also excite. The spirit of enquiry thereby pushes forward the frontiers of learning and is a pioneer of new thinking.
Responsibility for others is an obligation of the individual learner within the scholarly community. It is an active respect for different opinions, faiths, and value systems. The ethical imperative in our responsibility for others demands inclusivity and a welcoming of diversity amongst learners. With this responsibility understanding is protean rather than totalizing, and maintains openness to new and alternative interpretations and values parity and social mobility. It is on the lookout too for a poesis which is also socially conscious and politically engaged. The third skill of effective teaching is the ethical imperative, welcoming and celebrating alterity in community, and the commitment to applied learning: a challenging intellectual engagement with and understanding of the complex relationship between literature and society.