Loyola University Chicago

Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy

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Alyson Paige Warren

Title:

Instructor, Department of English

Loyola website:

http://luc.edu/english/writinginstructors/alysonpaigewarren.shtml  

Alyson Paige Warren obtained her MFAW from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and applies her expertise in creative writing both in her capacity as an Adjunct Instructor in Loyola’s Department of English and as a writer and illustrator of children’s books.

“I’ve definitely been a reader and a writer for as long as I can remember.”

As a member of the English Department, Alyson emphasizes the central role of student involvement in her teaching and assessment practices.

“I consider myself a constructivist. I want to teach the students what they are here to learn and make them a part of that process. I know that listening and being available to students is part of Ignatian pedagogy. I try to be available to them in as many ways as possible and also to support them in as many ways as possible.”

Essential to this effort, Alyson contends, is her employment of a wide variety of “alternative teaching practices” designed to allow students to “engage with the writing process in a new way”.

“I have a heavy online presence with regard to my use of Sakai. I tend to use multiple sign systems in the classroom, anything from listening to podcasts, to watching TED talks, to engaging in performance and debate.”

Such practices, Alyson elucidates, allow her courses to remain dynamic and engaging to her students, whose active involvement in the pedagogical process “keeps the courses fresh… and developing”.

“I think it’s a kind of trap to think that education is a passive process and the professor is just there to dump all this information in your head and you either take it in or you don’t. For me, it’s really about teaching people how to think and exposing them to things.”

This pedagogical philosophy, and its emphasis of active student engagement, has been favorably received, both in the classroom and in evaluations, by those Alyson teaches.

“My evaluations are wonderful; I get really positive feedback from students. I really let them know how important their constructive criticism and feedback are to me, and that, again, is part of Ignatian pedagogy”.

Indeed, Alyson’s commitment to Ignatian pedagogy, and its elemental mission of social justice, further informs her educational practices.

“I encourage my students to be active civil students, civil servants, and members of the community, and I really seek to model in how aware I am of what’s going on with them, in their world, and in the world in general. I believe that education can be transformative. I believe that literature can be transformative. I believe that writing can be transformative. I think that by illustrating to my students that I love what we’re doing, that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, I’m able to share with them my passion for things that have transformed me and I hope will transform them.” 

Interview by Andrew Kelly,

Student Worker, Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy