Teaching About Teaching: A Philosophy of Critical Literacy Through Phenomenological Ethics and Rhetorical Practices

Corina Lerma, University of Texas at El Paso


This thesis presents a phenomenological approach to developing an alternative teaching curriculum for a first-year writing course anchored in rhetorical practices, but reflecting upon my experiences and understandings of phenomenological ethics and philosophy, which I believe can help envision the classroom differently and provides relevant theories to help develop more ethically aware rhetorical practices for first-year composition students. A phenomenological ethical approach that is grounded in experience, embraces ambiguity as an access point, and makes a call to responsibility and problematizes the ideas associated decontextualized and prescriptive teaching practices in higher education foregrounds the ethical implications and responsibilities we hold as part of being in and of the world. This alternative and potential model focuses on the potentialities that everyday students bring with them to my classroom as well as exploring a complementary meta-pedagogical approach on the phenomenon of “teaching about teaching” that can ensure teaching remains a reflective endeavor. I’ll be doing this with the help of the phenomenological theories of Simone de Beauvoir, Emmanuel Levinas, and Hannah Arendt and their similar concerns and goals with making students more aware of how being introduced to their own socio-political determinations can shed light on their potential to negotiate and historicize themselves in the world.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Ethics|Rhetoric|Language arts|Education philosophy|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Lerma, Corina, "Teaching About Teaching: A Philosophy of Critical Literacy Through Phenomenological Ethics and Rhetorical Practices" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30242610.