My teaching philosophy is constantly evolving...in response to what I'm reading, encountering in daily life and in the classroom, or learning from my students. My basic goal is to provide my students with the tools to teach themselves. Some of these tools have to do with how we gain access to the creative, inspired, subconscious sides of ourselves; others have to do with our critical faculties. The writing workshops are particularly useful to help people learn to become their own best editors through editing the work of others.
Beyond that, I'm strongly interested in questions of how we live in, engage with, and observe the world. I teach a seminar on the art of observation or "seeing like a writer." Understanding our own habits of mind and how these affect what and how we see is vital to also understanding that others see differently, and that you can show a great deal about who people are by what it is that they notice or fail to notice.
My aim is to encourage my students to move their own work to its highest level, not to write like me or according to some prerequisite standard of what makes a good story. There are always a variety of styles and approaches to writing in my workshop, and I'm delighted when someone "goes too far." Beyond that, I have to agree with Henry James that "the only condition that I can think of attaching to the composition of (a work of fiction) is, that it be interesting.