Composition Theories and Practices: English 681
Office: 200 Foust; 334-3280
Office hours: l0-l2, MW; ll-2 T; by appt.
Office: l37HmcIver; 334-6897
Office hours: l0-l2 TR; by appt.
Composition has a long, conflicted history, as both a practical response to students' needs and a theoretical exploration of how those needs might get met. From Aristotle to Peter Elbow, composition has wrestled with competing definitions of its work and its premises, and our work this semester will be to explore the field as we define for ourselves what it means to teach in that field.
We'll investigate both theories and practices as we look at the link between reading and writing, teaching and learning, processes and products. We'll read work from the past forty or so years of composition's history to consider the host of theoretical and practical issues that confront college composition teachers. And we'll continually juxtapose those ideas to our continuing classroom experience, finding strategies to confront pedagogical concerns. You'll consider as well your role as a beginning academic who must learn how to connect your teaching life to your scholarly one.
You'll meet often in groups, and group participation is crucial to your success in the course. Your group, in fact, will direct at least one seminar meeting to discuss readings and will make a presentation on a journal in the field. You'll be asked to reflect on your experience and contribution as a group member.
You'll also direct the discussion of one of the essays or an issue in the field sometime during the semester.
You'll write often and in various formats:
l. JOURNAL: Your journal will be your forum to reflect on your teaching, classroom activities, your reading and your writing. Journals will be turned in weekly, and occasionally you'll trade with a partner.
2. IN CLASS, short out of class writing: responses to reading, excerpts from journals,
reflections on work in progress.
3. ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY (l0-l5 pages): This paper will involve you in observing, recording, describing and exploring a composition classroom. Its deep look at Classroom action will allow you to speculate about methods and theories we're studying.
4. FINAL PAPER (5 or so pages): Based on an issue, problem, theory or experiment you've encountered this semester, this paper will investigate a particular issue theoretically or practically. OR: Book review and analysis. Fiction or nonfiction about writing. We'll share final projects during last week of class.
5. PORTFOLIO: Your teaching portfolio is something you'll keep with you during your graduate career at UNCG. It might include: syllabus, writing assignments, group projects, reflections, student work. You might wish to include work from 681 or other courses.
TEXTS: bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress. Routledge, l990.
The Braddock Essays l975-98. Ed. Lisa Ede
ALSO: selected articles on e-reserve
Week l: Problem solving by triadic means:
Designing Assignment #1 for l0l
Week 2: Introduction, Braddock
Categories of composition research and teaching; the canons of rhetoric
Week 3: Introduction, ch. 1-3, hooks
Teaching and learning; issues in the classroom
Week 4: Discussions: Braddock, Corder, D.Angelo, Matott, Gebhardt
Composition's venue: finding the field
Week 5: Discussions: Sommers, Connors
How to respond to writing, how to connect writing
Week 6: Discussion: Rose, Hull et al, Sommers, Flower and Hayes
How to observe
Week 7: Discussion: Hiatt,
Hooks, Ch. 5-9
The role of difference in writing
Week 8: Literature and composition discussion, Haas, Hull and Rose
Strategies for A Lesson Before Dying
Preliminary ethnographic looks--ethnog. due
Week 9: The field now: rhetoric of journals
Week l0: Discussions: Bartholomae, Harris, Hull and Rose, Brooke
Problems with error. Grammar instruction
Week ll: Paulo Freire and the culture circle
Hooks, ch. 4, l0, ll, l2
Student processes and products, the role of the group
Week l2: Proposals for final projects
Rhetoric revisited; discussions: Ede and Lunsford, Cushman, Ball and Lardner
Week l3-l5: What's gained and lost in the field? Review of all
Final project presentations
The oral dimension of the writing class; Elbow
Famous last words
Because of the assignments, discussions, and activities across the semester, you will
1) explore multiple definitions and theories of rhetorics,
2) gain an understanding of the historical chronology of these theories and rhetoricians across 2000 years,
3) examine through reading and research intersections among theories of rhetoric and theories of poetics, philosophy, literature, ethics, and culture,
4) actively use and participate in various spoken and written forms of rhetoric,
5) apply rhetorical theories to your own specialization and/or interests, and
6) reflect on the relationship of theories to practices in various contexts such as the public, academic, and private spheres.