English 322W-01. The Teaching of Writing. Beale. Wednesday
Instructor: Walter H. Beale
Office: 20 F McIver
Telephone: Office: 256-0386; home: 273-0376
Office hours: Mon-Thurs
Texts: Erika Lindemann, A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers, 4th ed
John C. Bean, Engaging Ideas: A Professor’s Guide to Integrating
Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom
Andrea Lunsford, The Everyday Writer, 2nd ed.
This course is specifically designed for future teachers of English. We will study the history, theory, goals, and practice of teaching writing and explore various kinds of applications to classroom practice. Principal topics of investigation will include the historical backgrounds of education in language and rhetoric; the rise of English literacy training in English and American schools; modern composition theory and practice; and the relationships among reading, writing, and critical thinking. We will do lots of writing in course—as a way of exploring course topics more intensely; as a way of illustrating and experiencing directly the kinds and uses of writing in school settings; and as an opportunity for reflecting on the nature and predicaments of the writing process.
Having completed this course, you should
Organization and Method of this Course
In order for this course to succeed, we will have to blend and sequence—somewhat improvisationally--the following activities:
While much of this will be interwoven, in general we will concentrate the first half of the course on the first of these activities and second half on the next two.
The internet/Blackboard component is essential. While this is a course heavily dependent upon discussion, feedback, and multiple writing assignments that need to be shared as a class, it is also a course that meets just once a week. It is everyone’s responsibility to gain internet access and to participate online.
For the reasons mentioned above, attendance at every class meeting and timely participation in all course activities, including the posting of materials to the internet, are essential. No exceptions not related to extreme circumstances and discussion are approved by the instructor.
In case of a snowstorm or ice storm which closes the University on a Wednesday night, we will go into a distance-learning mode, utilizing the conferencing and virtual classroom functions of the Blackboard system.
Tests, Papers, Projects
In addition to numerous journal entries and ungraded writing assignments, there will be a final exam (which may have a take-home component) and the following formal papers/projects:
· a literacy autobiography, which draws together life experiences, theories of writing and teaching, and informal reflections and explorations committed to paper throughout the semester
· an essay on an issue, problem, or controversy in composition studies
· a collaborative project which results in a panel discussion and separate written reviews/discussions of a book related to the teaching of writing
Grade in the Course
Much of the work in this course will consist in informal writing and class participation—work that is ungraded but which will count. You will establish a letter grade through the final exam and the projects listed above; class participation can raise or lower this grade by as much as a letter grade; your portfolio of informal writing can also raise or lower this grade by as much as a letter grade. I will provide you individually an informal assessment of this ungraded work about half way through the semester.
Tentative Course Outline and Schedule
As indicated above, the course will involve a somewhat improvisational blending of formal study, group discussion, private reflection, formal and informal writing. The course will proceed generally as follows. Individual reading, writing, and discussion assignments will be issued, discussed and posted weekly.
Weeks 1-2 The field of rhetoric and composition studies; nature, varieties
and functions of written discourse; historical overview of native-language
Weeks 3-4 Approaches to composition; issues in the teaching of writing; the fields of
language, literature, cognition
Weeks 5-7 Pre-writing traditions and techniques; approaches to subject matter;
writing to learn
Weeks 8-10 Understanding and teaching form and style in written discourse; issues of
grammar and usage
Weeks 11-12 Developing writing assignments; responding to student writing; active and collaborative learning
Week 13 Writing online; teaching with computers
Weeks 14-15 Contexts and predicaments of secondary schooling