English 655

ENGL 655

Catalog Entry

English 655: Practicum in the Teaching of Expository Writing
Credit Hours (3).

Prerequisite: Appointment as a second-year Graduate Teaching Fellow and completion of eighteen hours of graduate work.

Application of current theory, research, and practice of composition to actual classroom setting; participants work closely with faculty mentors who assist them in designing and implementing their writing courses and in assessing classroom practice. Can be repeated once for credit; cannot be included as part of a student's program of studies leading to a master's degree.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course emphasizes that teaching composition should be a collaborative activity involving the development of integrated views of writing and of the teaching of writing. Because students work closely with faculty mentors to plan, develop, implement, and assess their writing courses, these teachers discuss current composition theory, research, and practice as they build programs of instruction. Further, workshops provide participants with a forum to discuss their ongoing assessment of practice and their emerging concepts of writing and teaching. This discussion is held against the larger backdrop of the theory, research, and practice current in the discipline.

The course emphasizes that teachers should be researchers of their own theory and practice. Fellows use writing (e.g., journals) and discussion with other program participants to record and examine their emerging perceptions of what constitutes writing and the teaching of writing, of how their views about writing and teaching guide their practice and assessment, and of what program areas influenced their attitudes, concepts, and practice (e.g., actual classroom experience, secondary sources). Faculty mentors guide students' investigations and shape their emerging theory and practice toward an integrated view of writing and teaching writing.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

During their first year of the teaching fellow program, students work closely with faculty mentors, who provide syllabi, assignments, lesson plans, textbooks, and other course materials. Mentors, who serve as instructors of record for courses taught by fellows, meet routinely with fellows to discuss theory and practice as it relates to their shared course materials. Mentors periodically visit their fellows' classrooms.

Fellows are responsible for teaching one section of ENG 101 or 102, for visiting their mentors' classes several times, and for preparing for bi-weekly workshops with the program coordinator which focus on specific topics in composition research, theory, and practice.

During their second year, fellows serve as instructors of record for their own sections of ENG 101 and 102. ENG 555 serves as a continuation of the mentorship program during the fellows' second year. It allows fellows to work closely with faculty mentors to design, implement, and assess their own writing courses. Mentors are responsible for assessing their fellows' classroom performance. Fellows continue to meet for bi-weekly workshops.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The purpose of this course is to provide English Department graduate teaching fellows in their second year of the program three benefits: 1) systematic help by faculty mentors in planning, developing, and implementing their own sections of English 101 and 102; 2) a forum for discussing with mentors, faculty, and other fellows current theory, research, and practice in the field of composition; and 3) assessment of teaching practice by faculty mentors. The course's primary purpose is to provide an environment in which graduate teaching fellows can develop and define the theory that grounds their practice and informs their assessment.


Assessment Measures

The course encourages teachers to actively examine their practice and to place this assessment in a disciplinary context. Faculty mentors routinely will ask fellows to discuss their assumptions, objectives and methods for classes; will observe those classes; and then will share their observations with fellows in an effort to assess practice and to plan objectives and methods for future classes. Fellows also will undergo evaluation by their writing students.


Other Course Information

Grading of students enrolled in this course is pass/fail.



March 1999