Syllabus for Composition Pedagogy Course

I banged out a draft of my syllabus for the course I'm teaching next semester, which is a required composition pedagogy course. I'd like some feedback on it, especially on the following:

1. arrangement of the topics
2. reading selections.
3. spreading out of assignments
4. "uh, you are so totally not going to feel like doing that so close to delivering a baby (due May 2!)."

First let me provide some background on the course itself and its place in the graduate curriculum. Students typically take this course (English 501) before they start teaching FYC. It's meant both to introduce them to the major ideas in composition pedagogy and to prepare them for teaching their own classes.

Then, when they do start teaching, they take another course: English 509, which is the practicum. It's intended to be a very practical discussion of problems graduate students are facing in class, situations they're not sure how to handle, activities they try and how those go, etc. I taught 509 this fall.

Also, there's a course (not required) called Modern Composition Theory, which is not a special topics course, though I don't believe there's anything stopping us from focusing on a couple of ideas in depth throughout the semester. I mention this one because it has informed my thinking as I'm preparing my English 501 course; I don't want the two to overlap too much.

I'm using the second edition of Cross -Talk and the Guide as the course texts, and here are my assignments as I've envisioned them now (students are now the audience I'm addressing):

Reading Presentation: Pair up with another student, and select an article from one of the books that isn’t already on the syllabus. Assign it to the class to read, and lead the class discussion that day.

Weekly Reading Responses: These will be posted to the course web site each Friday by midnight. I intend these to be syntheses and evaluations of the reading selections from the past week.

Teaching Philosophy Statement (of Intent): 2-3 pages, double-spaced. [NOTE: the students in my 509 course had to write a teaching philosophy statement when they took 501, and they said that it was more like a statement of intent since they hadn't taught before, and I like that so I decided to implement that as the name of the assignment.]

Class Participation: I will distribute discussion questions for each reading assignment. These will be directed toward classroom practice; for example, I might ask how you would use the ideas in the article to design a writing assignment or draft classroom policies on your syllabus.

Annotated Syllabus: This is a syllabus for a first-year writing course that you will annotate with your rationales for each section. [NOTE: hopefully the choices made in the syllabus design will be informed by material in the reading.]

(No longer addressing students.) Here's the schedule. Yes, this class meets three days a week. Perhaps I should have been more vocal in trying to get that changed, but oh well. It will be good experience for me to be disciplined in my planning and management of class time. Dates reflect class cancellations for Mardi Gras (yuh-huh, we get three days off!), Spring Break, and CCCC.

Class Schedule (subject to change)

Week 1: Introductions

23 January: Introduction to course: History of composition studies, assumptions about teaching writing
25 January: James Berlin, “Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories”

Week 2: Process and Post-Process Pedagogy

28 January: Donald Murray, “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product”
30 January: Lad Tobin, “Process Pedagogy”
1 February: Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, “Post-Process ‘Pedagogy’: A Philosophical Exercise”

Week 3: Rhetorical Pedagogy

8 February: William A. Covino, “Rhetorical Pedagogy”

Week 4: Collaborative Pedagogy

11 February: Kenneth A. Bruffee, “Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind’”
13 February: John Trimbur, “Consensus and Difference in Collaborative Learning”
15 February: Rebecca Moore Howard, “Collaborative Pedagogy”

Week 5: Cognitive Theory and Teaching Writing

18 February: Linda Flower and John R. Hayes, “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing”
20 February: Mike Rose, “Narrowing the Mind and Page: Remedial Writers and Cognitive Reductionism”
22 February: Attend panel at the Louisiana Conference on Language and Literature [NOTE: I'm moderating this]:

Crossing Boundaries: Exploring New Pedagogical Sites
• Nathan Shepley (Ohio University) Composition Borderlands: Contextualizing Writing Processes through Considerations of Place
• Suzan Aiken and David McClure (Bowling Green State University) (Re)Signifying the Composition Classroom Space: Acknowledging the
(De)Centering Myth
• Adeline J. Smith (University of Texas at Austin) The Importance of the Body as a Place in Literature for Transgendered Adolescents
• Daniel Eiland, (Louisiana State University) Distance Learning Frameworks: Using Multiple Technologies to Inspire Community

Week 6: Critical Pedagogy

25 February: Maxine Hairston, “Diversity, Ideology, and Teaching Writing”
27 February: James Berlin, “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class”
29 February: Ann George, “Critical Pedagogy”

Week 7: Creating a Syllabus

3 March: The Function of the Syllabus
5 March: Review and Discussion of Sample Syllabi
7 March: The Syllabus and the Teaching Persona

Week 8: Reading Presentations

10 March: Reading Presentations
12 March: Reading Presentations
14 March: Reading Presentations

Week 9: Reading Presentations

17 March: Reading Presentations
19 March: Reading Presentations

Week 10: Reading Presentations

31 March: Reading Presentations

Week 11: Drafting a Teaching Philosophy Statement (of Intent)

7 April: The Function of the Teaching Philosophy Statement
[DUE: Annotated Syllabus]
9 April: Review and Discussion of Sample Teaching Philosophy Statements
11 April: Review and Discussion of Sample Teaching Portfolios

Week 12: Technology and Teaching Writing

14 April: Technology: Praise and Blame
16 April: Chris Anson, “Distant Voices: Teaching and Writing in a Culture of Technology”
18 April: Charles Moran, “Technology and the Teaching of Writing”

Week 13: Writing in the Institutional Context

21 April: Mike Rose, “The Language of Exclusion: Writing Instruction at the University”
23 April: David Bartholomae, “Inventing the University”
25 April: Richard E. Miller, “The Arts of Complicity: Pragmatism and the Culture of Schooling” [final Weekly Reading Response due]

Week 14: Literature in the Composition Class [NOTE: Here I'm thinking I'd bring in guest speakers]

28 April: TBA
30 April: TBA
2 May: TBA

Week 15: TBA [Work on teaching philosophy statements as it's likely that the prof will be in the hospital?]

5 May:
7 May:
9 May: DUE: Teaching Philosophy Statement (of Intent)


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De-lurking because I think

De-lurking because I think this course sounds great. It's fabulous that you have the pedagogy and practicum course split up like that.

Recently I looked back at the teaching philosophy I wrote before I began teaching. It was amazingly naive, but fun to read again. I know you've already built this kind of assignment with the Annotated Syllabus, but when I wrote that teaching philosophy of intent it would have been a good exercise to annotate it, or to provide a separate piece of writing analyzing the choices I made constructing the philosophy and how I anticipated it would guide me in the classroom.

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