Introduction to Writing Studies: Theories & Practices

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OVERVIEW

The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to foundational theories and traditional and emerging practices in composition. This course will, therefore, focus on theoretical and historical readings that will help us sketch the emergence and growth of composition as a discipline. Our practical work, including technology workshops and discussions of sample student texts, will aim to provide a specific foundation for your day-to-day classroom practices and theoretical reading and discussion will help you compose a teaching philosophy, which will be the capstone project for this course.

REQUIRED BOOKS

There are no required books for this course. All assigned readings will be provided via email or available for free through the library databases.

TECHNOLOGY

Teaching writing in the 21st century requires a working knowledge of any number of technologies. In view of this, we'll be having a number of technology workshops over the course of the semester. Workshop topics will include Blackboard, Twitter, Wordpress, and other digital spaces and tools. At the start of the semester, we will collaboratively create the final list of workshop topics.

TWITTER

At the beginning of the semester, we'll establish a Twitter hashtag for the course. My goal is to use Twitter to encourage an ongoing discussion of course concepts and give each of you an opportunity to participate in classroom discussions. This will also allow you to ask questions and receive quick responses from me and your peers.

MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS

Blogging (30%)
Participants will be asked to post weekly blogs of at least 300 words (but not more than 500 words) that synthesize AND respond to our weekly readings. Participants should also thoughtfully respond to at least 2 other participants' blogs.

Presentation (20%)
Participants will choose one of our course readings and offer a 20 minute presentation and discussion on that reading. Successful presentations will make connections to other course readings, proffer thoughtful discussion questions, and provide a handout.

Teaching Philosophy/Statement (30%)
A teaching philsophy is a reflective discussion of assumptions about and motivations for teaching. For this course, successful teaching statements will discuss
motivations for teaching
assumptions about writing
major theorists who have influenced your teaching
classroom practices that evidence any or all of the above

Teaching Materials (20%)
As this aims to be a practical as well as theoretical course, participants will create one of the following:

  • A syllabus and 5 weeks of a detailed schedule
  • A full (15 week) detailed schedule and 2 homework or classwork assignments
  • 3 major assingments or writing projects (with rubrics, hueristics, or other evaluation tools) and 4 homework or classwork assignments
  • 5 weeks of a detailed schedule and 5 weeks of detailed lesson plans (including relevant homework and classwork assignments)

READING SCHEDULE

Week 1 – Course Introduction

Introductions to Composition
Week 2 – Writing in the University

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Technology Workshop
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • David Bartholomae, “Inventing the University”
  • Patricia Bizzell, “What Is a Discourse Community?”

Week 3 – Histories of Composition

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Responding to Sample Papers
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • James Berlin, “Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories”
  • Robert J. Connors, “The Rise and Fall of the Modes of Discourse”
  • Don McQuade, “Composition in Literary Study”

Philosophies of Teaching
Week 4 – Expressivism

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Mentor Meetings
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • Donald Murray, “Writing and Teaching for Surprise”
  • Peter Elbow, “Desperation Writing”
  • Janet Emig, “Writing as a Mode of Learning”

Week 5 – Social Epistemic Rhetoric

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hours 2 & 3: Readings Discussion

  • Paulo Friere, Selections from Pedagogy of the Oppressed
  • Ira Shor, Selections from When Students Have Power
  • Bruce McComiskey, Selections from Teaching Composition as a Social Process
  • James Berlin, “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Classroom”

Week 6 – Feminism and Composition

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hours 2 & 3: Readings Discussion

  • Elizabeth Flynn, “Composing as a Woman”
  • Gail Hawisher, “Forwarding a Feminist Agenda in Writing Studies”
  • Susan Jarratt, “Feminism and Composition: The Case for Conflict”
  • Joy Ritchie and Kathleen Boardman, “Feminism and Composition: Inclusion, Metonymy, and Disruption”

Week 7 – Race, Identity, and Composition Pedagogy

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hours 2 & 3: Readings Discussion

  • Lynn Z. Bloom’s “Teaching My Class”
  • Victor Villanueva’s “Maybe a Colony: And Still Another Critique of the Comp Community” and “On the Rhetoric and Precedents of Racism”
  • Patrick Bruch and Richard Marbak’s “Race Identity, Writing, and the Politics of Dignity: Reinvigorating the Ethics of ‘Students' Right to Their Own Language’”
  • Selections from Arnetha Ball and Ted Lardner’s African American Literacies Unleashed: Vernacular English and the Composition Classroom

Week 8 – Multimodal Pedagogy

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Technology Workshop
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • Bronwyn Williams, “‘Tomorrow Will Not be Like Today’: Literacy and Identity in a World of Multiliteracies”
  • Gail Hawisher & Cynthia Selfe, “The Rhetoric of Technology and the Electronic Writing Class”
  • Kathleen Yancey, “Composition in a New Key”
  • Selection from Adam Banks’ Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: Searching for Higher Ground Classroom Practices

Considering Classroom Practices
Week 9 – Responding to Student Writing

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Responding to Sample Papers
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • Andrea Lunsford, “Mistakes are a Fact of Life”
  • Nancy Sommers, “Responding to Student Writing”
  • Peter Elbow, “Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking: Sorting Out Three Forms of Judgment”

Week 10 – Responding to Student Writing and Conferencing

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Technology Workshop
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • Mina Shaughnessy, selections from Errors and Expectations
  • Linda Flower at al., “Detection, Diagnosis, and the Strategies of Revision”
  • Selections from Muriel Harris' Teaching One-to-One

Week 11 – Collaboration and Peer Review

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Technology Workshop
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • Walter Ong, “The Writer’s Audience Is Always a Fiction”
  • Joseph Harris, “The Idea of Community in the Study of Writing”

Week 12 – Classroom Management

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Responding to Sample Papers
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • WPA Position Statement on Teaching Writing
  • Case Studies from Richard Haswell and Min-Zhan Lu’s Comp Tales

Composition Theory and Practice Beyond FYC
Week 13 – Writing Center Theory

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hour 2: Skype with Dr. Kate Pantelides
Hour 3: Readings Discussion

  • Kenneth Bruffee, “Peer Tutoring and the ‘Conversation of Mankind.’”
  • Stephen North, “Idea of the Writing Center”
  • Holly Ryan, “Changing Attitudes: Writing Center Workshops in the Classroom”

Week 14 – WAC, WID, WAW

Hour 1: Week in Review and Teaching Tips
Hours 2 & 3: Readings Discussion

  • Chris Anson, “The Intradisciplinary Influence of Composition and WAC, 1967–1986”
  • Jonathan Hall, “Toward a Unified Writing Curriculum: Integrating WAC/WID with Freshman Composition”
  • Doug Downs and Elizabeth Wardle, “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions (Re)Envisioning ‘First-Year Composition’ as ‘Introduction to Writing Studies’”
  • David Slomp and M. Elizabeth Sargeant, “Responses to Responses: Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle's ‘Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions’”

 

Image by Victoria Pickering and available on Flickr.