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ENGL 685.01 - Seminar in English Pedagogies

Instructors: Dr. F. Halpern & Dr. N. Chick
Schedule: F 10:00-12:45

“Whatever our research interests, or our theoretical positions, teaching is our job;
and applying our specific scholarly skills to the problems of doing it well could give us
something to talk about that’s really worthwhile.”
–Elaine Showalter, “What Teaching Literature Should Really Mean” 

Course Description:

This course introduces graduate students to the theories, approaches, and practices of teaching undergraduate English. Addressing all three domains of English study (literature, creative writing, and composition[1]). The goal of the course is to prepare students to teach, to reflect on teaching, and to speak thoughtfully to this part of the profession.  Students will be introduced to some of the fundamental research about how students learn, followed by the theories and practices of facilitating English-specific pedagogies (discussions of literature, writing workshops, peer review sessions, lectures and microlectures, et al), eliciting student interpretations of assigned texts, constructing a syllabus, grading student writing, and navigating the interpersonal dynamics common to the English classroom. The course will include a variety of English Department guests who will share their pedagogical approaches and practices. 

Sample Assignments:

Microlecture with feedback from the class

Give a 10-minute microlecture on a specific topic in English (e.g., an author, a text, a literary era, a genre, etc), followed by a brief formative assessment activity.  Afterwards, you will receive constructive feedback from the whole class.

Case Study and Discussion Facilitation

Write a 300 to 500-word case scenario about a moment of teaching and learning in English that raises relevant pedagogical questions and invites analysis based on this course. You’ll share this case with the class and facilitate a 30-minute discussion informed by pedagogical choices that embody what you’re learning in this course.

Teaching Portfolio

Develop a teaching portfolio (approximately 30 pages) with materials that are clearly and deeply informed by what you’re learning in this course. Each document will be accompanied by a framing piece that articulates the theories and texts that informed its development. Required texts include a statement of teaching philosophy, two syllabi from different courses, detailed plans for a first and last day of class, three essay assignment descriptions, an essay rubric, and an exam.

Final Essay

Write an essay aimed at publication in Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture ( Select a specific text, author, concept, or era from your research, and integrate relevant theories and practices that would be critical for teaching your selected topic to a group of undergraduate majors and non-majors. 

Proposed Reading List:

Ambrose, Susan A., Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman.  How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. [Excerpts]

Chick, Nancy L. “Unpacking a Signature Pedagogy in Literary Studies.” Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind. Eds. Regan A.R. Gurung, Nancy L. Chick, and Aeron Haynie.  Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2009. 36-55.

Chick, Nancy L., Holly Hassel, and Aeron Haynie. “’Pressing An Ear Against the Hive’: Reading Literature for Complexity.” Pedagogy, 9.3 (2009): 399-422.

Dawson, Paul. “Towards a New Poetics in Creative Writing Pedagogy,” TEXT, 7.1 (April 2003):

Downs, Douglas, and Elizabeth Wardle. “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)envisioning ‘First-Year Composition’ as ‘Introduction to Writing Studies.’” CCC, 58.4 (June 2007): 552-584.

Freiman, Marcelle. "Crossing the Boundaries of the Discipline: A Post-colonial Approach to Teaching Creative Writing in the  University." TEXT, 5.2 (2001):

Green, Chris. "Materializing the Sublime Reader: Cultural Studies, Reader Response, and Community Service in the Creative Writing Workshop." College English, 64.2 (2001): 153-74.

Greenberg, Susan. “An A for Effort: How Grading Policies Shape Courses.” Power and Identity in the Creative Writing Classroom: The Authority Project. Ed. Anna Leahy.  Toronto: Multilingual Matters Ltd, 2005. 121-129.

Guillory, John. “The Very Idea of Pedagogy.” Profession, 2002. 164-171.

Leahy, Anna. “Teaching as Creative Act: Why the Workshop Works in Creative Writing.” Does the Writing Workshop Still Work? Ed. Dianne Donnelly. Buffalo: Multilingual Matters, 2010. 63-77.

Linkon, Sherry. Literary Learning: Teaching the English Major. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.

Meacham, Rebecca. “Vision and Re-vision in Creative Writing Pedagogy.” Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind. Eds. Regan A.R. Gurung, Nancy L. Chick, and Aeron Haynie. Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2009. 59-79.

Nash, James. “The Attitudes of English Majors to Literary Study.” Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education 14.1 (2007). 77-86.

Schilb, John. “Preparing Graduate Students to Teach Literature: Composition Studies as a Possible Foundation.” Pedagogy 1.3 (2001): 507-525.

Scholes, Robert. “The Transition to College Reading.” Pedagogy, 2.2 (2002): 165 – 72.

Stukenberg, Jill. “Deep Habits: Workshop as Critique in Creative Writing.” Arts & Humanities in Higher Education (2016). In press.

Walvoord, Barbara E., and Virginia Johnson Anderson. Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998

Wilder, Laura. “Get Comfortable with Uncertainty: A Study of the Conventional Values of Literary Analysis in an Undergraduate Literature Course.” Written Communication 19.1 (January 2002): 175 – 221.

Wolfe, Joanna. “A Method for Teaching Invention in the Gateway Literature Course.” Pedagogy 3.2 (2003): 399-425.

Excerpts from the Following

Blau, Sheridan. The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers. Heinemann Press, 2003.

Graff, Gerald. Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.

Melzer, Dan. Assignments Across the Curriculum: A National Study of College Writing. Logan: Utah State UP, 2014.

Salvatori, Mariolina Rizzi, and Patricia Donahue. The Elements (and Pleasures) of Difficulty. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005.

Showalter, Elaine. Teaching Literature. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.