Teaching Composition

General Summary: In this course, students will have an opportunity to learn and implement theories about producing, teaching, and tutoring writing. Over the semester, students will develop and practice methods of working with not only different kinds of writing, but also different types of writers. Readings and assignments will be focused on cultivating methods of written and verbal response while nurturing a rich understanding of what it means to think about and engage in the work of teaching writing across a range of contexts. Overall, we will ask: what does it mean to teach writing and how do we go about it?

The course will begin by exploring the evolution of theories about teaching writing over the last several decades, with robust engagement with the major scholarly conversations in the field of Composition Studies. We will then shift into an exploration of practical approaches for helping students at all stages of the writing process, with emphasis on significant pedagogical models and methods of tutoring and classroom instruction. During this section of the course, we will address topics such as pedagogical approaches to invention, style, organization, and grammar. As we move deeper into the course, we will grapple with more complex issues, such as: writing in the disciplines, instructing English language learners, fostering inclusivity and diversity, concerns relating to authority/agency, and others. Across the semester, we will draw connections between tutoring writing in one-on-one interactions and small groups, and also teaching writing in a classroom setting.

What You Will Do:

  • Read foundational texts in Composition Studies that will expose you to the theories and scholarly conversations that inform the teaching of writing;
  • Conduct an in-depth self-study of your own writing processes;
  • Proactively participate in Writing Groups, wherein you will write, share, and tutor one another’s writing;
  • Develop and deliver Micro-Tutorials on topics of interest to student-writers;
  • Collaborate with M.A. students in the English Department’s Mentoring Program to support student writers in ENG 100; develop shared approaches to and delivery of one-on-one tutoring sessions and classroom workshops/tutorials.

Because this course includes a practical component – in which you will be responsible for tutoring and workshop delivery – you MUST be nominated by a member of the English Department faculty and then be vetted through an application process prior to enrolling. For more information on how to apply, please contact Dr. John Gagnon at gagnonj@hawaii.edu.

 Required Texts:

Murphy, Christina, and Steve Sherwood. The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011.

Ryan, Leigh, and Lisa Zimmerelli. The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016.

Additional readings will be provided electronically via Laulima.