Teaching Composition

[Please note that this restricted enrollment course. If you would like to enroll in this class, please contact the instructor at sammons@hawaii.edu. Please also note that the class carries both an “O” Focus designation and a “W” Focus designation. In addition, then, to a fair amount of writing, you will also be engaged in several “oral communication activities” during the course of the semester.]

Our general goals in this class are to help you learn (a) how to teach writing and (b) how to tutor. You will, therefore, be learning various theories about teaching writing and various theories about tutoring; in addition, you will learn quite specific methods for implementing these theories. The bottom line: you will discover how to help your tutees (i.e., the students whom you will be tutoring, usually one on one) improve their planning, fluency, revising, editing, and workshopping. This is a practical, hands-on class, with a minimum of lecturing and a maximum of problem-solving collaborative learning. Students who take this class have gone on to graduate school in Composition and Rhetoric, taught in the JET (The Japan Exchange and Teaching) programme, or wound up teaching writing in high school or in a community college. If you are at all interested in a career as an English teacher, this is a good class in which to get your feet wet.

Course requirements include short letters to the class (distributed via the class’s Laulima site), a literacy narrative, one individual class presentation, one collaborative class presentation, participation in “mock tutorials” (which may be taped so that we can talk about them in some detail), observation at the UH-M?noa Writing Center in Sinclair Library, three short essays, a midterm project, a course project (several options here), and a collaborative class project. Faithful class attendance is a must, as is frequent class participation.

Our main texts are:

  • Paula Gillespie and Neal Lerner’s THE ALLYN AND BACON GUIDE TO PEER TUTORING, 2nd edition (2003)
  • and Ben Raforth’s A TUTOR’S GUIDE: HELPING WRITERS ONE TO ONE, 2nd edition(2005)

Useful theoretical material appears in Cristina Murphy and Steve Sherwood’s THE ST. MARTIN’S SOURCEBOOK FOR WRITING TUTORS, 3rd edition (2007). An optional text for this class is Martha Maxwell’s WHEN TUTOR MEETS STUDENT, 2nd edition (1994).