Overview: The purpose of this course
is to introduce graduate students from across the concentrations in UHM’s
English program to the major theoretical trends and complementary practices
that currently dominate college writing instruction in the United States.
Because composition pedagogy has become a wide-ranging set of practices that
both inform and grow out of an even wider set of social, linguistic,
rhetorical, and political theories, this will not be a course that will teach
students simply “how to” teach writing once and for all. Instead it will be a
course that asks students to consider the purposes of writing instruction in
the academy, to explore options (and thus implications) for teaching writing,
and to situate specific composition pedagogies rhetorically—that is, within
particular conditions of time and place (disciplinary, geographic, economic,
cultural, and political) and upon at least one ethical foundation.
Approach: The course will involve
students in an ongoing dialectic between theory and praxis, one that will be
played out in discussions, presentations, debates, and scholarly/pedagogical
projects. Students will construct frameworks for understanding and
interpreting—as well as developing and deploying—specific methodologies and
practical activities for writing instruction, particularly those made prominent
by cultural studies, feminism, queer theory, globalization, postcolonial
studies, and critical theories of technology. Individual students will also
work to understand in more theoretical, critical, and practical depth at least
one specific writing pedagogy of their own choosing, which they will research,
write about, and put into practice vis-à-vis a course rationale and proposal
that may be published online.
Assignments: Most in-class time will be
devoted to discussions. Students will have common readings to write about (25%).
They will work in teams to present a pedagogy activity that can be analyzed
theoretically but also adopted and utilized in the students’ future writing
courses (25%). The course’s major project will combine theory and practice in
the form of two interrelated documents: a critical theoretical rationale for a
specific pedagogical approach (25%); and a detailed description of (or proposal for) a college-level writing
course that is rhetorically situated, informed by recent disciplinary
scholarship, and pragmatically feasible (25%). If students agree on it, they
will publish their course rationales / proposals on a private online resource
and social networking site that some of us have been working on at UH for
teachers of First-Year writing.
prior knowledge of composition and rhetoric is required, but it will certainly
serve as an effective foundation, as will previous study across each of the
Readings: The course readings are
not yet set but will likely include many readings online (specifically via
PDF’s in Laulima and in various online disciplinary journals, such as Composition
Studies and Enculturation), plus the following:
Cheryl Glenn, Melissa
Goldthwaite, Robert Connors. The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing.
6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007.
Miller, Susan, ed. The
Norton Book of Composition Studies. W.W.Norton & Company, 2008.