Theory & Practice Teaching Composition (CR)

Whether you’re a Ph.D. student preparing to teach the next
semester, a writing center tutor/writing mentor theorizing your conferences
with student writers, or a student interested in learning more about
composition & rhetoric through theorized teaching practices, this course is
structured to help you build your knowledge base. The “theory” that
we will be studying in this course will come primarily from now-classic texts
in Composition Studies on key topics: course conceptualization, syllabus
design, lesson design, responding to writing, conducting instructor-student
conferences, positioning students as peer respondents, and evaluating writing.
Any of these topics invoke theory from other sources, too, as issues of subject
formation, identity construction, place, writing craft, and cultural studies
come into play. The “practice” you make of such theories will be
elaborated in weekly responses to the texts in our online space in Laulima and
in your own performances, exploring teacher-research as it meshes theory and
practice. You will design a syllabus for a specific group of student composers
in a designated institutional setting, you’ll respond to one another as you
elaborate your term project, and you will design and teach a lesson to your
classmates, who will role play as students in your course and provide feedback
to you on your performance via a SurveyMonkey questionnaire completed
immediately after you teach.

Because the vast majority of students in composition courses
will not major in English, we will
focus in particular on writing-across-the-curriculum tenets that inform
composition instruction, in particular “writing to learn” activities
that position students to use writing as part of inquiry as they
“invent” the university and learn disciplinary conventions. We will
also study “place” as it has been treated in composition scholarship
of late, our goal being to consider local issues of place that can help us
think in concrete terms about how the theories we have been studying can be
leveraged fruitfully in classrooms in Hawai’i. We will consistently nurture
learner-centered approaches to instruction.

In addition to producing a syllabus and lesson plans, you
will compose a term project in the form of a conventional print research paper
or in another medium and form that your project suggests. Readings will be
partly online in Laulima and partly compiled in a course reader. As I hope this
description makes clear, our work will be highly collaborative, requiring
flawless attendance and engaged participation not only with your own projects
but also with your peers.