Theory of Teaching Composition (CR)

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, 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.

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.

In addition to
learning disciplinary content as described above, students in this course will
also be learning and experiencing (pre)professional activities that will serve
them within their PhD program and potential academic careers. These include the
development of teaching and administrative materials, practice in teaching,
guidance in proposing conference presentations, and writing for publication.


Reading Responses: On a regular (usually weekly) basis, students
will be required to write short (750-1000 words), semi-formal essays that they
will post to an online course site. These essays will usually be written in
response to a question about a reading or discussion, although others might
include a teaching philosophy statement, a conference presentation proposal,
and an abstract for a longer scholarly work.

Pedagogy Activity: Students will develop a teaching activity
that will help the class learn material and will demonstrate/enact a
pedagogical moment that can be examined and refined. The material or subject
matter can be theoretical, practical, or administrative. In doing so, each
student will develop connections to prior readings / discussions / themes / issues
tackled in the course up to that point.

Praxis Project: This final project will be a combination of
a critical theoretical essay and a corresponding practical proposal for
teaching a writing course. While any number of relevant courses might be chosen
depending on student interest and career goals, most will likely be ENG 100 at



Journal articles:

Readings will include various articles from College English,
Composition Studies, and the Journal of Advanced Composition.  Students will be responsible for finding and
compiling a collaborative resource of writings relevant to our shared
interests.  We will also likely read the
entirety of a special issue from College Composition and Communication on
teaching writing in indigenous contexts (Spring 2012).

Books to purchase (do
not purchase in advance, as this list might change):

Tate, Gary, Amy Rupiper Taggart, Kurt Schick, and H. Brooke
Hessler. A Guide to Composition
Pedagogies, 2nd ed.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 2013.

Cheryl Glenn, Melissa Goldthwaite. The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.

 Miller, Susan, ed. The Norton Book of Composition Studies.
W.W.Norton & Company, 2008.