Teaching Composition

[This course will be taught synchronously via Zoom.]

In this course, students will have an opportunity to implement the theories that they will learn about producing, teaching, and tutoring writing through interactions with writers from across the UHM campus. In addition to course work, and beginning about halfway through the semester, students will work several hours each week in the UHM Writing Center, during which time they will gain actual tutoring experience. The course will explore the plethora of theories and practices about working with writers as tutors. Understanding writing as a process, for both the students who take the class and for those they work with in the writing center, will be a central theme. Readings and discussions will address practical approaches for helping students at all stages of the writing process, including invention, organization, and grammar, as well as writing for different genres and in different disciplines. The complex teacher/tutor/student relationship and corresponding issues of authority and agency will also be a focus as students identify their own pedagogical stance in the teaching/tutoring dynamic. Throughout the semester, we will draw connections between tutoring writing in a one-to-one interaction and teaching writing in a classroom setting (emphasis on the former). Underpinning all these discussions will be attention to the specific students we work with at UHM—understanding their individual approaches, strengths, and challenges in terms of writing practices; and recognizing the inherent connection between place and the practice and teaching of writing.

Because this course involves a five hour/week paid tutoring position, students need to be nominated and then apply to enroll. For more information on how to apply, please contact Dr. Todd Sammons at sammons@hawaii.edu.

Assignments (subject to change):

  • Literacy narrative
  • Online entries/responses to the assigned reading
  • A portfolio of your best online entries/responses + a reflective essay on them all
  • Mini-essays (three)
  • An individual class presentation
  • A collaborative class presentation
  • A final paper that somehow situates/critiques tutoring practices within writing center theory
  • A collaborative class project
  • Class attendance

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

Raforth, Ben, ed. A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One. 2nd ed. Portsmouth: Heinemann-Bonton/Cook, 2005.

Ryan, Leigh, and Lisa Zimmerelli. The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015.

Additional readings may be provided via the class’s Laulima site.