Writing 109ED: Writing for the Teaching Professions

Course Description:

Writing 109ED is an advanced writing workshop for students entering (or thinking about entering) graduate-level education programs. This course will introduce a range of theories about education in general and, more specifically, about teaching reading and writing in school settings. Through your own reading, writing, thinking, participating in discussion - and occasionally taking over the class as a teacher - you'll begin to develop and refine your own educational philosophy: the complex set of attitudes, beliefs and specific methodologies that will inform your life as an educator.

Because being a professional educator often requires one to be a researcher, this course will also ask you to read examples of educational research, and you'll be responsible for presenting your own research findings in several ways: a major essay; an individual presentation to the class; and an annotated bibliography. Your research strategies will include interviewing, surveying, observing, and reviewing professional literature.

I realize that not all of you will end up working as writing teachers. The rest will teach other worthy disciplines, such as math, biology, Spanish, auto shop and track. Whatever your own areas of educational interest, I encourage you to generalize from the writing-specific material we cover in this class, to determine how writing praxis, whole-language concepts, and composition theory might impact your chosen specialty. In short, I want this writing course to be useful - maybe even inspirational - to you, whatever your intended field of specialization.

As regards my own teaching style, I'm most comfortable as an elicitor of responses, a conductor of - and participant in - discussion. My job here is to facilitate the exchange of ideas, to offer suggestions for avenues of inquiry, to encourage you, to empathize with your stresses and blocks because I have them too, to model certain writing skills which I've practiced and learned over the years, to keep the momentum of the class going. The more this course resembles the "teacherless classroom" that many researchers hold to be the ideal of student-centered instruction, the more valuable the class will be ... because that means you're optimally involved.

Course Requirements:

1. Response Journals in which you summarize and respond to certain assigned readings.

2. Group teaching practicum in which your Language Skills group designs a lesson based on a chapter in the course textbook and engages the class in that lesson.

3. Major research essay (around 3000 words or 12-15 double-spaced pages) about a specific educational issue of your choosing.

4. Individual oral presentation in which you practice your teaching skills by presenting your research findings to the class and engaging us in discussion and/or exercises.

5. Final exam explaining your position about using reading/writing in a specific field, and the ways in which your experiences in this course might have helped you form this position.

Your final grade in the course will break down approximately as follows:

30% class participation;
20% research paper;
15% group teaching practicum;
30% journals;
5% final exam.

Note to disabled students:
If you are a student with a documented disability, and you would like to discuss special accommodations or needs, please contact me during office hours or via e-mail.

  Revised 9/5/06 M.P.