ENGL 593:
Professional Seminar in College Teaching ("Rhet Prosem")

English 593 Professional Seminar in College Teaching ("Rhet Prosem")
4 Credit graduate-level course, University of Illinois (fall 2012)
Instructor: Spencer Schaffner, Associate Professor
Class meets Thursdays, 1:00-2:50, 113 English Building
Office hours: Mondays 1-4, English Building 208 (and by appointment)
email: metaspencer@gmail.com
course website: course website: @ http://go.illinois.edu/metaspencer (www.metaspencer.com)
course blog: http://compradicals.blogspot.com

This class is intended to help you to become a better teacher. We'll focus mainly on the teaching of first-year college composition, but what we cover will apply to other courses you will teach as well. Over the course of the semester, we will explore connections between theory (of written composition) and practice (of college teaching). The specific practices we'll explore will include: syllabus and assignment design, conferencing with students, responding to student work, grading, dealing with plagiarism, dealing with conflict in the classroom, diverse language practices, and developing a teaching personae.

Requirements for the course include doing weekly readings (2-3 articles per week), participating actively in class discussion, blogging about the readings in relation to teaching and learning, drafting a statement of teaching philosophy, and completing a final project.


Readings for the course are either available online or housed in our shared DropBox folder. If you don't have a DropBox account, go to http://db.tt/QkjoAHD to get one and give Spencer more space for storing readings.

Class Discussion and Various Assignments (20% of final grade)

You should come to class prepared to guide, follow, and actively engage in class discussion. There will be limited lecture in this class. For most meetings, we will talk about the readings, discuss teaching practices, and cover additional issues in the field. Your active participation in seminar discussions is vital to our progress as a group.

In addition, on some days "various assignments" will be due. This is light work intended to support the in-class discussions.

Responses to the Readings, Posted to the Course Blog (20% of your grade)

Every other week, you are responsible for posting to the course blog at http://compradicals.blogspot.com. (The class will be split into two groups, with groups posting on alternating weeks.) Your posts should be roughly 500 words, include links and visual content, and be centered on the readings. Post your responses to the course blog by 6:00 p.m. on the Wednesday evening before class. Read and comment on what others have posted before class on Thursday.

Statement of Teaching Philosophy (10% of your grade)

A one page, single-spaced statement of teaching philosophy is due on Thursday, November 15th (this is the week before Thanksgiving). We'll workshop these statements on November 8th.

Final Project (40% of your grade)

The final project is designed to be something that helps you with your teaching. For some students, this might mean creating a set of discipline-specific instructional materials (and a cover letter). For others it could mean a research paper about a particular teaching practice. Others might compile a richly annotated bibliography. I could imagine students developing online resources for students and teachers. A 1-page project proposal is due November 15th. Final projects are due December 18th by 5:00 pm.

Plagiarism Policy and Student Code

By registering for this class, students agree to adhere to the UIUC student code, online at http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code. All of your work for this class should be properly cited. Students found to have plagiarized any portion of their work in this course will receive an "F" for the class. The following web page, hosted by the UIUC library, can help you avoid plagiarism: library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/plagiarism.html. If academic citation is new to you, please attend office hours to talk about it in the first few weeks of class.

Course Calendar

(subject to change; most up-to-date version online at the course website)

Thursday 8/30: introductions
overview of the syllabus and assignments
a brief history of first-year composition (FYC)
in class reading of "Composition as a Happening" ("Lutz.Happening.pdf" in the DropBox folder)
"what is good writing?" activity and discussion about the field

Thursday 9/6: unsolicited oppositional discourse
Group A blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
read for today: Miller, Richard E. “Fault Lines in the Contact Zone." College English 56 (1994): 389-408. (Miller_Fault.pdf in the DropBox folder)
view for today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X54qDdaACh4
read for today: http://thefire.org/article/6855.html
discussion: teaching argument

Thursday 9/13: syllabus and assignment design
Group B blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
come to class with a one-page assignment for a future final project in your dream class
read for today: Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) "The Role of Tutoring in Problem Solving." Journal of Child Psychology. (Wood.Bruner.Ross.pdf in DropBox folder)
discussion: links between plagiarism and assignment design

Thursday 9/20: why teach writing?
Group A blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
read for today: Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" ("Kafka In the Penal Colony.pdf" in the DropBox folder)
read for today: Downs and Wardle (2007) "Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)Envisioning 'First-Year Composition' as 'Introduction to Writing Studies'" ("Downs.Wardle.pdf" in DropBox folder)
discussion: "the essay" vs. using multiple genres of writing in the classroom

Thursday 9/27: class does not meet (Spencer in Milwaukee)

Thursday 10/4: conferencing
Group B blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
read for today: Neal Learner (2005) "The Teacher-Student Writing Conference and the Desire for Intimacy." College English. ("Learner.Conferencing.pdf" in the DropBox folder)
discussion: hierarchies of concerns and asking hard questions
discussion: conferencing models (one-on-one, group, recorded, early, late, etc.)
mock conferences

Thursday 10/11: responding to student writing
Group A blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
due today: copy of one student paper with the name removed
discussion: minimal response, hierarchies of concerns, process-based commenting
read for today: Summer Smith (1997) "The Genre of the End Comment," College Composition and Communication. ("Smith.Genre.pdf" in DropBox folder)
read for today: Nancy Sommers (1982) "Responding to student writing," College Composition and Communication. ("Sommers.Responding.pdf" in DropBox folder)

Thursday 10/18: norming workshop
Group B blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
norming workshop today; Spencer will bring copies of student papers
discussion: visual composition

Thursday 10/25: leading discussion & teaching literature
Group A blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
discussion: models and strategies for leading discussion
read for today: J. Elizabeth Clark (2005) "Versus Verse: Poets Against War," Radical Teacher ("Clark.pdf" in DropBox folder)
read for today: Adam Barrows (2009) "Teaching the Literature of Revolution," Radical Teacher ("Barrows.pdf" in DropBox folder)
discussion: writing about literature (and close reading)

Thursday 11/1: technology in the classroom
*** email Spencer by today with your 1-page paper proposals w/ 6 works cited ***
Group B blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
read for today: Jody Shipka (2005) "A multimodal task-based framework for composing," College Composition and Communication, 57 ("Shipka.pdf" in DropBox folder)
discussion: exercises in style and the Oulipo Group

Thursday 11/8: World Englishes
Group A blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
full draft of statement of teaching philosophy due today
in-class workshop (bring 3 copies of your statement)
read for today: A. Suresh Canagarajah (2006) "The Place of World Englishes in Composition: Pluralization Continued," College Composition and Communication ("Canagarajah.pdf" in DropBox folder)
read for today: Viviam Zamel (1995) "Strangers in Academia: The Experiences of Faculty and ESL Students Across the Curriculum." College Composition and Communication ("Zamel.pdf" in DropBox folder)

Thursday 11/15: error and reading student writing
Group B blog response due last night (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
final, revised copy of statement of teaching philosophy due today
1-page project proposal due today
read for today: Joseph Williams' (1981) "The Phenomenology of Error," College Composition and Communication ("Williams.Phenomenology.pdf" in DropBox folder)
read for today: WPA Outcomes Statement http://wpacouncil.org/positions/outcomes.html

Thursday 11/22 => No Class, Thanksgiving Break

Thursday 11/29: research and teaching
short presentations of final projects (10 minutes)
last day to ask for an extension on the final project

Thursday 12/6: final class meeting
short presentations of final projects continued (10 minutes)

Tuesday 12/18: Final Project due by 5pm
(submit the project electronically or place it in Spencer's mailbox)