I got some very helpful comments on the last post about the practicum I'll be teaching this fall. Now I want to get some feedback about readings I'm thinking about assigning. I should say first that at ULL, graduate students take a practicum and a separate composition theory course, which I'll be teaching in the spring. I think this sequence is good; graduate students get the bulk of their exposure to theory after they've had a semester of teaching experience and can perhaps do a better job seeing how the theory can be applied to practice. This way, I'm not dealing with a roomful of graduate students who are starved for practical knowledge about managing the day-to-day tasks involved in teaching a writing course and trying to deflect their needs and redirect them toward composition theory.
Truth be told, I've never thought that theory-precedes-practice approach was very productive. I was in a similar situation in my M.A. program, and while the professor was excellent, most of the students were desperate to talk about specific problems they were having in class, and it frustrated them to have those discussions pushed aside to talk about George Kennedy's "A Hoot in the Dark: The Evolution of General Rhetoric," Bitzer and Vatz, or even Ede and Lunsford's "Audience Addressed/Audience Invoked" -- though I myself am grateful to have been assigned these. I really think that the struggle to make the
pedagogy course an introduction to the field of composition studies increases hostility toward composition studies. Sure, some people aren't going to take composition seriously anyway, but it's still nice not to have to do everything all in one course.
The readings for the practicum, then, are going to be nuts-and-bolts practical. We only meet for one hour once a week, and I expect that for some meetings, we won't have readings at all but will have presentations or discussions of classroom experiences instead. I'm pretty sure I'm going to order The St. Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing and supplement it with a few other readings. If you can think of a better book, please let me know, but I actually really like the St. Martin's Guide.
"Why I (Used to) Hate to Give Grades" by Lynn Bloom
Responding to Student Writing
Straub, Richard. “The Concept of Control in Teacher Response: Defining the Varieties of ‘Directive’ and ‘Facilitative’ Commentary.” College Composition and Communication 47 (May 1996): 223-51.
excerpt from Errors and Expectations, Mina Shaughnessy
Robert J. Connors and Andrea A. Lunsford, "Frequency of Formal Errors in Current College Writing, or Ma and Pa Kettle Do Research"
Designing Writing Assignments
Chapter 13, Developing Writing Assignments, from A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers, Erika Lindemann and Daniel Anderson
Syllabus and Course Design
Chapter 15, Designing Writing Courses, from from A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers, Erika Lindemann and Daniel Anderson
I need the most help with the following, though I'd like suggestions for all of the topics:
Plagiarism, Citation, and Authorship (there's so much to choose from here)
Teaching Philosophy (there's got to be a good essay about developing a teaching philosophy and articulating it in a statement)
Teaching Portfolios (see above -- is there anything in our field about this?)
Classroom Management, Teaching Persona, Authority (i.e., ethos, performance)