ENGL 5389-001 (Summer II 2007)

Seminar on Critical Reading, Writing, and Thinking (Theory and Practice)


Class meets July 19-August 7, 2007 M-Th 9AM-1PM in Carlisle 100a.


Instructor: Tim Morris

Contact Information: (817) 272-2692; tmorris at uta dot edu

Office Hours: By appointment


Description of Course: This seminar investigates problems and approaches to teaching composition and reading to first-year college students. Readings concentrate on current theories of composition, reading, and critical thinking. Although the course is specifically oriented towards training new graduate teaching assistants at UTA, it is possible to adapt material to other courses and other levels of instruction.


Student Learning Outcomes: Students will learn how to/be able to. . .

·         Summarize the major approaches/theories for teaching first-year college composition and writing.

·         Identify and analyze major problems typically involved in teaching first-year college composition and reading.

·         Analyze and synthesize information in assigned readings.

·         Apply information learned in class from readings to addressing typical challenges in teaching composition and reading to first-year college students.

·         Develop a 1301 essay assignment sequence, complete with grading criteria.

·         Assess their own and other students’ essays for effective content, organization, coherence, clarity, style, grammar/mechanics, and format.

·         Create and present effective and pedagogically sound individual reading and lesson plans.

·         Propose an effective, comprehensive, detailed, and theoretically sound ENGL 1301 course plan.

·         Share with instructors/classmates their own personal insights and observations about teaching composition and reading to first-year college students.



Successful completion of the course is required for students to attain a teaching assistantship for the 2007-2008 academic year.


Required Textbooks and Other Course Materials: St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing 6/e (Glenn); Teaching Composition 2/e (Johnson); Course Packet and Maus Packet (available from Tim Morris); Understanding Comics (McCloud); Maus I and II (Spiegelman); They Say/I Say (Graff and Birkenstein); and The Teacher’s Guide to the First Year Program for Critical Reading, Thinking, and Writing 2007-2008 (available online at http://www.uta.edu/english/home/graduate/index.html).


We will provide the following: The Blair Reader 6/e (Kirzner/Mandell), The Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers 8/e (Troyka), Maus I and II (Spiegelman), and They Say/I Say (Graff/Birkenstein).


Descriptions of Major Assignments with Due Dates:

I.   Keep a resource notebook. You will need to respond to 9 chapters in Glenn and another 38 articles/essays: 18 in the packet, 7 in the “Anthology of Essays” section in Glenn, and 13 in Johnson. You should also keep class notes, materials, and reflections in this notebook. Notebooks are DUE on August 6. Incomplete notebooks will not receive full credit.

A.   Write 50-100 word summaries of each of the nine chapters from Glenn and put them in the first section of your notebook.

B.   For the 38 articles/essays that appear in the packet, in the anthology section of Glenn, and in Johnson, select 19 (one-half of them) and write approx. page-long (DS) summaries-responses. Put the summary-responses in alphabetical order in the second section of your notebook and number them.

C.   Write summary-responses for McCloud and Graff & Birkenstein.

Summary-Response Guidelines: Be sure to have the following three parts in each of your summary-responses:

1. Summarize: In two or three sentences (a short paragraph—approx. 50 words), restate in your own words the main message or central point of the piece.  You should focus on stating the gist of the reading, not the supporting evidence from the piece or details or your reaction to it.

2. Synthesize: In the next paragraph or two, weave together ideas/material from the reading with something else. That “something else” can be information/ideas from prior readings/class discussions or personal prior knowledge (especially try to draw on personal experience as a student or teacher). The goal here is to weave together ideas in a novel way that shows interesting new patterns by interpreting the readings through your own experience and/or seeing new relationships between those ideas and ideas presented in other works. Try applying the following rhetorical/analytical strategies to this task: compare and contrast ideas/experiences, extend or combine definitions from sources, apply examples or descriptions from one source to illuminate ideas expressed in another source, or link causes and effects presented in one source to explaining another source.

3. Apply: Try to think of a way that the reading might apply to or influence your own teaching practice: is this an idea to try (how so)? Or is this an idea to avoid (why)?


D.   For the rest of the 19 essays not selected for “B” above, write “reading notes” in which you choose a quotation that you think captures the essence of the article. For each reading note, write a short explanation of why you think the quote represents the meaning of the article, and a few comments about its importance to you. Notes on each article should be about 1/3-1/2 pages long, DS. Place the “reading notes” in the third section of your notebook in alphabetical order and number them.


E.   Other sections in your resource notebook should contain your own class notes, handouts, and a daily record of insights and observations from the class.


II.   Write a 1301 “Literacy Autobiography” student essay (4-6 DS pages) by following a process that includes reading and analyzing texts and writing an essay in several drafts. DUE July 30.


III.  Develop an essay prompt, process materials, and a grading rubric that you might hand out to your ENGL 1301 class. You may use the Reader Response Essay assignment or develop a prompt that asks students to meet learning goals similar to the Reader Response Essay. The materials should make the assignment and grading criteria clear and should lead students through the process of completing the assignment (approx. 3-4 DS pages). DUE August 2.


IV.   Teach two 15-minute demonstration classes, one on reading (DUE Aug. 1) and one on writing. DUE Aug. 6.


V.   Final project, DUE August 7:

a.   Develop a detailed syllabus and course calendar for ENGL 1301 and write an essay (5-7 pages DS) that explains your approach to teaching 1301. Incorporate explicit references to relevant course readings and to discussions and other class activities.

b.   Give a 5-minute presentation based on the essay.



Grading Policy: Your grade for the course will be based on your satisfactory completion of all 5 categories of major assignments (see descriptions & due dates above). The overall grade will be calculated as follows: (I) resource notebook—25%, (II) Literacy Autobiography 1301 essay—10%, (III) Essay Assignment, Grading Rubric, and Process Materials—10%, (IV) two teaching demonstrations—15% each (total = 30%), (V) final project—25%.


Attendance Policy:  Regular and prompt attendance are indications of professionalism and reliability. Missing class and/or coming to class late will jeopardize your grade and your assistantship. No incompletes will be given.


Drop Policy: A grade of W may be assigned if a student chooses to withdraw from a class after Census date, but prior to the last date to drop posted in the University’s Academic Calendar. However, the grade of W is not automatically awarded. Graduate Students must consult with their Graduate Advisor before withdrawing from a class. Further, graduate students must secure the permission of their instructors and be passing the course (have a grade of A, B, C or P) at the time they intend to withdraw to receive a grade of W.


Americans With Disabilities Act: The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 92-112 – The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens.


As faculty members, we are required by law to provide “reasonable accommodations” to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty of their need for accommodation and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels.  Information regarding specific diagnostic criteria and policies for obtaining academic accommodations can be found at www.uta.edu/disability. Also, you may visit the Office for Students with Disabilities in room 102 of University Hall or call them at (817) 272-3364.


Academic Integrity: It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University.

”Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts.” (Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Series 50101, Section 2.2)

Student Support Services Available: The University of Texas at Arlington provides a variety of resources for students. Visit the UTA website’s “Information for Current Students” (http://www.uta.edu/uta/current.html) for more information about health and counseling services, multicultural affairs, finances, computing services, and student organizations.



All readings and assignments are DUE by the start of class on the date listed.


Thursday, July 19 (Day 1): Welcome and Introduction, Policies and Procedures, Department Tour, Using Preston Hall “smart classrooms,” Library research presentation, Writing Center tour.


Monday, July23 (Day 2): What is Composition?

READINGS: Glenn: Lunsford and Glenn (452-65). Johnson: Berlin (19-38), Bartholomae (39-67). Packet: Hairston, Fulkerson, Bitzer. Graff and Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say.


Tuesday, July 24 (Day 3): Reading Processes. Assign literacy autobiography. Assign teaching demonstrating on reading.

READINGS: Packet: Birnbaum, Wilson & Anderson, Wood, “College Reading Instruction.” Survey The Blair Reader, read pp. 1-9, and read Rodriguez, Erdrich, Douglass, Tan (“Mother Tongue”), Kozol, and Eighner. (No summary responses necessary for Blair texts).


Wednesday, July 25 (Day 4): Writing Processes. Assign teaching demonstration on writing. In-class work on literacy autobiographies.

READINGS: Glenn: Chs. 6-8 (151-221), Emig (282-89). Johnson: Sommers (168-78). Packet: Wood, “Taking Essay Exams.”


Thursday, July 26 (Day 5): Peer Critiques and Conferencing Scenarios. Writing Center. Classroom Management. Workshop literacy autobiography drafts. Assign essay prompt and process materials.

READINGS: Glenn: Ch. 3 (56-88). Johnson: Rose (122-35), Booth (136-44). Packet: Householder, Murray, Harris. Review Judicial Affairs website information about plagiarism and dealing with disruptive students (http://www.uta.edu/studentaffairs/judicialaffairs/faculty.html). (No summary response needed for judicial affairs website.)


Friday, July 27: No class


Monday, July 30 (Day 6): The Social Turn and Visual Rhetoric. Discuss Maus unit. Due: Literacy Autobiography.

READINGS: McCloud’s Understanding Comics, Spiegelman’s Maus I and II. Glenn: Herzberg (441-51). Johnson: Freire (91-102), George (334-57), Hocks (358-82). Packet: Ruskiewicz, Toner, Ehses, Levy, Berlin, Winter & Robbins. Read Maus packet, as well as Milgram and Huxley from Blair—no responses required.


Tuesday, July 31 (Day 7): Developing Writing Assignments. General Teaching Strategies. Continue discussion of Maus unit.

READINGS: Glenn: Chs. 1, 2, 4, 9 (3-59, 89-113, 222-48). Packet: WPA Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism. Also, review composition studies blogs at http://collinvsblog.net/ and GTAs’ class blogs at http://piperdavis.edublogs.org and http://clought1301.blogspot.com.


Wednesday, August 1 (Day 8): Special Populations. Due: Teaching Demonstration—Reading.

READINGS: Glenn: Rose (397-416), Moss-Walters (417-40), Horner-Trimbur (505-33). Johnson: Harris & Silva (470-84), Rothgery (539-45).


Thursday, August 2 (Day 9): Responding and Grading. English Department Staff policies. Due: Essay Prompt and Process Materials.

READINGS: Glenn: Ch. 5 (114-48), Bloom (361-70). Johnson: Sommers (383-91), Elbow (393-411), Hartwell (441-68). Packet: Daiker, Elbow.


Friday, August 3: No Class


Monday, August 6 (Day 10): Due: Resource Notebooks and Teaching Demonstration—Writing. Senior GTA panel.


Tuesday, August 7 (Day 11): Final discussion and presentations. Class meets at 9:00 AM. Lunch at noon or when presentations are completed. Location TBA. Due: Final project.