Shelley Reid .


English 615
Composition Pedagogy

Course Information

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Policy Plus Assignments Plus Critical Reading Strategies
Course Goals Course Books Course Grading

Contact Points:


Robinson A 420

Office Phone:


Office Hours:

M 11:00 - 1:00; T 10:00 - 11:30; R 1:30 - 2:30



Robinson A 487


Course Goals

In English 615, you'll find both immediate help with course planning and support for your continuing development as a teacher of writing, as well as a community of supportive peer-learners.

Class sessions and assignments will help you find a workable balance between -- and links among -- principles and practices in teaching, and help you becomeaware of a variety of options and reasonings for writing and teaching writing well.

We'll also focus on developing strategies for noticing teaching and learning to help you strengthen your teaching vision and increase your teaching range.  One way to notice how people teach or learn writing is to write and revise writing while you are reflecting on those actions, so we'll do that, too.

Finally, we'll place a high value on collaboration and community development, because good teachers almost never become good—or stay  that way—all on their own.

Tell me more about the set-up of this course... (click here)


Course Tools & Expectations

The Books & Readings

Bean, Engaging Ideas (1996)

Moore and O'Neill, Practice in Context (2002)

Straub, A Sourcebook for Responding to Student Writing (1999)

Also, occasional readings accessible via university library databases such as JSTOR, accessible through the E-Reserves, or posted on WebCT (


The Assignments and Grade Values, Very Briefly:

Teaching Practicum Assignments (3): 


Syllabus Folder: 


Community Participation (including weekly e-posts/exercises):


Final Teaching/Writing Portfolio (including Exploration Essay): 


Revisions are always allowed; let me know if you'd like to revise something for a new mark/grade. 

There is no final exam in this class. Your final portfolio is due during the last week of class.


Grading Expectations for Class Assignments

To earn full credit (or "A"-level grades) on your assignments for this class, your writing generally will need to be

  • complete, including all steps or pieces, and responding to all designated questions
  • specific, drawing on "one-time-only" examples, direct quotations, and/or individual events to support your reflections/claims, "going deep" on a few points rather than covering a broad issue
  • aware of complexities, alternatives, contradictions, and/or multiple variables; your attention to questions will be as valuable and valued as your hypotheses and answers
  • reflective about connections between principles and practices, between your experiences or desires and your plans, among ideas presented about teaching or learning writing
  • responsive to the needs of our classroom community—depending on the assignment, this may entail being consistent or on-time with a task, engaging or supporting your peers, or including or recognizing their contributions
  • and, in the case of the final version of your exploration essay and syllabus materials, well-written:  focused, organized, thoughtfully revised, engagingly voiced, with details attended to

Drafts of assignments will be assigned one of two letters:  S for drafts that are making Satisfactory progress with these criteria, and I for drafts that are Incomplete or that miss the mark significantly.

Short assignments will usually be marked as check-plus (√+), check (), or check-minus (√-) based on these criteria.  These marks may be loosely translated to 10, 9, and 7 on a 10-point scale.  A balance of check-pluses and checks will be sufficient to earn an "A" for a collection of assignments.

Other Policies of Note:

Attendance is expected.  This is a collaborative, workshop- and participation-intensive class, so missing more than one meeting will affect your participation grade.  (And we'll miss you!)

A strict late work policy is inappropriate, given our emphasis on drafting and revising through the semester, though I expect that overall you'll keep up with both the reading and the writing.  If you have to miss a due date, or you start to feel that you're falling behind, please let me know so we can work out some alternatives.

Although it goes without saying, sometimes saying it is important, especially for an interactive class:  you should maintain an attitude of professionalrespect and courtesy—though certainly not always agreement—toward other class members. 

Students with disabilities: Students with documented disabilities are legally entitled to certain accommodations in the classroom.  Students requesting such accommodation must present faculty with a contact sheet from the Disability Resource Center(703-993-2474).  I will gladly work with students and the DRC to arrange fair access and support.

Please save everything you write for this class: all drafts, reflective writing, scribbles, handouts, logs, assignments, etc.  Keep the original paper copy if possible (not just the e-copy on disk).  This will make assembling your portfolio in May much easier!







Last updated August 2005.Email Shelley Reid