syllabus for composition theory and practice, engl3515




Jan. 14-21


1 & 2






Jan. 28

Week 3





Feb. 4

Week 4



Feb. 11

Week 5








Feb. 18

Week 6



Feb. 25

Week 7











Mar. 4

Week 8







Mar. 18

Week 9






Mar. 25

Week 10



Apr. 1

Week 11





Apr. 8

Week 12







Apr. 15

Week 13



Apr. 22

Week 14



Apr. 29

Week 15



Topic and Readings


What is writing for?

Elbow, “Reflections on Academic Discourse:  How It Relates to Freshmen  and Colleagues” (handout)

Bartholomae, “What Is Composition…and Why Do We Teach It?”  (except “Criticism” section) (e-reserves)

Crowley, “The Invention of Freshman English” (handout)

hooks, “Language: Teaching New Worlds/New Words” (handout)

Heath, “Work, Class, and Categories:  Dilemmas of Identity” (handout)


How do we learn how to write?

Rose, “I Just Wanna Be Average” (e-reserves)

Britton, “Now That You Go to School” (except parts iv and v) (e-reserves)

Moffett, “Kinds and Orders of Discourse” (e-reserves)

Elbow, “What Follows from Taking a Theoretical Stance?”


What writing processes do we/could we use? 

Overview:  Reither, “Writing and Knowing: Toward Redefining the Writing Process” (Corbett)

C      Invention:  Connors and Glenn, “Teaching Invention” (Connors and Glenn)

C      What is an idea?:  Hoy, “The Outreach of Idea” (e-reserves)

C      Reading theory: 

     Hull and Rose, “’This Wooden Shack Place’:  The Logic of an

     Unconventional Reading” (e-reserves)


C   Reading and writing:  Salvatori, “Conversations with Texts:  Reading in the Teaching of Composition” (Corbett)

C   Audience:

    Elbow, “Closing My Eyes as I Speak: An Argument for Ignoring Audience” (Corbett)

    Park, “The Meaning of ‘Audience’” (Corbett)

C   Genre:  Moffett, “Kinds and Orders of Discourse” (e-reserves)

C  Drafting:  Connors and Glenn, “Teaching Composing Processes” (Connors and Glenn)

C   Responding:

C   Teacher response:

    Sommers, “Responding to Student Writing” (e-reserves)

    Hunt, “A Horse Named Hans, a Boy Named Shawn: The Herr von Osten Theory of Response to Writing” (e-reserves)

    Anson, “Response Styles and Ways of Knowing” (e-reserves)

  Beach, “Showing Students How to Assess: Demonstrating Techniques for Response in the Writing Conference” (e-reserves)

C      Peer response: “A Theoretical Framework for Studying Peer Tutoring

         as Response” (e-reserves)

C   Summary of the literature:  Horvath, “The Components of Written Response: A Practical Synthesis of Current Views” (Corbett)

C   Revision:  Sommers, “Between the Drafts” (Connors and Glenn)

C   Editing (grammar, syntax): 

     Shaughnessy, “Syntax” (mainly 72-89)(e-reserves)

     Bartholomae, “The Study of Error” (e-reserves)

     Hartwell, “Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar” (Connors and Glenn)

     Gebhardt, “Sentence Combining in the Teaching of the Writing Process” (e-reserves)

     Harris and Rowan, “Explaining Grammatical Concepts” (e-reserves)

C   Assessment:  White, “Responding to and Grading Student Writing (e-reserves)


What theories/values are embedded in our conceptualizations of how people learn to write and what “the” writing process is?

Berlin, “Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories” (e-reserves)

Rose, “Crossing Boundaries” (e-reserves)

Mayher, “Uncommonsense” (e-reserves)

Elbow, “What Is English” (e-reserves)

Williams, “Rhetoric and Writing” (e-reserves)


What kinds of classrooms (or, larger, environments) foster the learning of writing?

C      Students Relationship to Writing:  Newkirk, “Writing as Self-Presentation” (e-reserves)

C      Authority issues:  Mortensen & Kirsch, “On Authority in the Study of Writing (e-reserves)

C      Collaboration: 

 Bruffee, “Collaborative Learning and the “Conversation of Mankind” (Connors and Glenn)

     Ede and Lunsford, “The Pedagogy of Collaboration” (e-reserves)

C      Diversity:  Moss and Walters, “Rethinking Diversity:  Axes of Difference in the Writing Classroom” (Connors & Glenn)

C      Teacher’s Role:

     Elbow, “Embracing Contraries in the Teaching Process” (Corbett)

     Murray, “The Listening Eye: Reflections on the Writing Conference”


     Tobin, “Reading Students, Reading Ourselves:  Revising the Teacher’s Role in the Writing Classroom” (Corbett)

     Morgan, “Ethical Issues Raised by Students’ Personal Writing” (Corbett)

C      Research Results:  Hillocks, “Validity, Implications, and Recommendations” (e-reserves)

C      Writing Center:  Harris, “Talking in the Middle Way: Why Writers Need Writing Tutors” (Corbett)

C      Technology:  Moran, “Technology and the Teaching of Writing” (e-reserves)

C      Learning Disability: Dunn, “chapters 4 & 5” (e-reserves)

C      English as a Second Language:  Zamel, “Strangers in Academia:  The Experiences of Faculty and ESL Students Across the Curriculum” (Corbett)

C      Clark, “The ESL Student in the Freshman Composition Class” (Connors and Glenn)


What is composition theory and practice?

Students’ own theory statements          


Final Project:  To Be Determined