6974 Syllabus

ENGL 6974                      Composition Teaching Practicum              FALL 2016

Class time and place:  LIB ARTS 224 on Wednesdays, 5pm-6:35pm and monthly colloquium sessions in Liberal Arts Tech Wing on Fridays, held on Sep 2, Oct 7, and Nov 4

Office Hours: 9:30am-12:30am Tuesdays and Thursdays

Professor Office and Email:  Liberal Arts 144I  and khowar20@aum.edu

Prerequisite: graduate standing at AUM, most likely in pursuit of master’s work in Teaching Writing, Liberal Arts, or Education. This course has no cross listing and is only offered in the fall terms. You need not have previous teaching experience to be a part of this class.

Because AUM already offers some teacher training in the form of colloquia each month, this course aims to give you something different from that. Therefore, we will not always be specifically concerned with “nuts and bolts” questions, although your mentors can help you with those things. Rather, we’ll use the time to talk about how to reach students whose needs are different from our own. This theme of accessibility will be the focus of our meetings as we discuss issues of socioeconomic class, race, gender, (dis)ability, and culture that often come into play when we work with students in the writing classroom. I believe that such issues are important in an age where we see daily news reports of polarization over matters of skin color, social class, and political affiliations in the year of an election. As teachers of freshmen in community colleges and regional universities, we are on the front lines when new students encounter these topics as adults for the very first time.

By the end of the class, students should have

1. Identified ways to maximize access to students from different backgrounds than our own.

2. Formed valuable networks of support with classroom teachers and administrative leaders at AUM.

3. Proposed a teaching philosophy based in part on observations of these people as well as class readings/discussions.

4. Create unit plan(s) for future writing classes, taking issues of accessibility into account.

5. Evaluate different approaches to teaching writing through studying scholarship in the field.

Because we learn best through entertaining multiple perspectives and engaging in conversation, this small group will also meet with a larger group once a month to discuss teaching. These meetings are called “colloquia” and are required of all instructors of composition at AUM. Due to these meetings, your class time slot on Wednesdays will be shortened to compensate for the time you attend colloquia.  While I will be your main instructor, I’m hoping you will learn from many people across campus during this semester, and events like colloquia facilitate that process. You will also be assigned a specific mentor from the Department of English and Philosophy.

Mentors for 2016:

Kim: Jeff Moody, Shannon Howard, and peer observation of Sabrina

Sabrina: Jeff Moody, Shannon Howard, and peer observation of Kim

Brandon: Heath Fowler

Juanita:  Donna Smith

Eleanor: Lisa Kent

Crystal: Mandy Kaufman

Required Materials:

Going North, Thinking West by Irvin Peckham, Utah State UP, 2011.

WordPress and Twitter accounts along with their apps on your smartphone

AUM email and contact information of classmates, mentors, and colleagues


Participation (mtgs w/mentors, colloquia, class talk)  20% (40 pts)

Come to class meetings with questions about reading, teaching, and things that excite you about your progress in the graduate program. You’ll also meet with a mentor at least 4 times this semester. During  2 of these meetings, you should arrange to observe his/her teaching. You’ll also meet with members of the composition department about syllabi and assessment. Students are allotted a maximum of 1 absence per graduate semester. More than one absence will negatively affect your grade in this category.

Written Reflections on Readings  20% (40 pts)

Each week you’ll post a reflection on the readings we study together. These reflections are not meant to be summaries of readings; instead, they should connect to your experiences in your mentor’s classroom, your classroom (if you’ve had or currently have one), and YOUR past experiences as a student. Occasionally your reflections will include creative prompts we explore in class itself (the bathroom activity, for ex.). Please use the same blog you have for the other course if you are in Comp Theory. Posting accounts of your mentor visits and observations is also an option, although you are not required to make this information public if you are uncomfortable doing so. Instead, please be ready to talk and think about those things when you report to class.

Proposal of Composition Unit  20% (midterm) (40 pts)

By mid October you will submit materials that demonstrate your knowledge of what a teaching unit looks like and how it organizes a hypothetical writing course of your design. We’ll do some of this work together and with other instructors.

This will feature the calendar and syllabus of a first unit in English 1010 at AUM. Imagine your class meets twice a week. A unit takes roughly a month (8 sessions).


Overall goals of semester and policies for classroom (an abbreviated syllabus)

Specific objectives/outcomes of unit

List of materials used (textbook choice, CMS, social media, handouts, videos)

Calendar with brief lesson descriptions for each day

Statement of accessibility in your classroom for this unit

Assignment sheet for Paper 1

Teaching Demonstration in Class 15% (30 pts)

This simulated class experience will be exactly 25 minutes long. It will look similar to the teaching demonstration you would give in an interview for a lectureship at a regional or community college. If possible, we’ll record these so you can watch them at your leisure. We’ll also critique them as a group and give feedback that will help you prepare for future interviews.  Two students will present these at a time. This will occur over two weeks of class in November.

Final Teaching Philosophy Statement, Resume, and Unit 25% (50pts)

You’ll receive feedback on the unit that you submit during the midterm and revise/extend your materials to cover two units by semester’s end. In other words, you’ll design the first HALF of a writing course, from first day to midterm. Then you will submit a teaching philosophy statement and a current resume to accompany these materials and have them for current and future job searches.

Academic Honesty:

All work submitted to this class must be your own and written exclusively for this class. Don’t recycle or reuse work.  In cases where plagiarism or other academic dishonesty is clearly established, the penalty could be a grade of “F” in the class, regardless of the value of the assignment. Students who have plagiarized will also be reported to the AUM Committee on Discipline, which may choose to impose additional sanctions. Students given an “F” for plagiarism will also have an asterisk on their transcript notifying all future parties of academic dishonesty. See the guidebook (Chapter 3) for descriptions of plagiarism as it commonly occurs.

Late Work:

Please let me know if you are not able to contact your mentor for an observation. I can step in to help contact the person or assign you someone new. When it comes to blogging and class participation, please keep in mind that those things are the very crux of a practicum experience. As such, I do not take late work; to do so means that you aren’t practicing/talking with the rest of us. Do your part to make the community of this class work. You get out of a practicum what you put into it.

Student Services:

Free Academic Support

All students have the opportunity to receive free academic support at AUM. Visit the Learning Center (LC) in the WASC on second floor Library or the Instructional Support Lab (ISL) in 203 Goodwyn Hall. The LC.ISL offers writing consulting as well as tutoring in almost every class through graduate school. The LC may be reached at 244-3470 (call or walk-in for a session), and the ISL may be reached at 244-3265. ISL tutoring is first-come-first served. Current operating hours can be found at www.aum.edu/learningcenter.

The Counseling Center

The Counseling Center provides trained stress-management professionals to help AUM students deal with problems beyond the academic sphere. Don’t wait until you’re at a crisis point to seek help; these kind and understanding folks can help you figure out techniques to manage your time, stay focused on your schoolwork, get through a personal difficulty, or simply help you determine a major that works for you. All services are confidential and free of charge to current AUM students. Please don’t let a stressful situation get the better of you—ask for help as soon as you think you need it. The Counseling Center is located in 319 Taylor Center; their phone number is 244-3469. See the Counseling Center’s website for more information:http://www.aum.edu/campus-life/student-services/counseling-center.

Center for Disability Services

Auburn University at Montgomery attempts to make reasonable accommodations to meet the special needs of its students with disabilities. Students requiring special services should notify me as soon as possible during office hours and via email. Assistance is available from the Center for Disability Services, which is located at Taylor 147. Reach them atcds@aum.edu or (334) 244-3631.


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