Course Description

Seminar in the Teaching of English Composition
ENG 79000 • Fall 2015

Professors:  Dr. Cheryl Smith and Dr. Lisa Blankenship, Department of English

Class Time & Location:  Thursday, 2:30-4:30pm, English Dept Seminar Room, 7-238

Course Description and Objectives

This seminar focuses on the history, theory, and practice of teaching college-level writing. Our emphasis is on the pedagogical choices we make and how our choices may be informed by theories on teaching and learning to write, our experiences in school (as both students and teachers), and our beliefs about education, writing, and reading.

We will use our classroom experiences during the semester to talk about the complex dynamics of teaching and learning and develop informed approaches to syllabus construction, classroom management, assignment design, and commenting and grading. We will also explore larger questions informing the teaching of college writing and English studies more broadly. These will be determined by our common interests and may include: multilingual writers; digital media and multimodal composition; visual rhetoric; the politics of access and remediation; the history of open admissions at CUNY and Mina Shaughnessy; Writing across the Curriculum; critical pedagogy; feminist rhetorical practices; the future of English departments, and other relevant issues to the field of English studies. Seminar participants will develop their individualized approaches to and theories on teaching first-year composition and represent them in a final teaching portfolio suitable for use on the job market.

Course Outcomes

  • Apply and adapt theories of composing process to the teaching of writing.
  • Reflect critically about your own teaching and writing practices.
  • Design and implement inquiry-based, scaffolded writing assignments that enhance student learning.
  • Integrate digital technologies into reading and writing pedagogy in meaningful ways.
  • Respond to and evaluate student writing in ways that encourage revision and deep learning.
  • Plan and implement interactive course sessions that help students develop transferable reading and writing skills (e.g, invention and research strategies, audience analysis heuristics, reflective habits, critical reading strategies, revision and editing techniques)
  • Adapt instruction to the individualized needs of students.
  • Develop practical skills in classroom management and course organization.
  • Design a course syllabus that achieves the common outcomes of writing program curriculum while also contributing actively to our collaborative culture of innovation.


  • Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing, 7th edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2014. Eds. Glenn, Cheryl and Melissa A. Goldthwaite.
  • Readings on our course Blogs@Baruch website