4800, Fall 2006
Literature in the Secondary Schools
This section of English 4800 will ground students in traditional
approaches to literature pedagogy while simultaneously focusing on recent
waves of reform, reader response, cultural studies, and the impact of
the internet. We will use a thematic approach to integrate these approaches
as we explore a variety of cultural studies themes in a problem-posing,
For over a generation the reader response movement has generated
reform in secondary English teaching. Yet, in confronting a wide range
of students, content questions, and social and cultural issues, reader
response approaches fall short. Potential answers and new directions for
English teaching have emerged under the umbrella of "cultural
Changes in information technology are offering
to extend and reshape the teaching of literature. The inherited cultural
archive is now available on-line in formats and with complementary resources
that far exceed what is available in textbooks.
examine the legacy of reader response and the potential of cultural studies
and internet resources as we consider fundamental questions of why and
how to teach literature. By focusing on difficult and potentially controversial
cultural studies curricular themes, students will gain understanding of issues involved in
teaching literature at the secondary level, see Course Goals.
Class will be held in a wireless, laptop classroom in Wood Hall specifically
designed for English education courses. This room will allow us to integrate technology into literature
teaching in a "classroom of the future." Our class will be organized
by our on-line syllabus that will also serve as an electronic, hyperlinked,
textbook. All students will develop and publish their own teaching website,
both a portfolio of work and a real-world working site for future teaching.
This website can serve as the basis of the portfolio required during intern
teaching. Obtain help for your technology projects at the IT
Lab on the Tower Bridge of the second floor of the Computer Center.
A significant portion of the class will be student-led, as we explore
the development of response-based, cultural studies literature teaching
within the context of NCTE and the State of Michigan content standards
and benchmarks. Student groups will select topics addressing current and
controversial themes such as literature and the Third World, literature
and the environment (global warming?), literature and social class, literature and religion,
literature and sexual orientation, literature and service learning, literature
and the mass media, teaching Native American literature, literature and
white priviledge, etc. Expect to spend an additional twenty dollars on
books, packets, and reading materials for each of the student-led units
-- this reading will be announced throughout the course.
Course discussions will be significantly extended in the class on-line
discussion forum on the "English-Teacher" computer
conference. Participation in the electronic conference and in the
professional activities are all included as part of class participation.
A substantial website focused on Teaching
English Through Technology has been developed to support this class
and will provide access to streaming videos, on-line resources, and our
own server space. Dr. Webb's website (www.allenwebb.net)
is an additional resources for aspiring English teachers. Bring floppy
disks to class so you can retain copies of your work. Before the end of
the course, I urge you to burn a copy of your individual and content websites
and webquest to a CD ROM.
As the capstone experience for English Education majors, this course
entails an exciting variety of professional activities and responsibilities.
Students are expected to attend a professional English teacher's conference, for example either the MCTE Fall Conference in Lansing on October 6 or the NCTE National Conference in Nashville, Nov. 16-19 (7000 English teachers in one place!). You should also join NCTE, MCTE, and/or MRA and read
regularly the English Journal or Voices from the Middle.
Information about the Michigan Teacher Certification test is available
on the MTTC website.
The final course grade will be an average of grades for the major assignments,
listed and weighted below. At the hour scheduled for the final exam students
will attend an intern teaching panel. Class participation is vital in
480, missing more than 3 classes may lower the grade and missing more
than 5 classes may lead to failing. This course will follow WMU policies
regarding academic honesty. This course
also supports the Safe
on Campus environment (387-2123); The
Last Closet is recommended reading for gay and straight future teachers.
Dr. Webb's office is 723 Sprau Tower, 387-2605, and his office hours
are Monday and Wednesday after 3:15 and by email
and confer. If at any point in the semester if you feel stress, English
480 offers free on-line therapy from Eliza!
(One of the early products of artificial intelligence research.)
|Carey-Webb, Allen. Literature
and Lives: A Response-Based, Cultural Studies Approach to Teaching
Literature (NCTE, 2001)
Wilhelm, Jeffrey, You
Gotta Be the Book: Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading
with Adolescents (Teacher College Press, 1996)
Additional books, packets, and web sites as components in research
and group learning (up to $20 per group).
Recommended Optional Texts
Sep 5 Tuesday: Introductions
Planning the Course, Individual and Group Expectations, formation
Sep 7 Thursday: Workshop Classroom Website
1. Read carefully through the entire on-line syllabus, including all
assignments. Bring any questions about these assignments to class.
2. Think about the role of technology in the future of English teaching.
a) View the streaming video and carefully study information on classroom
websites on the "Teaching with Technology" page of the Teaching
English through Technology website. b) Be sure you know what each
page of a classroom
website should contain. c) Examine the site Growing
up Digital site: What is the "N-generation and what are its
3. Join and respond to questions on the class computer
4. Obtain unified computer account from the computer center and bring
account name and password to class. Register for your own website at
Sep 12 Tuesday: Lesson Planning Resources
1. Read three or more articles from back issues of the English Journal
that interest you. You should subscribe to the English
Journal and you can do so from its home website and view the
current issue. NCTE members can read back issues of the English
Journal at the NCTE website on-line using their membership number
as a password. Back issues are also in the Sangren Library
under the call number PE1 .E5. (Between Waldo (all issues before
1980) and Sangren (issues after 1980) we have back issues to 1912 when
the English Journal began publication--fascinating reading in
the history of secondary English teaching!) You can conduct an ERIC
search for articles on specific topics, for example for the unit you
will be leading, by setting "English Journal" as the "source."
2. Find three or more secondary English lesson plans available on
the web that you consider to be thoughtful and well-crafted. There are
many sources for Language Arts lesson plans on the web. Try Outta
Ray's Head, the Discovery School,Web English Teacher, New
York Times Lesson Plan Archive, Cyberguides,
Lesson Plans Page, ERIC, NCTE's Notes
Plus (subscribers only), Lesson
3. Drawing on at least three on-line lesson plans and three English
Journal articles, develop an annotated list of "Teaching Ideas"
with at least a paragraph of description and comments about how you
might use or modify the idea in your own classroom. This will be one
page for the teacher resources section of your website.
Sep 14 Thursday: Internet Resources
Web Resources Analysis Due (Required
Sep 19 Tuesday: Presentation of Teaching Web Sites
Sep 21 Thursday: Leading Discussion
Study the following Web Sites: Leading Discussion, Leading Discussions Cornell, Discussion Groups, Creating
Discussion Questions, as well as A System
for Analyzing Discussion. After class meeting, observe discussion
and write analysis as soon as possible, but before Oct. 3.
Sep 26 Tuesday: Reader Response
1. Read: You Gotta Be the Book to page 86
Discussion of "Joyce Davidson" case study (handout).
Sep 28 Tuesday: Reader Response Continued
1. Read: You Gotta Be the Book to end
(I assume you have already know about the Fry
Readability Graph from prior education classes.)
2. (Optional): For these two class meetings, additional background
on teaching reading, reader response, and literature circles is
available on an interesting website created by the Canadian province
of Saskatchewan. Look at : Reading
Instructional Philosophy and Teaching Suggestions and Speaking
and Listening Activities (On this page, skip sections on "Directions,"
"Telephoning," "Announcements," "Introducing
a Speaker,""Puppetry" and focus on "Roleplay,"
"Drama," and "Reader's Theater.") Also, look
at the Saskatchewan
English Language Arts middle school curriculum from which these
pages are drawn and explore the sample units where teacher and student
work has been posted on the web.
Before Class on Sep. 30/ Oct. 1: Write a response to the confer
topic on teaching reading.
Oct 3 Tuesday: Cultural Studies Teaching
1. Read: from: Literature
and Lives Introduction through Chapter Four.
2. Turn in: Discussion Analysis.
Oct 5 Thursday: Cultural Studies Teaching Continued
Read: finish Literature
and Lives, Chapter Five to end
Oct 6 Friday MCTE
Fall Conference in Lansing
Oct 10 Tuesday: Middle School Philosophy / State and National
Examine the various research papers at the National
Middle School Association web site on the page Research Summaries. Taken together, these papers comprise the "middle school
philosophy" (as opposed to the "Junior High" philosophy).
How would you compare and contrast the middle school philosophy with
response-based cultural studies teaching.
Study state and national language arts standards
also comparing and contrasting the way that NCTE/IRA Standards
for the English Language Arts, the Michigan
English Language Arts Content Standards, and the Michigan
K-8 standards for English Language Arts treat the teaching of reading and literature.
(Suggestion: Include some of the sites on this syllabus as links on
your own website, to support your educational philosophy.)
Oct 12 Thursday Unit Plan Workshop
Write: A unit plan for teaching a work of literature using a cultural
studies approach, reader response techniques, and the integration of
technology. (See unit plan assignment.
rubric and references to NCTE and Michigan English Language Content
Standards required.) Due: Oct. 17
Oct 17 Tuesday
Oct 19 Thursday
Oct 24 Tuesday
Oct 26 Thursday
Oct 31 Tuesday
Nov 2 Thursday
Nov 7 Tuesday
Nov 9 Thursday
Nov 14 Tuesday
Nov 16 Thursday
Nov 16-19 NCTE National
Nov 21 Tuesday
Nov 23 Thursday No Class, Thanksgiving
Nov 28 Tuesday
Nov 30 Thursday
Dec 5 Tuesday
Dec 7 Thursday
Dec 11-15: Finals Week
Dec 11 Monday 8:00-10:00am Take Home Final
Intern Teaching Panel
At the time set for our final exam, a panel of English
480 graduates will speak on their experiences with intern teaching.
Does 480 work in the 'real world'? Read on-line: Tips
for Intern Teaching and Letter to First-Year
Examine Other On-line Secondary
English Methods Courses