After the first part of the course directed by the instructor, students will take significant responsiblity for course, choosing the reading, creating assignments and activities, and assessing learning
as we explore approaches to developing meaningful curriculum and instruction in contemporary secondary schools.
This approach represents an experiment in Frierian teacher-student, student-teacher education.
This course contends that the starting point for teaching literature is engaging with critical issues in the world and in the lives of adolescents via relevant and meaningful thematic curriculum. English language arts teachers need to bring together a wide range of cultural materials, including traditional works, young adult literature, film, cultural and informational texts, and address what literary works mean, as well as how they mean, in historical, cultural, political and social contexts.
In the era of standards reform, standardized testing, and the corporatization of curriculum, future teachers need to think critically about established curriculum regimes and develop the freedom they need to prepare their students as citizens in an unfinished democracy.
By focusing on difficult and potentially controversial
cultural studies curricular themes during the student-led portion of the course, future teachers will gain understanding of issues involved in
teaching literature at the secondary level, see Course Goals.
You may also want to review the WMU teacher education Program Goals, the basis for the evaluation of intern teaching.
Rapid evolution in information technology is extending and reshaping the teaching of literature and cultural works. The inherited cultural
archive is now available in digital format on-line and complementary resources and tools
that far exceed what is in textbooks are now available on the Internet.
Genres and forms of distribution of informational and visual texts are evolving.
The WMU English Department has, perhaps, the most advanced language arts teacher preparation classrooms in the world. Rather than training teachers to adopt cook book software or corporate "classroom management" packages, these labs foster teacher designed instruction, critical thinking about technology and curriculum, teacher and student publication, free, open-source, or low cost resources, and strategies for bringing the vast resources and communicative possibilities of the Internet to all students.
Our class will be organized
by this on-line syllabus that also serves 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.
Student groups will select topics addressing current and
controversial themes such as:
literature and Occupy Wall Street
literature and the English language learner;
literature and unions;
and the environment (global warming?);
literature and the Iraq and Afghan War;
literature and the Third World;
literature and the Arab Spring;
literature and social class inequality;
literature and Islam;
literature and sexuality;
literature and sexual orientation;
the mass media, and consumerism;
teaching Native American literature;
literature and service learning.
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.
Students will need to purchase a five dollar fee card from the bookstore, and turn that card into the professor, to offset English Department copying expenses.
Course discussions will be significantly extended in the class on-line
discussion forum on our computer
conference. Participation in the electronic conference and in the
professional activities are all included as part of class participation.
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 the October 21 MCTE Conference in Lansing and/or the November 17-20 NCTE in Chicago.
This semester we have a special guest speaker Randy Bomer, former president of NCTE, who will give a talk and workshop on October 27-8 which you are expected to attend. We will read some chapters from his new book during the semester.
You should also join NCTE, MCTE, and/or MRA and read
regularly the English Journal or Voices from the Middle.
The English Companion Ning is a remarkable resource with over 10,000 members.
Your 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
4800 especially given our once-a-week seminar format; missing 2 classes may lower the grade and missing 3 classes may lead to failing. Please examine carefully my philosophy regarding Preparation and Attendance. This course will follow WMU policies
regarding academic honesty.
3. Join and respond to the question about introductions (1) on the Nicenet computer
conference. Our "class name" on Nicenet is "4800 Spring 2011" and our "class key" is "Z32Z998487" -- you will need this information to join the discussion.
6. Put the October 21 MCTE Conference in Lansing and the November 17-20 NCTE in Chicago on your calendar.
Sept 19 Teaching Web Sites / Digital Age Teaching / Lesson Resources
1. Read carefully through the entire on-line syllabus, including all
assignments, and, especially, expectations for the student-led unit. Bring any questions about the syllabus and assignments to class.
2. Complete your teaching website to present to the class.
3. Read: "Teaching Toward Participation in Digital Culture" by Randy Bomer
4. Read: "Digital Literature: Electronic Archives in the Classroom" Allen Webb
5. Read three or more articles from back issues of the English Journal that interest you -- try to connect to your topic for the unit you will lead. You should subscribe to the English
Journal (only $12.50 for students!) and you can do so from its home website and view a sample 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."
7. 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. Post this on your website page for teacher resources with links as appropriate.
8. Visit Nicenet and respond to questions about websites (2) and the English Journal (3).
Sept 26: Leading Discussion & Reader's Workshop
1. Read "Teaching Toward Great Conversations" by Randy Bomer.
4. I assume you have already know about the Fry
Readability Graph from prior education classes. I also assume you are familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy. Review these pages and refresh or develop your background.
1. Read: Literature
and Lives, Start with Appendix A. You can substitue a chapter or two with "The Theme of Justice," and/or "Europe and America in the Middle East" from manuscript Teaching Literature of Today's Middle East