After the first part of the class directed by the instructor, students will take significant responsiblity for course, choosing the reading, creating assignments and activities, and assessing learning
as we explore cultural studies 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.
We will use on-line threaded discussion, publish student work on a collaborative wiki, engage in virtual school discussions, and students will design technology enhanced teaching and use of the laptop classroom into learning in a variety of ways.
English as a second language students now consitute 20% of the school population in the United States, and their numbers continue to rapidly increase. This class will provide opportunities to think about how to facilitate the success of these students.
Student groups will select topics addressing current and
controversial themes such as:
literature, elections, and democracy;
literature and economic inequality / Occupy Movement;
literature and the English language learner;
literature and unions;
and the environment / global warming;
literature and terrorism;
literature and the Iraq and Afghan War;
literature and the Third World;
literature and the Arab Spring;
literature and Islam;
literature and sexuality;
literature and sexual orientation;
the mass media, and consumerism;
literature and food
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 19 MCTE Conference in Lansing and/or the November 15-18 NCTE in Las Vegas.
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; missing 3 classes may lower the grade and missing 5 classes may lead to failing. Please examine carefully my philosophy regarding Preparation and Attendance. This course will follow WMU policies
regarding academic honesty.
Join and respond to the question about introductions (1) on the Nicenet computer
conference. Our "class name" on Nicenet is "4800 Fall 2012" and our "class key" is "2336489449" -- you will need this information to join the discussion.
Sept 6 Digital Learning: Teacher Directed or Corporate For-Profit?
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.
Sept 11: Researching Your Student-Led Teaching: English Journal and More!
1. 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."
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. Post this on your website page for teacher resources with links as appropriate.
4. Visit Nicenet and respond to questions about the English Journal (3).
Sept 13 Your Teaching Website
1. Complete your teaching website to present to the class. Exceed expectations!
Sept 18 Leading Discussion
1. Read "Teaching Toward Great Conversations" by Randy Bomer.
1. Read: Exceeding the 6-12 ELA Common Core Standards, Chapter 5
2. With two-three other students engage in (5) Mr. Plot-a-Long's Hallway on-line virtual case study, at LiteraryWorlds.org Portal. User id: "student" -- no password needed.
Oct 9: Common Core Standards: Literary Text
1. Read: Exceeding the 6-12 ELA Common Core Standards, Chapter 6 & 7.
2. With two-three other students engage in either (6) Mr. Poetry Pro's Hallway OR (7) Mr. Virtual's Hallway on-line virtual case study, at LiteraryWorlds.org Portal. User id: "student" -- no password needed.