This course provides an introduction to the theory and the practice of teaching writing to college students. Designed for new faculty at Queens, the practicum focuses particularly on the pedagogies we use in our First Year Writing courses.

Most students in the process of earning advanced degrees in English are strong writers. But even the most skilled writer might be puzzled about how to teach others to write. Throughout the semester, we will investigate this practice with a focus on the rationales and structures behind teaching, evaluating, and engaging with reading and writing. Where do you begin? What are the strategies? What are the challenges? You will be expected to examine the curricular, pedagogical, and theoretical contexts that shape teaching and learning as a way to begin developing your own composition pedagogies.  The course focuses on teaching practices (course and assignment design, conferences and peer workshopping, feedback and evaluation) as well as issues like the circulation of literacy, learning goals, translingualism, language standards, universal design/inclusivity, and technology.

Using the QC “Goals for Student Writing” ( as a guide, we will work together to accomplish three primary goals: 1. learning teaching techniques through a study of relevant scholarship in composition and writing studies; 2. reflecting on the relationship between our own writing and teaching practices; and 3. situating the college writing course within the broader goals of English departments and institutions of higher education.

My hope is that you consider this class part of your career-long inquiry into teaching. The secret goal of this course is to launch new faculty on meaningful careers as scholars and as teachers, with the recognition that teaching—like writing—is fundamental to the work of academics in the humanities. May this project be as satisfying for us as it is beneficial for our students, present and future.


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