English 3360: Current Approaches to Composition and Literature
Fall 2007

Click here to return to the course home page. You will find instructor contact information there, as well as links to the schedule and assignments.

Course Description
English 3360 is an amalgam of writing workshop, teaching practicum, and composition theory course. Its purpose is to introduce you to the current research in literacy, writing, and the teaching of writing to the end of helping to prepare you to be a more effective, reflective, and informed language arts teacher in either an elementary, middle, or secondary public school. To this end, we will complicate and question our ideas of literacy and language:

We will also build knowledge, materials, tools, and strategies to help you become an informed, confident, reflective teacher of literacy in your future/current position/degree.

Course Goals

  1. to recognize and understand the complex relations among literacy, learning, and language use.
  2. to become familar with local curricular guidelines and expectations, the TEKS, TExES competencies and expectations, national Standards for English language Arts (SELA), and a wide range of professional resources, locally and globally.
  3. to be able to apply the theoretical principles that inform the TEKS, TExES competencies, and the national SELA.
  4. to understand the ways that contexts for teaching and/or learning are influenced by global and local factors such as divergent notions of literacy; matters of race, gender, class, economics; cultural and environmental elements, and socio-cognitive development.
  5. to gain insight into process pedagogy and wht workshop model of writing instruction.
  6. to develop a critical vocabulary for teaching writing and literature at an age-appropriate level.
  7. to understand the multiple aims of writing assessment and teacherly response.
  8. to develop criteria for assessing student writing.
  9. to develop strategies for teaching writing and literature in a high stakes testing environment.
  10. to articulate the theoretical principles behind the methods that inform one's pedagogy.

Texts and Materials

  1. Calkins, Lucy McCormick. The Art of Teaching Writing. New Edition. Heinemann, 1994.
  2. Strickland, Kathleen & James. Engaged in Learning: Teaching English 6-12. Heinemann, 2002.
  3. NCTE/IRA. Standards for the English Language Arts. NCTE, 1996
  4. An active email account and a portable storage medium (e.g. flash drive) to save and transport files to and from class.

Grade Distribution
Your grades will be based on the following assignments:

  1. Essay: 35%
  2. Interview Report: 20%
  3. Lesson Plans: 20%
  4. Responding to Student Writing Activity: 15%
  5. Workshop & Class Activities: 10%

For more information on the assignments, see the Assignments page.

Submitting Assignments: We'll be relatively paperless this semester. Course assignments must be submitted online through the course WebCT site. The mechanics of this process will be demonstrated in class. For this to work, you must: 1) use MS Word for all documents; and 2) name the file you send to with your last name and an abbreviation of the assignment name. For example, the interview report would be: QuickIR.doc (using your own last name, of course!). The essay would be QuickEssay.doc (and so on). Any files sent for grading that are not named according to these instructions will be returned to you ungraded and will be considered handed in late.

Course Policies

You must attend and be on time for class, because the work we will do during class will be crucial to your understanding of the material and your success in the course. In addition, English 3360 is a pre-professional course, and you are expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner, which includes good attendance. You have six (6) "sick leave" days for which you can be absent with no consequences other than missed in-class work (which cannot be made up). You do not need to tell me why you missed class or offer any documentation--an absence is an absence, whatever the reason. After six absences, your final grade drops by half a letter grade for each day missed. To be considered present, you must be in class on time, participate in all class activities, and remain in class for the entire period.

Late Work
Late assignments are docked one letter grade for each day late, no matter what the reason. That means each calendar day, not each class day. No late work will be accepted for any reason after the last day of class.

In-class Conduct
Please turn off all cell phones or other electronic communication devices while in class. Do not use computers or class time for anything other than English 3360 related work. Do not work on computers while someone (instructor or student) is speaking to the class as a whole. In general, treat each other and the instructor with respect and follow simple standards of common courtesy.

Academic Honesty/Plagiarism
The university will not tolerate plagiarism or any other form of intellectual/academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is a serious violation of departmental and University policies, but it is sometimes difficult to understand what plagiarism actually is. Often, students commit unintentional plagiarism (not citing sources properly, for example), because they are unaware of the standards that apply. Regardless, work that is turned in for the course that is plagiarized will be failed. If you are unsure about your use of sources, please consult with me or visit the writing center (in the TLC, in Library 216) for advice on source documentation BEFORE the item is due. For this course, you must use either APA or MLA citation style. Any grammar handbook and many web sites have directions on correct citation. Click here for an excellent review of the various forms of plagiarism, good for any teacher to review/use. It is long, but worthwhile.

Click here for information on MLA documentation rules and APA documentation rules.

Acceptance of Diversity
We are the most diverse campus, in terms of racial identity, in the Texas A&M system. This means that we are all meeting and working with people who are different from ourselves in terms of their identities: whether that is defined by their race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion. Respecting and accepting difference is vital to your success in this class, on this campus, as a future teacher in your own classroom, and in the global community.

Student with Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment which provides reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you are a student requiring an accommodation, please contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at (361)825-5816 or visit the office at Driftwood 101.

About the TExES
Do not rush into the professional development segment of your career by attempting to take your TExES certification exams too soon. The College of Education can give you advice on when to take your professional development exams and will be your sole source of information about the TExES if you are working toward EC-4 certfication. For those of you who will be taking the English Language Arts & Reading (ELAR) 4-8 or 8-12, please do the following:

Academic Advising
The College of Liberal Arts requires that students meet with an Academic Advisor as soon as they are ready to declare a major. The Academic Advisor will set up a degree plan, which must be signed by the student, a faculty mentor, and the department chair. The College's Academic Advising Center is located in Driftwood 203E, and can be reached at 825-3466. If your major is in another College (e.g., Education), please contact that college for information and requirements about advising.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding this syllabus, please speak with me as soon as possible. You are responsible for understanding and adhering to the policies of this course and TAMU-CC.