Composition Theory & Pedagogy

Dr. Joseph J. Essid, Writing Center Director Personal Web page

Office Hour Zoom Room: click here You may schedule an appointment (please e-mail me 10 am-5pm please).

COVID Policy: We will be meeting in person, and I may wear a mask during classes. You are free to (or not). All office hours will be via Zoom; I am free to meet in person briefly after class ends.

About the course:

Eng. 383, Introduction to Composition Theory & Pedagogy, explores fundamental theories of teaching writing, with particular emphasis upon the role of the peer tutor, know as a "Writing Consultant" on our campus. Although such study, may, in fact, help improve your writing, this is not primarily a writing course. We will discuss these and other questions:

  • Why does writing for academic audiences pose special difficulties for students?

  • How, and why, does peer tutoring work?

  • How can trained peers write effective commentary on papers? Hold good conferences?

  • Where is the balance in commentary between sentence-level concerns such as grammar and development of ideas, thesis, and support?

  • Which grammatical and stylistic errors most perturb professors?

  • How much help overwhelms a writer?

  • Why some teacher commentary not effective?

  • How is writing influenced by a writer's culture? By technology?

  • How can a tutor assist writers from different backgrounds?

  • Can tutors assist writers working with any subject?

We will be concerned with both the integrity of the theory and its practical applications in a classroom or tutoring situation. The course is by nature interdisciplinary, its materials drawn from English, linguistics, psychology, and education. What you learn can be applied in many settings, from teaching in middle, high, or graduate school, editing/technical writing for a corporation, working as a free-lance writer or editor. The course provides on-the-job training for undergraduate Writing Consultants, and for this reason, class members will often discuss students' papers. The most important part of this training will involve a weekly shift in the Writing Center as apprentice Writing Consultants.

Time on Task: To be successful in this course, you should expect to devote 10-14 hours each week in class to reading and studying the material, preparing the assignments, and working, come October, as an apprentice Writing Consultant.