Friday, September 27, 2013

Piloting Changes in English Composition I

My institution is making some much-needed curricular changes to English 101, and I am participating in the pilot program. I use handouts and activities that the program has designed and choose my own thematic readings on the subject of privacy to accompany them. The schedule includes much less reading than I am used to, but I am finding that it is quite a relief. We can take our time with shorter articles and really work with them.

Something I liked most in the first unit was the Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet. I checked these online and was able to catch misreadings or superficial approaches before they write their actual analysis papers. On the other hand, this handout made me struggle with terms that I don't normally incorporate. I had to figure out the difference between a discourse community and an audience. I still think this distinction is too subtle for first-year composition. Questions about genre were also difficult for the students to answer because they are reading in genres (blog posts and political columns) that they are unaccustomed to.

The second unit will be more of a test, since it includes a new assignment: the literature review.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. We'll be soliciting feedback for our study on the pilot in the coming weeks/months, but it's good to hear some concrete feedback from someone whose teaching I respect and admire.