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Training & Development

Teaching in the Writing Program involves a significant training component. We best serve our students by putting the best possible teachers in their classrooms. We accomplish this by providing our graduate Teaching Associates (TOs) with the support and resources they need to grow and develop as teachers. Below are the main components of our extensive teacher training and development program.

Fall & Spring General Meetings & Spring Symposium

The fall and spring general meetings are required for all instructors in the First Year Writing Program (Englwrit 111/112/112H), including TOs, lecturers, and Course Directors. General meetings are held on the Friday afternoon before the first week of classes of both fall and spring semesters. The fall meeting (this year on Thursday, September 3, 2015, 2:45-4:30 pm, Herter 227) includes lunch and a group photograph.

The spring General Meeting of all First Year Writing instructors, held every year on the Friday before the first week of spring semester classes, is organized as a symposium, with break-out sessions led by TOs themselves and designed to generate discussion and innovation in teaching Basic and College Writing. For last year's program, click here (PDF). The next spring symposium will be held on January 15, 2016, location tba.

Summer Orientation for New TOs

As a way to introduce new TOs to the Writing Program and College Writing, an orientation is held every year the week before the beginning of Fall semester (this year, it's August 31-Sept 3, 2015). Orientation is required of all new TOs, although veteran teachers (TOs who have already taught one year in the Writing Program) are invited to attend. Orientation consists of a series of theoretical and practical sessions designed to prepare TOs for teaching College Writing. New TOs must attend all sessions without exception.

Read more about orientation, and take a peek at the schedule for the 2015 Orientation for New TOs.

Fall Workshops for New TOs

As a part of ongoing training, members of the Writing Program staff offer a series of workshops on our curriculum and topics related to the teaching of writing. During the Fall semester, these workshops, held on Tuesdays from 10:00-11:15 am, cover each unit taught in College Writing. New TOs are required to attend all Fall workshops. The workshops begin on the second Tuesday of the semester and meet every other week. For a schedule of this year's workshops, click here.

Course Director (CD) Groups

Each new TO is a member of a regularly-meeting pedagogy group led by an English Department or Writing Program faculty member (Course Director). These meetings ensure the consistent application of Writing Program principles and techniques in all of our classes and also work to build a teaching community among all instructors within the Program. As in any community, members share their experiences and views in order to learn from one another.

These meetings provide the opportunity for TOs to come together as colleagues to reflect on their teaching and focus on issues that arise in the classroom. Likely meeting topics include conducting peer response groups and student conferences, setting appropriate goals and objectives, designing writing activities and assignments, responding to and evaluating student writing, and grading.

Practica on the Teaching of Writing

During your second year teaching in the Program, TOs participate in Practicum English 698V: Special Topics in the Teaching of Writing. Beginning with the first Monday of the semester, this practicum meets every other Monday from 4:00-5:00pm.

Building on the day-to-day teaching practice emphasized in Course Director groups, the practica invites TOs to focus on broader pedagogical issues to enable TOs to reflective on their own teaching practices and  to begin the process of compiling a teaching portfolio. The practicum requirement consists of the following:

Meeting with Mentor & Peers (1 meeting)
Practicum Series 1 (3 meetings)
Practicum Series 2 (3 meetings)

Practicum Series 1 (3 meetings)
Practicum Series 2 (3 meetings)

The first practicum meeting in the fall is a meeting with the mentors to discuss plans for the semester.  The following meetings will address topics such as approaches to teaching writing, language diversity, ways of integrating technology into our classrooms, responding and evaluating writing, etc. Each series consists of 3 meetings and 2-3 required readings. Read more about the Writing Program’s teacher training requirement.

Note: Those teaching in the 5th semester and beyond are welcome, but not required to attend any of the meetings.

Attending practicum meetings and participating in their activities are contractual requirement for all instructors in their third and fourth semesters teaching for the Writing Program. If you need to be absent from 1 meeting, please send your practicum leader a quick email, prepare as you normally would for your practicum meeting, and then discuss what you missed with a fellow teacher in the group.  Those who are absent from 2 or more of the 6 meetings during the semester will earn an incomplete and will need to complete an additional practicum series to turn the incomplete into a passing grade.


Syllabi & Calendars

For College Writing syllabi and calendars, click here.

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