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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Gail Stygall
ENGL 471
Seattle Campus

Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing

Reviews the research, core debates, and politics that have shaped the practice, teaching and study of writing. Introduces theoretical and methodological approaches that inform the teaching and learning of writing.

Class description

This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of teaching writing, focused on practices in high school. We will start with an examination of best practices in teaching writing. Because you may not have experienced for yourself many of these practices, we will enact them as we read. Then we will turn to what teachers are actually doing, especially with diverse student populations found in almost every school district in the Puget Sound area. We will take that a step further with a group project designing unit plans based on the group’s research into a particular school and school district’s student population. In the final section, we will take up the issues of assessment of writing, especially as they are relevant to teachers in Washington. At the same time we consider barrier assessments, we’ll also examine the assessments specific students will face in the move to college–what so-called writing tests do community college students take? How relevant are the AP English tests to what colleges expect? What kind of writing do students do in first year composition?

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

You will be writing response papers to the readings every other day, produce a group project on writing curriculum, and write a final empirical paper on some aspect of writing or writing instruction.

Response papers Group project on writing curriculum in particular school Final empirical paper on writing


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Gail Stygall
Date: 12/09/2009