English | Teaching Composition Issues and Approaches
W500 | 2108 | Farris


(Integrating the Teaching of Literature & the Teaching of Writing)

This course for teachers and prospective teachers of literature and
writing will be historical and speculative as well as practical.
First, we will examine briefly the relationship between literature
and composition instruction within the larger context of the history
of the profession that includes literary and composition theory as
well as cultural criticism. Since the 1960's, the turn toward an
emphasis on students= personal growth and experience along with
attention to the writing process displaced literary texts as models
and as a source of ideas for writing.  As composition studies
achieved disciplinary credibility in the 1980's, the attitude
prevailed that students= writing not take a backseat to other texts
in the classroom.  The postmodern view of textsBboth poetic and
rhetorical--as ideologically invested within social contexts, ought
to make possible new connections between the interpretation and
production of writing, including students.= We will consider what it
would take pedagogically and institutionally to un-do the binary
opposition between literature and composition. Is there a way to use
literary texts in writing courses that does not reinforce the
dominance of literary study over composition?  Might we, for
instance, as Robert Scholes asks,  reconstruct our efforts as
students and teachers of English around the notion of textuality?

To that end, we will consider various arguments against and
arguments (along with practical strategies) for teaching literature
and writing togetherBincluding the use of literary texts as models
for rhetorical analysis and imitation, as historical artifacts, as
examples of diversity and social conflict, and as instruments in the
promotion and critique of cultural values. In exploring what is at
stake in the teaching of both literature and composition in the
future of English studies, we will take a look at several
institutional contexts in which particular courses, programs and
departments have attempted to integrate the work of literary
critics, theorists, creative writers, and composition/rhetoric
specialists.

Readings will include excerpts from literary and composition
theorists like Scholes, Eagleton, Williams, Bartholomae, Crowley and
others as well as several works of literature we will choose as our
test cases. As we read and reflect, situate ourselves in the larger
professional discussion, and develop new ideas for integrating the
teaching of literature and writing, you will write several short
response papers and a final paper plus unit/course plan to be shared
as a class presentation.

This course fulfills requirements for the Pedagogy Minor and the
doctoral concentration in Composition, Literacy and Culture. It will
also prepare you to teach L141-142 and other literature and writing
courses.

This course meets also as L503 Teaching of Literature in College