ETAP 655L:
Perspectives on Teaching Composition
in the Secondary School

Spring, 2008









Welcome to the website for ETAP 655L. This site provides information about ETAP 655L and serves as a primary resource for students in this course.

This course is intended to introduce you to theories, research, and practice in the teaching of writing. Its primary purpose is to provide prospective and current secondary school English teachers with an understanding of what it means to teach writing effectively in secondary school settings. Ideally, this understanding will become the foundation for your writing pedagogy and for your ongoing inquiry into how best to teach writing to adolescent students. Accordingly, in this course you will be asked to become familiar with important perspectives on the teaching of composition and with research and theory that have shaped these perspectives. You will also be asked to consider the implications of composition theory and research for classroom practice.

ETAP 655L will be an extended effort to explore three questions: (1) What is writing? (2) Why should we teach writing in secondary schools? and (3) How should we teach writing in secondary schools? In this sense, the course will be an inquiry into the nature of writing as a technology for communication, a medium for expression, and a social practice. We will examine the implications of our understanding of writing for our practice as teachers. Your inquiry into writing will also grow out of your own experiences as a writer.

Significantly, your inquiry into writing will grow out of your own experiences as a writer. In that spirit, you will be asked in this course to write and to reflect carefully on your own writing, especially in the first half of the semester. Ultimately, you will be asked to reflect on what your experiences as a writer might mean for your practice as a teacher of writing.

Driving this course are two fundamental assumptions: (1) that writing matters in our lives and in the lives of our students; and (2) that teaching writing is a complex and vital human activity. Teaching writing can be frustrating, complicated, difficult, and uncertain, but it also can be enormously rewarding. It is also profoundly important. The challenges associated with this endeavor should be taken seriously; its many rewards will repay that seriousness.

Please direct any inquiries about this web site to Robert Yagelski.

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This site last updated 21 January 2008.