English 833: Theories of Composition — Course Requirements (Summer 2019)

Course Requirements Overview

Please be aware that this course follows a belief in the value of socially constructed knowledge; that is, a belief that together we can make much better sense of the world around us than we can alone. For this reason, most writing done by students for this course will be shared with the entire class membership and, in many cases, with a potentially vast World Wide Web audience as well.

Course Requirements


Throughout your time in the CAL Program, you will be asked to read, write, think, and reflect on yourself as a Composition and Applied Linguistics Teacher Scholar. This course is part of beginning that important reflective journey of growth and development. You will hopefully identify key themes, issues, and ideas in this course that you will want to return to in your other CAL courses. That’s good and to be expected. Please just be careful to always produce new writing for each course you take so that you get the most out of each course experience. Whenever you find yourself on familiar ground, select a new aspect of that terrain to research and study. When you draw from the story of your past experiences as a teacher and a student, as you often will, work to see that story with fresh eyes. And, this is important, enjoy the journey.

Course Writing

The major writing for this course examines 4 key aspects of teaching composition. Students who wish to use writing from this course for the CAL Qualifying Portfolio should revise each of these papers based on feedback from the instructor. The 4 individual components should then be combined into one cohesive Composition Theory Paper. Additional editing and revising will be required to combine all 4 parts in a cohesive fashion.

Your Teaching Vision Statement (10% of final course grade)

  • Write a statement of your philosophy for teaching composition.
  • This paper should be 1 page in length.
  • This paper should be in a 12 point font, single-spaced.

Your Teacher Story (20% of final course grade)

  • Write a story/stories that explains the origins of your vision for teaching composition.
  • This paper should be 4-6 pages in length.
  • This paper should be in a 12 point font, double-spaced.

Theory of Teaching (20% of final course grade)

  • Select a theory that supports your vision for teaching composition.
  • Write an explanation of this theory and explain how the theory can be used to justify your approach to teaching.
  • This paper should be 4-6 pages in length.
  • This paper should be in a 12 point font, double-spaced.
  • This paper should include several appropriate references.
  • An additional component of this paper will be to write a formal annotation of 2 of your theory sources.

Teaching Application (20% of final course grade)

  • Describe a paper/writing task/unit you would have students in your composition course undertake. Explain how this writing is theoretically grounded and linked to your teaching philosophy. Also discuss objections students or colleagues might raise to this task and discuss how you would defend this task from these objections.
  • This paper should be 4-6 pages in length.
  • This paper should be in a 12 point font, double-spaced.

Your Teacher Scholar Website (20% of final course grade)

  • As part of this course you will be guided through creating a Teacher Scholar Website. Instruction on how to create this website will be provided in class. When it is completed your website should contain the following items:
    • Some information about yourself as a teacher scholar
    • Revised Teaching Vision Statement
    • Revised Teacher Story
    • Revised Theory of Teaching
    • Revised Teaching Application
    • Reflective Statement: In this reflective statement you will discuss your revisions to your papers and your development as a composition teacher. This statement should be 1 page, 12 point font, single-spaced.

Attendance and Course Tasks (10% of final course grade)

Constant class attendance and active class participation is required of all students. During our various class sessions, we will work on a variety of small course tasks. Please note that one one especially important course task is completing assigned readings. More detailed information about attendance requirements can be found here: