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English 4840:

Interview/Response Project

Introduction One way to better understand and articulate our own always-developing
pedagogy is to consider the ways in which our practicesand the rationale for those
practicescompare or contrast to others we encounter. This project is designed to get
you thinking about the issues surrounding teaching writing by comparing your thoughts
and experiences to those of a current professional in the field.
Description This project asks you to do two things: (1) interview someone who
currently teaches writing, and (2) summarize and respond to what you learn from
talking with that person. The first thing youll need to do to complete the project is to
secure an interview subject. This person would ideally be someone whose pedagogy you
admire, someone whose approach youd like to model, though you are not limited to
interviewing only someone whom youve studied under. Your interviewee could be
someone who teaches writing at the primary, middle-grades, secondary, or college
level. You may also conduct the interview face-to-face, over the phone, via Skype, or by
email exchange. Again, that is up to you to decide. I would recommend asking
interviewees their preference of interview format as to make the experience as
convenient as possible for them.
Interview questions you might consider include any of (but arent limited to) the
What do you remember about your first time teaching?
What are the aims of your writing classes?
What is the biggest surprise about teaching writing?
How do you organize your course syllabus?
What is the one thing that every writing teacher should know?
How do you design a lesson plan?
If you had to pick only one book for a writing teacher to read, what would
it be?
How do you create a writing assignment?
Who influenced your work the most?
How do you determine course content?
How do you orchestrate peer groups?
If you had to select only one scholar for a writing teacher to read, who
would it be?
What obstacles do writing teachers face, in and out of the classroom?
How do you address process and product?
What do you wish you had been taught in school (but werent)?
How do you respond to student writing?
What have you learned from your students?
How has technology (re)shaped your teaching?
Whats next for writing teachers?
How do you approach difference?
Please think of these questions as providing the general focus and approach to your
interview. I want to encourage you to revise or otherwise manipulate them as you see
fit given your interview subject and your own goals for the interview. Ill ask that you
submit transcripts of the interview as an appendix to your project.
After conducting the interview, Id like you to imagine your colleagues in 4840 and write
a summary of and response to your conversation in such a way that your colleagues feel
theyve experienced it through reporting. Some questions that might help guide your
What did you learn?
What most surprised you about the interviewees responses, and why?
How might you see yourself answering the questions in ways similar and/or
different from those the interviewee articulated?
What questions did your interview leave you with?
What is something you gleaned from the interview that you think might benefit
others in 4840 to consider?
This is meant to be a narrative-based project, which means it should sound like youa
professional youbut you. First-person pronouns, then, are more-than-appropriate to
use. Finally, though not a requirement for the project, feel free to contextualize your
participants answers or your response in relevant scholarship.
Format 4-5 double-spaced pages of text, excluding a works cited page and your
interview transcript notes.
English 4840
Collaborative Pedagogy Project
Oftentimes as teachers we collaborate with each other to accomplish shared goals. For
instance, when faced with a challenge, we ask more experienced teachers for their advice on
how to address it, or we work with a colleague to develop new strategies. In addition, we often
share lesson plans and writing activities for new content areas, or we work together to
experiment with new ones. So for this project, you will work with a 4840 colleague to give
either a presentation on a challenge writing teachers face and strategies for addressing it, or
conduct a writing activity with our 4840 class as your students.
You and a 4840 colleague should conduct a writing activity for our class in which you take on
the role of co-teachers, and your other colleagues and I are to act as your students. After the
lesson, we will workshop your idea with you.
For this option, you will need to be sure to
Develop a complete lesson plan or agenda for the activity
o Overview
o Objectives of the activity
o Materials needed (please remind your colleagues if they need to bring
o Procedures
Conduct the lesson as if we were your students
o Introduction of the lesson/activity and its goals
o Writing activity
o Discussion (or allowing writers to share their work)
Contextualize the lesson in ~1 page; can be the reverse side of the lesson plan/
agenda). Respond to the following prompts for this section of the project.
o How do the goals of the lesson fit into the larger goals of the unit it appears?
o How would the unit fit into the course goals?
o How will the learning objectives be assessed?
o Where would the lesson be in the unit?
50-60 minute presentation/activity facilitation followed by discussion. Written feedback from
the audience is absolutely crucial for this and, therefore, required. If we do not have enough
class time, it must be done outside of class and given to the presenters the following class
meeting. Ill provide forms for this.
Unit Lesson Plan Project: Theory to Practice

Imagine this scenario: you are an established teacher at a school of your choosing. Something
unexpected comes up and you must rely on a substitute teacher to maintain your writing
classa class that meets for fifty minutes each dayfor a period of one week (five class
meetings). This project asks you to identify, design, and articulate a unit lesson on teaching

Think of this project as the information you provide your substitutethe what, how,
when, and why of what you want your colleague to introduce in your absence.

Your reader for this projectperhaps a 4840 colleaguewill look to this document for
instructions on classroom practice and the rationale for that practice. What you write, then,
needs to demonstrate direct connections between what your pedagogy is and how your
philosophy translates to practice.

(1) You will need to identify the following information in a bulleted list at the start of your
Your name
The course title
The student population of the course (grade level, enrollment, and any other relevant
demographic information)
The dates for the unit plan (where in the academic year this unit lesson falls)
A title for the unit lesson

(2) Philosophy of Teaching Writing (Describe how *you* feel writing is best taught, and why.)
(1-2 paragraphs)

(3) The NCTE Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing informing the unit plan (titles
only; no need to copy entire belief statements) (1-3 beliefs likely appropriate)

(4) Relevant Ohio State Writing Standards and any relevant Ohio English Language Proficiency
(ELP) Standards should this be a population you plan to work with and which your unit is
designed around.

(5) A list of the materials and resources the substitute and students will need in preparation of
the unit. (In-class and homework materials and resources needed).
(6) Procedures for five-class-meetings unit lesson (Describe pedagogical preparations,
motivations, and description of engagement; focus of unit planexamples and discussion
and questioning; conclusion of unit.) (3-4 pages)

(7) A written description of the culminating writing project for the unit. (Think of this as an
assignment description handout youd distribute to students.) (1 page)

(8) Considerations/Possible Pitfalls (Identify what you see as potential challenges of effectively
implementing the unit and offer brief suggestions for how you might anticipate and combat
those challenges.) (1-2 paragraphs)

(9) Reflections on Unit Project. Think of this as your conclusion for the project. Points you
might want to address could include responses to the following questions (1-2 paragraphs):
What made you select this unit?
How does this unit lesson reflect you as a writing teacher?
How might it lead to future or build on other work in the same class?
In what ways do you see this project representing who you areor who youd like
to beas a teacher of writing?
And what have you learned as a result of drafting this unit plan?
What does it leave you thinking, questioning, wanting to explore in more detail?
And why?)

Six-to-seven single-spaced pages of hard-copy text or the equivalent for digital projects,
excluding any (optional) appendices.
Youll want to organize the project around the 8 required elements lists here. Feel free,
then, to structure your discussion using section subheadings.
As your audience for the project is your 4840 colleagues, your tone should reflect the
professional ethos you want to maintain.
Reflective Narrative: Philosophy of Writing Pedagogy
Assignment Description: Every teacher will be asked many, many times to explain his or her
philosophy of how writing should be taughtand why. This assignment challenges you to
articulate what you feel is the most effective approach to teaching writing. My hope is to get
you thinking about what you would like others to know about who you are as a teacher of
You might be surprised to find that you've already drafted much of this project in informal
responses to readings and in both of your previous formal projects.
To begin, reflect on and critically engage the reading, response, and writing work you've done
for 4840 this semester. Then, go back, organize, and present an extended articulation of your
philosophy of writing pedagogy. Spend some time revisiting and rereading your posts and your
formal projects. It might help to underline, highlight, or copy and paste what you understand to
be telling elements of your likely approach.

Audiences: You, me, and future employers and colleagues.

Goal: To present an articulate narrative of your philosophy of writing instruction. This narrative
should include both general arguments (what you feel makes for effective pedagogy) and
supporting evidence (specific examples, illustrative details, source references, etc.) Feel free to
use references to any of your informal response posts (these could include peer responses as
well as those you drafted), the Interview/Response Essay, the Unit Lesson Plan Project, and any
course readings or external readings that you like.
Questions to consider for content and possible organization:
-How do you want your students to view you as a teacher of writing?
-What do you want your students to leave your class having learned? Developed?
Practiced? Why? How do you achieve this?
-What do you feel makes for a successful writing class?
-What role(s) do you intend to take on when responding to student writing?
-How should/will you respond to student writing? Is it different for each assignment, stage of
the writing process, level of the writer?
-What do you see as the roles and responsibilities of teachers and students in the writing class?
-What do you see as the leading challenges to effective writing pedagogy?
-How will you know when you've succeeded as a writing teacher?
Format Options: Either a traditional 5-to-7 double-spaced pages including any works cited
listing any external sources (e.g., Gallagher) or a digital composition (Prezi, PowerPoint, Emaze,
blog . . .). You will not need to list your various assignments on the works cited. Additionally,
references to external sources are optional. MLA format.

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