This category contains 31 posts

Making the Most of Student Conferences: Instructor Feedback as Heuristic

  As teachers, we do all we can to ensure the success of our students.  We make syllabi, we develop assignments and rubrics, we grade, and we converse with our students.  It is our belief that these pedagogical practices matter to students, encourage learning, and produce the successful writers in the future.  And while most … Continue reading

We’ve Always Taught Technology in Composition!

Joe Torok is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition as well as a Lecturer in the English Department at Wayne State University. He teaches Basic Writing and Technical Communication and has been instrumental in helping the department significantly expand the number of its online course offerings.   I don’t often see technology in scare quotes, but … Continue reading

Teaching the Rhetorical Situation

I use this helpful poster from CCC to define and discuss “rhetorical situation” with Basic Writing (ENG 1010) students. In particular, we make liberal use of the diagram below (from the poster) by (a) fleshing out each of the words represented and (b) plugging multiple examples into the diagram to see how it pans out. With regard to … Continue reading

Talk It Out

When I was in grade school, parent-teacher conferences often went something like this: “Amy is a smart student, but she needs to spend less time talking and more time working.” Does that sound familiar to any of you? Yeah? I thought so. And while most of us (eventually) come to see where our teachers were … Continue reading

Talking About Teacher Reflection

Over the last couple of years, reflection has become common parlance in our department, especially for writing instructors. How do we teach reflection in the classroom? How can I incorporate good reflective assignments in my course? How do we get our students to become more “reflective”? In order to assist with student reflection in the core … Continue reading

Hamlet, String Theory And Kwame: In Defense Of An Absenteeism Policy

KWAME I spent a good deal of the last week considering how I might get on Kwame’s gravy train. I realized the futility of my quest when I discovered that he is no longer Mayor or King, but, then, I was able to resurrect my scheme by virtue of String Theory. String Theory basically asserts … Continue reading

Balancing Act: the Tightrope of Best Teaching—and Studenting—Practices

The start of the fall 2012 semester was the kick-off for my journey toward my PhD. It also marks my second year as a full-time lecturer in the English department. Needless to say, this semester has been one grand experiment in an elusive concept for me—that of balance. This is a recurring theme in academia. … Continue reading

Starting All Over Again

Welcome back to the WSU Teaching Blog! As a new academic year begins, we pledge to bring you a dizzying array of interesting conversation-starters, issues of the day, and tips for making your teaching life at Wayne State a rich and rewarding experience. Look for new posts on Tuesday and Thursdays, and consider subscribing by … Continue reading

The True Value of Self-Deprecation

I usually march into my composition class with a general outline, a handful of illustrative examples, and a dry erase marker – all aimed at solving a problem or completing a task associated with the latest project I’ve assigned. My students seem to prefer this method: splitting the project into a series of scaffolded steps … Continue reading

Listening to Students

Many pedagogical texts point out the importance of listening to our students. They tell us that we should not make assumptions about their interests or their views, but rather let them tell us what excites them or confuses them. We should answer their questions rather than try to stuff knowledge into them. One problem, however, … Continue reading