Composition Theory & Tutoring Pedagogy
(ENG 387-387.1)
AUCA Spring 2015
Writers begin to learn what they are writing about by writing….
—Donald Murray
Prof. Irina Larionova
Email: [email protected]
Office: Room 318
Office Hours: Monday, Friday 13:00-14:15
and by appointment
Class Meetings: Monday, 14:30-15-45 Room 315
Friday, 14:30-15:45 Room 223
Course Description
This writing intense course is designed for advanced writers who want to deepen their
understanding of composition, rhetoric, grammar, and their role in the tutoring process.
Topics will include composition theory, grammar and its role in the service of meaning and
rhetoric, and revision in both theory and practice. We will address questions of
composition pedagogy that inform successful models of individual tutoring—not in
isolation as theory, but as a live and critical practice. Everyone will write and revise essays,
provide feedback to fellow writers, observe a tutoring session, tutor, teach each other
various aspects of grammar, and reflect on his or her own writing practice as a writer,
reader, and tutor. In short, we will learn just how social the activity of learning to write
really is.
Course Objectives and Outcomes
By the end of this course, you will have developed an understanding of some of the main
strategies and approaches to composition pedagogy and how they inform the individual
tutoring process. You will also be able to articulate the role of the Writing & Academic
Center in the university setting, be able to draw on tutoring strategies that lead to
successful learning opportunities for yourself and your peers, and be able to help your
peers in the tutoring process understand and write a variety of sentence structures that
illustrate an understanding of their underlying grammatical rules. You will also be able to
articulate and understand how to assist another in the development of academic essays—
reflective, persuasive, and research—and articulate the causes for and solution to
plagiarism, as well as engage strategies for developing clear, sharp persuasive prose both
in your own writing and in a tutoring session.
Required Texts
The primary texts for this course will be a variety of critical articles as well as your own
writing. You will need a notebook in which to write as well as a folder in which to keep the
class articles—you must bring the notebook and the folder to each class!
Please, do not submit electronic versions of your papers by email. You may use my email address to contact
me in case of emergency or to ask questions about readings or writing assignments.
Academic Honesty
Anyone caught knowingly plagiarizing will be immediately expelled from the course. No
exceptions. Your academic integrity is crucial to your role as a potential tutor and as a
model for your AUCA peers.
Participation: 20%
Essays: 50%
Short Writes: 10 %
Tutoring Practicum: 20 %
Class Participation: Completing all assigned readings and in-class writing; participating in
whole-class as well as small-group discussions; in-class peer tutoring sessions and
attendance. Additionally, we will have peer review workshops for written assignments
throughout the semester. All are part of your 20% class participation grade.
Absences: I expect perfect attendance. But because there are extenuating circumstances, I
will allow 3 absences for the semester if you submit a medical certificate to justify your
absence. If you do not have work done for a particular day—come to class anyway! What
we do in each class builds on the prior class, so your attendance is absolutely necessary. If
you miss a class, you are expected to contact a peer before the next session to find out what
we did.
Essays: There will be two short essays (3-4 pages) and one longer paper (6-7 pages). Each
essay will go through a process of revision, peer review, and final reflection. In order to
fulfill class participation requirements, you will need to stay on schedule with the revision
and review process. 50%
Short Writes: There will be frequent, typed, short writes or grammar exercises. These will
be no longer than ½ page or 1 page. They will often involve just writing sentences. 10%
Tutoring Practicum: Each of you will complete 10 hours of tutoring (4 observation hours
+ 6 independent tutorials) in the Writing & Academic Resource Center. I expect you to do
the first observation hour during week VI of the semester and to write an analysis of the
observation on March 2 in class (it is your second short essay assignment). You have to
plan to finish your practicum at least 1 week before the end of the semester. Tentatively,
we will start developing the practicum schedule during Week X of the semester. At the end
of the practicum I expect you to prepare and share a Tutoring Practicum Report. 20%
Classroom Decorum: You are welcome to bring tea or coffee to class. Please use the
restroom before class—we cannot repeat discussions for those who take a break. Bottomline: unless it’s an emergency, do not disrupt the class by getting up and leaving in the
middle of a discussion.
E-Course: Our e-course is located under the heading University Academic Activity. The
course is titled, Composition and Tutoring Pedagogy. The enrollment key is
I reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus if necessary. All of them will be
announced in class.
Class Schedule
Week I
January 19 – 23: Introductions, Course Expectations, & Alex Johnson’s “Why…We’re Having
a Bad Morning”
Writing: “I am a writer who……”
Grammar: IC. IC.
Week II
January 26-30: “Engaging in Dialogue”
Writing: Due Mon: “I am a writer who…..”typed! Peer Review.
Final Due Fri.: “I am a writer who…”
Grammar: IC, cc IC.
Week III
February 2- 6:
“The First Five Minutes” by Thomas Newkirk & “ Setting the Agenda”
by William Macauley
Writing: Due Mon: Statements into Questions & IC, cc IC. Sentences
Grammar: IC; IC.
Assign Essay #1
Week IV
February 9-13: “Ethics of Peer Tutoring” by Gary Lichtenstein & “Minimalist Tutoring:
Making the Student Do All the Work” by Jeff Brooks
Writing: In-class Write (x2)
Due Mon.: IC; IC. Sentences
Grammar: IC; ca, IC. & The Thesis Statement
Week V
February16-20 : “A Critique of Peer Tutoring” by Linda Shamoon & Deborah H. Burns
Writing: Due Mon.: Draft of Essay #1: Introductions & Theses
Due Fri.: Revised Draft of Essay #1 Peer Tutoring & The
Reverse Outline—Paragraph Focus& Radical Revision
Grammar: IC; ca, IC.2 thesis statements & 3 other sentences
Week VI
February 23- Holiday, No Classes
February27: “Organizing Ideas” by Alice Trupe
Writing: Due Mon.: Revised Draft of Essay #1, Attribution & Clarity
Due Fri. Final Essay #1
Week VII
March 2-6: “Rethinking Writing Center Conferencing Strategies for the ESL
Writer” by Judith Powers &“Trading Spaces: Looking Out and Looking”
Writing: In-class write—Essay #2: Reflection on Tutoring
Grammar: DC, IC One-word sentence modifiers & prepositional
March 9 March 13:
Holiday, No Classes
“Guilt-Free Tutoing: Rethinking How We teach Non-Native EnglishSpeaking Students” by Susan Blau and John Hall, assisted by Sarah by
Sharon A. Meyers& “Recent Developments in Helping ESL Writers”
by Jennifer Ritter
Writing: Fri.Due: Typed Draft of Reflection & Sentences
Grammar: IC: appositive.
March 16-20 Spring Break, No Classes!
Week IX
March 23 - Holiday, No Classes
March 27: “Reading in the Writing Center” by & “Evaluating Ideas: An
Introduction to Critical Reading” by Lee Jacobus
Writing: Mon. Due: Final Version of Essay #2: Reflection on Tutoring.
Grammar: Verb phrase, IC. Appositive, IC.
Week X
March 30-April 3:
“Thinking in Education” by John Dewey. Tutoring Practicum Schedule
Writing: In-class Write
Mon. Due: Grammar Sentences
Grammar: IC with embedded DC: verb phrase & appositive
Assign Final Essay
Week XI
April 6-10:
“Talk to Me” by Muriel Harris & “Using Self-Disclosure. . . “ by Mary
Writing: In-class Generating topics—lists, clusters, maps…..
Grammar: Who & Whom
Week XII
April 13-17: “Meeting the Writer” by Meyer & Smith
Writing: Mon. Due: Who & Whom sentences
Fri. Due: Topic of Choice & 2 outside articles
Grammar: That & Which
April 20-24: “Revision Strategies of Student Writers & Experienced Adults” by Nancy
Writing: Mon. Due: that & which sentences
Fri. Due: Draft of Final Essay Radical Revision
Grammar: IC with end of sentence verb phrase & appositive
Week XIV
April 27:
May 1 –
“Tutoring Writing As Career Development” by Sue Dinitz& Jean
Writing: Mon. Due: Draft of Final Essay in final stages— reading for
Grammar: Teaching your peers
Holiday, No Classes
Week XV
May 4-8:
Tutoring Practicum Reports
Fri. Due: Final Essay.

March 16-20 Spring Break, No Classes!