As October thoroughly kicks our butts with readings, papers, and teaching, we have one more thing to accomplish this October: Proposals for the English 2 class we want to teach next semester. And at a time when the department is changing what we do with English 2, this can seem especially challenging. How on earth do we create a proposal for a class we have little to no experience in teaching and structuring?
Thankfully, the department held a workshop to help with just that, and Drown Unbound was there to capture it for all of you, our lovely readers.
Dr. Brooke Rollins and Dr. Nicole Batchelor, who both piloted the New English 2 last semester, sat down to offer advice on what to consider when planning to incorporate the new elements of English 2 as well as what to keep in mind for the proposal. So, without further ado, here are some of the top takeaways from the workshop:
- The new requirements still leave room for a great amount of flexibility, both topically and structurally:
While the course now hopes that students become more familiar with research, different argument forms, and produce a multi-modal argument, it can work with almost any topic that you could want. Chances are if you’ve taught English 2 before, much of the material you’ve covered before or topics you’ve chosen before can fit into this new model.
Structurally, we did lots of different things. Some of us assign two small papers and one large research paper (which, if you plan to do, it’s a good idea to get that research paper started by Spring Break!), some assign three papers that each use a research element. Some of us had students present their multi-modal assignment, other’s did not. Some classes worked on annotated bibliographies and others did not. The point is that these assignments can take many different forms. Pick and choose which ones work for you and your classroom while still accomplishing the new goals of the course.
- The multi-modal project can fit your teaching style:
Some of us, as teachers, are more comfortable with technology than others. The way to incorporate the multi-modal aspect is still up to you! Whether it’s a big project or a small one, whether you put it up front or at the end of your course, or whether you weight it heavily or not when grading, it can work for you. For most of us, we left the medium up to the student-whatever they want- as long as they could justify why they choose it. However, you could also limit to only a few things like: posters, tumblr, etc., if you feel more comfortable with those.
- The coursesite page is your friend:
Yes! The New English 2 coursesite offers both readings for you as an instructor and readings you can assign to your students to help all of you grapple with different forms of argumentation, research, and multi-modal composing. It’s also a great place to check out example Multi-modal assignments, share syllabi, or check out assignment sheets for different projects. Truly, this is the place to go to get the layout and details for this class and to get support throughout this process.
- Carefully choose works to discuss that do “double duty”:
Nicole brought up how the readings she chooses to discuss in class also exemplify properties of the type of argument they’re working on or helps add to that discussion. She carefully matches the content of the course to the rhetorical objectives. This can be a great way to make sure you’re talking about all of the key components of the course without increasing the workload.
- Have Fun!
Students really enjoy the multi-modal composing. The power of that assignment, as Brooke put it, is that it “meets students where they are.” It allows them to use forms and mediums that they use everyday and applies the rhetorical skills learned in the classroom. It gives students a chance to connect what they’re doing in class to their life in meaningful and effective ways. Many of my students last year noted how this project helped them look at what they do all the time in a different light, and that’s certainly something to dig! This class also gives you a chance as an instructor to delve into a topic you’re passionate about and foster that passion in your students. So enjoy and happy planning!
We also have good news that there will be a make-up session of this workshop held on October 20 at 3 pm. It will be held in Brooke’s office (Drown 203). So go and soak up all the wisdom for yourself!
Questions about the new English 2 or your proposals? Or do you have advice to share? Leave it in the comments down below!
Also, did you attend an event that you think the department should know about? Connect with Drown Unbound to let us know you want to cover an event!