2013 Final Projects











































































































































































































































































































Engl 6800 Advanced Methods of Teaching Literature F 2013

Analysis and Transformation
in the Teaching of Literature

The core of rebellion, as you have seen by this and read of other rebellions, are the universities; which nevertheless are not to be cast away but to be better disciplined, that is to say, that the politics there taught be made to be, as true politics should be, such as are fit to make men know that it is their duty to obey all laws whatsoever that shall by the authority of the king be enacted.

Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth, 1668

I ask the pardon of those teachers who, in dreadful conditions, attempt to turn the few weapons they can find in the history and learning they ‘teach’ against the ideology, the system and the practices in which they are trapped. They are a kind of hero. But they are rare and how many (the majority) do not even begin to suspect the ‘work’ the system (which is bigger than they are and crushes them) forces them to do, or worse, put all their heart and ingenuity into performing it with the most advanced awareness (the famous new methods!).

Louis Althusser, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, 1970

Dramatically increasing state control over education, state and national curricular standards, standardized testing, uniform assessment, accountability, and accreditation is taking place simultaneous with expanding canons, new conceptions of text, critical pedagogy, multicultural and perspectival teaching, and empowering new technologies. This complex and contradictory dynamic in English education occurs in a rapidly globalizing world in ongoing capitalist and environmental crisis. The context in which we live and teach literature today will frame and guide this section of English 6800.

Addressing secondary and university levels, this seminar aims to foster teacher intellectuals and professional leaders and develop their pedagogical content knowledge in the teaching of literature. To do so, we will examine the historical development of our discipline, issues in textual and interpretive authority, canon formation, educational standardization, cultural studies and multicultural materials and perspectives, literary theory and teaching, textual intervention and alternative knowledges, and the democratizing possibilities of emerging Internet tools and resources.

Thus, this section of English 6800 seeks to help literature teachers "understand the history of their present circumstances" and "what it means to teach, to study, and to become 'educated' [in literature] in the present moment" so that they can "individually reinvigorate the academic curriculum" (Pinar, 2012).

Teachers are invited to help make their classes and schools "center[s] of critique and a vital democratic public sphere that cultivates the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the production of a democratic polity..." (Giroux, 12/19/11)

From the beginning of the course students will focus on a literature course that they currently teach, or would like to teach, and course work and the final project will be carefully and systematically developed around that class, putting into practice the analysis and transformation approaches we will be studying.

Our course will be taught in a wireless laptop classroom and will experiment with a variety of new technologies including remote hosted websites, collaborative writing forums, threaded discussion, social networking, blogs, Nings, etc.

Students are expected to join the National Council of the Teachers of English, Michigan Council of the Teachers of English, Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and/or the Modern Language Association and write a proposal to present at a professional conference, such as the NCTE Conference, AWP Conference, or other professional English/education conference.

Class participation is vital in 6800, missing classes may lower the grade and missing more than 3 classes may lead to failing. This class will follow WMU academic honesty policies. If at any point in the semester if you feel stress, English 6800 offers free on-line therapy from Eliza!


Required Reading:

Appleman, Deborah. Critical Encounters in High School English: Teaching Literary Theory to Adolescents. (NCTE, 2000)

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Vintage, 1979)

Rosenblatt, Louise. Literature as Exploration. Fourth Edition. (MLA, 1983).

Rozema, Robert and Allen Webb. Literature and the Web: Reading and Responding with New Technologies (Heinemann, 2008).

Packets including theoretical, historical, and pedagogical essays.  ($10 Copy Card required)

Extensive study of websites and on-line resources.

Selections from:

Althusser, Louis. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.

Applebee, Arthur. Tradition and Reform in the Teaching of English.

Boles, Herbert and Samuel Gintis. Schooling in Capitalist America.

Common Core Standards for Language Arts.

Christenbury, Leila. Making the Journey: Being and Becoming a Teacher of English Language Arts.

Daniels, Harvey. Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups.

Farrell, Edmund. "Instructional Models for English Language Arts, K-12"

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Flood, James. Handbook of Research on the Teaching of English Language Arts.

Good, Thomas and Jere Brophy. Looking in Classrooms.

Macaulay, Thomas. "Minute" on Indian Education.

Kohl, Herbert. I Won't Learn From You.

Lauter, Paul. "American Literature a Comparative Discipline."

Luke, Allan. "The Body Literate: Discourse and Inscription in Early Literacy Training"

Michigan English Language Arts Standards and Content Expectations.

NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts

Richard Ohmann. English in America.

Pope, Rob. Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies.

Shorr, Ira. Critical Teaching and Everyday Life

Viswanathan, Gauri. Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India

Webb, Allen. Literature and Lives, Teaching the Literature of Today's Middle East, Reclaiming English Language Arts Methods Courses.

wa Thiongo, Ngugi. Decolonizing the Mind.

Weinsten, Carol. Middle and Secondary Classroom Management.


Class Analysis (10%)

Canon Analysis (10%)

Discussion Analysis (10%)

Curriculum Transformation (10%)

Final Project (50%)

Self-Evaluation (10%)



Sep 9
Introductions / Professional Proposals

In class:

1) Introductions

2) Orientation to teaching websites: on-line syllabi, student created websites, student created wiki, class blog and blog roll, Nicenet, LitArchives.com.

3) Recommended hosts for teaching websites: Weebly, Wikispaces, or WordPress.

up arrow

I. Class Analysis

Sep 16
Discipline and Subjectivity

1) Read: Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault. Focus on pages 3-16, 23-24, 27-31, 58-69, 112-116, 123-126, 135-194, 200-209.


Sep 23
Marxist Perspectives

1) Communist Manifesto, sections I & II & IV by Karl Marx (1848)


2) "Althusser on Education" from Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, by Louis Althusser.


3) "The Correspondence Principle" and "Conclusion" from Schooling in Capitalist America (1976) (48-49 & from Chapter 5) by Samuel Boles and Herbert Gintis.

4) "Advanced Placement on the Ladder of Success" (51-65) from English in America (1976) by Richard Ohmann (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

5) From Critical Teaching and Everyday Life (1980) (1-24) by Ira Shorr

Due: Class Analysis

II. Canon Analysis

Sep 30
Archeology of the Literature Curriculum

1) Read carefully through the on-line syllabus, including all assignments. Bring questions to class.

2) Read: Macaulay's "Minute" on Indian Education, Viswanathan "Currying Favor," Hawkes "Swisser-Swatter," Applebee "The Birth of a Subject," Ngugi "Literature in Schools," and "American Literature a Comparative Discipline" by Paul Lauter.

Oct 7
Canons and Context

1. Read "On the Margins in a High-Performing High School: Policy and the Struggling Reader" by Judith Franzak, Research in the Teaching of English (42.4, 5-08)

Due: Canon Analysis and presentation


III. Discussion and Response Analysis

Oct 14
Inclusive Discussion

1). Read: Handout: From Looking in Classrooms (3rd ed.) by Good and Brophy "Chapter 1" "Questioning" 346-357, Form 10.3, 10.4, 10.6, Methods of Classroom Observation Appendix A, B & C, pages 63-73 (6th ed.). "Questioning Behaviors" (from Making the Journey by Leila Christenbury, 1994, "Managing Recitation and Discussion" (chapter 10) from Secondary Classroom Management (McGraw Hill 1996)

2) Podcasts of Allen's lectures on discussion and related webpages:

Oct 21
Authority and Interpretation

1) Literature as Exploration, Louise Rosenblatt

Due: Discussion Analysis

IV. Curriculum Transformation

Oct 28
Cultural Studies and Literature Instruction

1) Read selections from Webb, Literature and Lives; Teaching the Literature of Today's Middle East, and Reclaiming English Language Arts Methods Courses (in press)

Nov 4
New Technologies / New Democracies?

1) Read: Literature and the Web by Rob Rozema and Allen Webb








3) Develop your teacher website (web presence) at Weebly, Wikispaces, or WordPress. Prepare to show the class how far you have gotten!

4) Incorporate Internet tools for English teachers: Nicenet, Literary Worlds, Google Documents, Webquests, Blogger, Word Press, LiveJournal, Animoto, IMovie, Audio Boo, Google Ajaz Feed, Illuminated Texts, Prezi, (Glogster) Tagxedo, Wordle, Erasure, AfterTheDeadline, freeforms.org, mind meister, bubbl.us, Pikistrips, Webspiration, Good Reads, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Second Life...

5) Incorporate Internet resources for English teachers: On-line literary archives, starting point LitArchives.com (Some of these archives are actually collections of archives--explore to find archives you might work with): NaNo WriMO, Literature Circles, Literature Resources; Teaching Resources; Web Research; lesson plan sites such as Read/Write/Think, Outta Ray's Head, Web English Teacher, the Discovery School, New York Times Lesson Plan Archive, Cyberguides, Lesson Plans Page, ERIC, NCTE's Notes Plus (subscribers only), Lesson Planz.com; ezines such as Alt-X, Zinebook...

5) Join and explore the English Companion Ning (now over 30,000 members).

Nov 11

Standards / Standardization / Corporatization

1) Study state and national language arts standards NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts, (3-10-10) Michigan Standards For English Language Arts 6-12 (page 30-52), based on the Common Core Standards for Language Arts.

2) Read selections from Exceeding the 6-12 English Language Arts Common Core Standards: A Literacy Practices Approach

3) Common Core State Standards: The Promise and the Peril in a National Palimpsest by Arthur Applebee, English Journal 103.1 (2013).

4) Examine corporate websites of ETS, Achieve, Inc (contributors) and School TM

5) Read: "Neoliberalism and the Control of Teachers, Students, and Learning: The Rise of Standards, Standardization, and Accountability" by David Hursh


Nov 18

Teaching Critical Theory

1) Read: Critical Encounters in High School English Second Edition by Deborah Appleman

2) Due: Curriculum Transformation

up arrow

V. Instructional Transformation

Nov 25
Student Resistance and Problem Posing Teaching

1) Read: "I Won't Learn From You" by Herbert Kohl

2) Read: "Chapter Two" (30th Edition) from Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire.


3) Read: Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies by Rob Pope, Chapter 1, and 2.

4) Read: Handout from Literature Circles by Harvey Daniels and the Literature Circles website.

Dec 2
Professional Conference Proposal

1) Write a proposal to present at a professional conference drawing on the course you have designed. Bring copies of your proposal to class for all class members so that we can workshop your proposal.

up arrow

Dec 9
Share Final Projects

Due: Final Project

Due: Self-Evaluation: Write a 4-page self-evaluation of your work English 6800 and propose a course grade.

Upcoming Events

Feb 26-Mar 1 AWP, Seattle

March 15-17 Michigan Reading Association Conference, Grand Rapids

April 6-9 CCCC Conference, Atlanta

Apr 10 Saturday Bright Ideas Conference Lansing

Oct ? Michigan College English Association Conference

Oct 3? MCTE Fall Conference

Nov 17-20 NCTE National Conference, Chicago

Jan 5-8 MLA Conference, Seattle

Additional Relevant Websites

6800 student websites created in past courses

Examine English methods course syllabi at English Methods.com


created by: allen.webb@wmich.edu
updated: 1/11
up arrow