The Theory and Practice of Teaching Literature

Section 01
Samuel Cohen
Course Description

This course is a prerequisite for graduate students wishing to teach literature courses in the Department of English. Intended to complement students’ training in Composition pedagogy and practice, many course sessions will focus on topics specific to the teaching of literature (e.g. teaching close reading, handling historical context, explaining the literary argument), while other sessions will focus on more general teaching topics and strategies (e.g. using group work, offering effective feedback, incorporating creative projects, conferencing). At all times, we will remain attuned to connections between the literature and Composition classrooms.

The course is designed to offer both conceptual frameworks for teaching and practical advice that will be immediately useful in the classroom. To that end, class sessions will generally be divided between the discussion of assigned readings and the collaborative workshopping of sample assignments, syllabi, or other course documents. Other elements, such as class observations and reports, will be required. At the end of the course, students will compile a statement of teaching philosophy and a portfolio of revised work from the course, rather than completing a traditional seminar paper.