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Structuring a Successful Composition Course

Thinking about how I would structure my classroom for a composition course creates a dilemma for me. I had a great experience in my high school composition courses. I really responded to how it was taught and made a personal connection to the work I was doing. Originally, I wanted to model my classroom after the one I had loved so much. The readings I have done concerning postmodern techniques being used in a composition course have also seemed very appealing to me, but present a different classroom experience. James Berlin claims “in teaching writing we are tacitly teaching a version of reality and the student’s place and mode of operation in it” (235). Without dealing with the forces students are contending with I would be indoctrinating them with my own ideology and not teaching them the tools to understand and work with these systems for themselves. The problem is how can I reconcile these two teaching styles to fit into my version of a productive and successful classroom? The initial thing I would be concerned with when teaching a course such as this is how to get the students to want to do the work. I know that most kids do not want any part of schoolwork period, but how can I make the work interesting enough to get kids to at least have some kind of connection to their work? My first instinct would be to assign a short writing task with a few options for topics concerning the kids personal lives, family situations, or friends. James Sosnoski in his essay “Postmodern Teachers in Their Postmodern Classrooms: Socrates Begone!” attempts to create a series of writing assignments for his postmodern classroom. His first assignment would not be as concerned with the individuals issues, but he would have the students write about ... ... middle of paper ... ...for my teaching is to teach my students to understand themselves and how they fit into the systems that affect their lives in so many ways. How I am going to go about doing that I have not figured out quite yet. Works Cited Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” Althusser, Lenin 127-86. Berlin, James A. “Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories.” Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1997. 233-48. Clifford, John. “The Subject in Discourse.” New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1991. 38-51. Jarratt, Susan, A. “Feminism and Composition: The Case for Conflict.” New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1991. 105-123. Sosnoski, James, J. “Postmodern Teachers in Their Postmodern Classrooms: SocratesBegone!” New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1991. 198-219.

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