This 36-credit Master of Arts degree is composed of 3 Required Core Courses, 2 Customizable Core Courses, and 4 Elective Courses. Within the Required Core Courses is the culminating experience of the “Thesis in Teaching Writing” course.
Core Courses - Required
Complete all 3 courses.
This core course is designed for teachers in all disciplines and at all grade levels who use writing in their teaching and who have an interest in exploring their own writing as well. Someone not currently in a classroom can also complete the course successfully. The course has three main goals: 1. To help participants add to their existing knowledge of teaching writing, focusing particularly on writing as process and the various methods and practices that focus on each individual stage of that process (prewriting, drafting, responding, revising, editing and publishing). 2. To encourage participants to reflect upon their current practices in teaching writing, helping them clarify for themselves their goals and methods in teaching writing, and to provide additional ideas and possibilities that might add to their existing “tool box”. 3. To allow participants to engage in their own writing and writing process, in order to experience both roles of writer and writing teacher, and to see how one’s own writing experiences can enhance one’s knowledge as a teacher of writing. In addition, participants will consider the relationship of reading and writing, will become familiar with leading theories and theorists on the teaching of writing, will share their ideas, their knowledge, and their experiences, and will be encouraged to adapt their learning to make it most useful to their individual teaching situations (grade level, discipline, student population, etc.).
This 7-10-day residency, held each summer in Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC or other locations, will include readings, roundtables, field trips and other residency events. Teaching Writing students will meet for four to six hours each day in a face-to-face, classroom environment. Students will design and present a mini-lesson involving writing that they have used, or wish to use, in their own classrooms. Students will engage in discussions of theory and best practices in the teaching of writing, and will also participate in a writing workshop focusing on their own writing. One residency is required for M.A. candidates and is optional for those seeking the certificate.
In this final capstone course, students work on defining and expressing their own theories and best practices in teaching writing, while at the same time developing and refining their own writing. Students create and revise an individual portfolio that includes creative or personal writing along with writing about issues, theories and practices in the teaching of writing. Thesis students also create and research a statement of inquiry related to their specific teaching interests and situation. Students refine all these writings during this course, working with other students and independently with the instructor and/or individual project advisors. All eight prior courses must be completed before a student may enroll in Thesis.
Core Course - Customizable - Genre Writing
Choose 1 of these courses:
This course is designed for participants who wish to teach and write fictional, factual, and poetic narrative. The course covers elements of narrative, including plot, character, setting, tone, pacing, dialogue, and theme, plus the terms writers use to discuss and analyze narrative. Program participants learn how to introduce this language in their classrooms and to engage their own students in discussion about assigned reading and writing. Participants in this course write original narratives from prompts and discuss those writings in a workshop environment. Participants may also read narrative poems, short stories, one or more novels or novel excerpts, and one or more nonfiction narratives, with an eye toward how reading can inform and enrich the writing experience, as well as reading articles on teaching process and theory – including recent brain research concerning the value of narrative. This course also helps teachers understand the differences between factual and nonfactual writing, and how they can be separated or combined.
This course is designed for participants who wish to write and/or teach fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. The course covers elements of writing in each genre, as well as the creative process and the similarities and differences between creative and other forms of writing. The course will also include readings in creative writing and lessons on how to use literature in a creative writing class. With the goal of integrating their writing and knowledge into their own classrooms, participants produce their own original creative writing and discuss it in a workshop environment. This course also may cover elements of playwriting and screenwriting.
This course explores various forms of nonfiction via reading and writing, including personal essays, speeches, opinion pieces, essays about art or literature, biographies, memoirs, journalism, and historical, scientific, or technical accounts written for a broad audience. Students will read nonfiction works as writers and teachers, and will practice various strategies for in-depth research (including deeper evaluation of online sources.) A primary course focus includes the selection and exploration of mentor texts for various reading levels, and nonfiction treatments of various topics, including history. Students will hone their own nonfiction writing skills to enhance clarity, precision, and grace in their work, and will learn teaching methods to encourage students' clear and coherent writing, organization and style. Course also emphasizes classroom community, interactivity, and personal engagement with instructor and classmates.
This course is designed for teachers in all disciplines and at all grade levels that currently teach or plan to teach argument writing. Its focus will be in four main areas: 1) Understanding Argument. Participants will be asked to read and reflect on current theory and methods of argument and will be asked to define “what does good argument writing look like” as it applies to their specific classroom and context. 2) Structure and Content of Argument. Participants will be asked to explore, reflect, and duplicate various forms of argument typically seen in classroom settings such as extended research, on-demand writing, self-selected topics, etc. Furthermore, participants will be asked to explore unconventional forms of argument and their value and impact on writing. 3) Assessment. Participants will be required to investigate and reflect on current trends in assessment within the classroom setting to include peer review, self-evaluation, reflection, holistic vs. analytic rubrics, etc. Participants will also explore and evaluate the impact that assessment has on the writer and their writing specifically addressing standardized test assessment. 4) Resources. Participants will be asked to investigate, evaluate, create and share resources on the teaching of argument. In addition, participants will be required to participate in group discussions, activities, and reflections.
Core Course - Customizable - Reading Focused
Choose 1 of these courses:
Participants in this class will develop the skills needed to engage in the close reading of fiction, non-fiction, non-peer-reviewed science and medical writing, and poetry in order to apply what they glean from close reading to their own writing. They will also consider how they can apply the techniques of close reading to the teaching of writing in their specific subjects and grade levels. Through the exercises and assignments in "Reading Like a Writer," participants will examine the various techniques writers use to compose their sentences, to establish syntactic relationships within paragraphs, to suit writing style to topic and purpose, and to relate syntactic structure and design to thinking and to the ideas specific writing projects intend to communicate. Through learning to "Read Like a Writer," participants will develop strategies for improving their own writing.
This reading course in the Teaching Writing Program covers fiction, nonfiction, and poetry written from a multicultural perspective. Texts are selected from a variety of genres aimed at various grade levels, and might include books such as Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry. Texts will be examined as models for writing and as works of current or classic literature. Course participants also present multicultural texts appropriate to the grade levels they teach.
Writing is a natural tool for responding to, noticing, and noting the conventions of powerful literature. This course is designed to give instructors of literature writing tools to assist students in finding and expressing their own response to literature in lieu of lecturing on a single ‘read’ of a piece. Participants in the course will experience a number of protocols for responding to literature including literature workshops—which mimic the intellectual moves of an alert reader—response logs, questioning logs, Harkness discussions, and routine rehearsal of writerly moves in a low-risk environment. During the course, participants can expect to create and analyze in both poetry and prose and read and respond to literature. The course ends with an analytical paper mimicking an academic community of peers.
Select 4 electives.
Additional courses from Genre-Writing or Reading-Focused Customizable Core Courses, beyond those required above, may count as electives.
Your academic adviser can also help you to optimize your Elective Course selections, or provide approval to pursue an alternative elective from a variety of AAP master’s degree programs, based on your educational objectives.
This course focuses on reading and writing stories and books for children and young adults. Readings include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Participants read published writing geared toward young readers with an eye toward understanding techniques and approaches to writing for this particular audience. They also write their own works designed for young readers. The course goals are threefold: to focus on teaching students to read children’s and young adult literature; teaching students to write children’s and young adult literature; and teaching the teacher participants to write children’s and young adult literature.
This course is for students who currently teach or wish to teach first-year composition in college or community college. Students design a first-year composition course and study many of the major components that might go into a first-year composition course, including major and low-risk writing assignments, assessments, and effective ways to use reading, discussions, revision, peer response and other practices.
All educators will encounter students who struggle with writing. This course first focuses on the reasons student writers may be reluctant and then provides participants with a variety of methods to increase student participation and success in writing. Participants will learn about low-stakes writing, classroom relationships, the writing workshop methodology, and scaffolding for special education, English Language Learners (ELLs), and those who have developed an aversion to writing. Participants will be required to investigate methods by doing them and will develop a metacognitive stance by reflecting on articles and strategies. All participants will be required to work in writing workshop, including being a writer and responder in a peer revision group. The instructor will help students to differentiate for subject area and grade level and will provide a framework for developing a writing classroom that works for our most reluctant writers.
In careers and classrooms, professionals and students use writing to communicate information, clarify thinking, and learn new concepts. Writing Across the Curriculum generally extends to two categories: Writing to Learn and Writing in the Disciplines. The first half of the course will focus on Writing to Learn, which is comprised of short, low stakes, expressive activities designed to help students think through a process, connect with a text, and personalize information. These lessons include learning logs, interactive notes, group writing, metaphors, found poems, and difficulty papers. The second half of the course will be dedicated to Writing in the Disciplines. These assignments are created to give students practice with the language conventions, patterns of thinking, and formats of specific disciplines. These sort of activities include proposals, presentations, articles, literature review, lab and field reports, and position papers. Participants in this course will experience Writing to Learn and Writing in the Disciplines firsthand. They will be able to experiment with both types of writing in their classroom contexts regardless of grade level or subject matter. This course is collaborative with teacher to participant commentary and peer feedback and review.
Teaching writing to English language learning (ELL) students can be daunting when students have significant needs in listening, speaking, and reading. But even students with limited proficiency can write, and the time spent learning writing yields results in the other language skills. In this course (designed to have value for both ESOL teachers and regular classroom teachers with some ELL students), we'll discuss strategies for pre-writing, drafting, and revision. These strategies can be adapted to students' levels of English proficiency, levels of writing ability in students' home languages, and students' ages (young children through adults). We'll discuss how to foster writing confidence through drawing on students' backgrounds and building students’ overarching understanding of genre, as well as when and how to address accuracy in vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. We'll focus on developing a classroom writing community—whether it is a self-contained ELL classroom, a typical classroom with embedded support for ELL students, or another learning setting-that encourages ELL students to take the risks that enable them to grow as writers and users of English.
This course is designed to help teachers develop and implement meaningful peer writing response in their classrooms as well as to introduce them to theories, pedagogies, and practices of peer-led writing centers. Beginning with an overview of the foundational scholarship on peer response and writing center theory, participants will collaborate in ongoing peer writing groups in which they will practice a variety of response strategies on their own and each other’s writing. The second half of the course will introduce participants to key principles and various models of writing centers in secondary and postsecondary settings. Drawing on course readings and activities, students will propose, develop, and present a course curriculum centered around peer response methods or a writing center development plan pertinent to their teaching contexts.
In this course we will explore the ways that writing can be taught online, while discovering what it means to use digital and networked tools to write and to learn. Whether you have been successfully teaching writing in face-to-face workshops and want to bring your curriculum and best practices online and/or you are curious to explore how online forums and tools can be used to support face-to-face teaching and workshop, this course is design to support that work. Participants will be encouraged to play with the ways that they teach and write in and across online networked spaces while learning from the teaching designs and practices of experienced networked educators and teachers of writing. We will explore the intersections of compositional theory, pedagogical practice in writing, and theories of connected learning and teaching while using both public and private writing spaces. All participants will be encouraged to provide peer feedback as learners and teachers throughout, to engage in social forums to explore what’s possible in writing and teaching today, and to design a project they can take forward in their teaching and writing beyond this course.
This course explores the latest research and practice in the effect of writing on the brain, and of the brain on writing. Students will read both theoretical texts and creative works that examine writing “under the influence” of various brain states, including typical variations throughout the writing life, as wells as variations correlated to physical and psychological brain changes. Virtual guest speakers, case studies, and multimedia experiences provide students access to cutting edge expertise in this fast-growing field. Students complete exercises and semester-long writing projects to develop methods to promote creativity and tap into deeper areas of the brain to aid their own writing and that of their students.
An independent study involves a special project a student proposes to complete within a single semester, working one-on-one with a faculty member. The project must involve writing and teaching writing, and it must not duplicate material covered in existing courses. Proposals for an independent study should be submitted in writing to program leadership no later than 60 days before the start of the target semester.