ENGL596: Teaching Composition on the College Level
Fall 2013 | Section 000 (11102) | August Workshop| Workshop Materials | Eastern Michigan University

Enrollment: 12 (Nine new GAs and three part-time lecturers attended the two-week workshop.)
Forms Completed: 12 (100%)

1. Evaluate the following aspects of the workshop (A: Always, B: Frequently, C: Sometimes, D: Rarely, E: Never)

  N/% N/% N/% N/% N/% N
The activities and assignments in the workshop met my needs as I prepare to teach in the upcoming semester. 8/67 3/25 1/8 0/0 0/0 12
The instructor communicated instructions and expectations in a manner appropriate for a graduate-level workshop. 11/92 1/8 0/0 0/0 0/0 12
Guest presenters were well-prepared and addressed issues relevant to my preparation for the upcoming semester. 8/67 3/25 1/8 0/0 0/0 12
The instructor was available for consultation or assistance and allowed sufficient time during the workshop to answer my questions. 12/100 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 12
The assigned readings accorded with my preparations for teaching in the First-year Writing Program. 5/42 5/42 2/17 0/0 0/0 12
I felt appropriately challenged and supported throughout the workshop. 9/75 2/17 1/8 0/0 0/0 12
Throughout the workshop, I was treated like a respected colleague who was being welcomed into a vibrant community of practice. 11/92 1/8 0/0 0/0 0/0 12

2. Would you describe your instructor as __________________?

  Yes No RESP
  N/% N/% N
a. Knowledgeable about teaching? 12/100 0/0 12
b. Able to communicate ideas clearly? 12/100 0/0 12
c. Knowledgeable about composition studies? 12/100 0/0 12
d. Prepared for the workshop? 12/100 0/0 12
e. Skilled at leading and moderating discussion? 12/100 0/0 12
f. Open to the views of workshop participants? 12/100 0/0 12
g. Enthusiastic about workshop assignments and activities? 12/100 0/0 12
h. Intellectually engaging? 12/100 0/0 12
i. Fair? 12/100 0/0 12
j. Professional? 12/100 0/0 12

3. Please provide written comments to explain one or two of your answers to the previous question.

  1. Derek is clearly very knowledgeable in this field and was always willing to answer questions and help us where we were struggling. Very understanding of what we were going through in trying to create a course.
  2. This kind of covers several of the above items, but I found Derek to be very helpful. He comes across as exceedingly invested in our success as teachers, which was and is very reassuring.
  3. D. I really appreciated how prepared and well-thought out this workshop was. I never questioned why we were focusing on a topic, and I believe I was able to receive the information I needed to effectively teach my class.
    A. One of the things I most appreciated about your teaching was that you always used moments in our own discussion or situations that were occurring as "teachable moments." Saying things such as, "These issues might happen in your own class...how will you react to them?" Those were some of the most helpful moments of the workshop--being able to troubleshoot problems that can (and most likely will) happen in the classroom with a veteran teacher.
  4. Regarding all of the above, I just want to say that I was nervous before the seminar began, but I'm feeling more confident now. You go out of your way to be approachable and available, which makes it so much easier on those of us who are new to this. The creation of the "community" within the GA cohort is nice, too -- the evening at Corner Brewery was a nice chance for everyone to get to know each other and chat informally.
  5. A. I think what I appreciated most was actually participating in activities for 596 that could be translated to the 120 classroom. It allowed us to 1) learn new ideas 2) see how they worked.
  6. f) Derek was constantly asking for feedback from us, to assure not only that we had understood the information he provided, but also to ask what other ways we could approach it. He maintained that we were in charge of our section while still providing options, suggestions, etc. for how to proceed.
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  8. Derek always encouraged our ideas and provided us with a thorough explanation of the expectations on us this upcoming semester. He was willing to devote extra time to help us with outside concerns.
    This workshop was very helpful to me feeling like a professional member of EMU's FYWP team.
  9. I felt that Derek communicated well/clearly about ideas. I was glad to be able to benefit from his explanations/interpretations of some of the more difficult reading.
    I found him to be very intellectually engaging. That aspect was very fun for me, to be able to "play" in the realm of ideas.
  10. b) Everything was well explained with great examples and activities to illustrate the points being made. I never felt lost or confused by anything covered in the workshop.
  11. h. Intellectually engaging?: Often, I didn't find the readings particularly engaging. However, for the most part, I did find the in-class discussions that Derek facilitated from these readings both engaging and intellectual. I thought the conversations we had throughout the two weeks were incredibly engaging.
    j. Professional?: Yes. Derek was professional. Looking back at the first week, I can locate the reasoning as to why he presented himself in the professional manner that he did, but I can't say I found his approach particularly stimulating. Being that I am not one accustomed to this genre of professionalism, I actually struggled those first handful of days with what I interpreted as an almost sterile demeanor. My reaction was based on my lack of experience, and I wonder if I am the only one who felt this way. It's possible, in the future, that it might be beneficial for those in Creative Writing (or those generally lacking experience) if you touched on professionalism briefly on the first day.

4. Please rate the quality of the following workshop activities and readings on a scale from 1-5. (A: Excellent, B: Very Good, C: Good, D: Fair, E: Poor)

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a. Mapping activity 6/50 4/33 1/8 1/8 0/0 12
b. Responding and grading 10/83 0/0 2/17 0/0 0/0 12
c. Peer response 7/58 2/17 2/17 1/8 0/0 12
d. Music in my head 8/67 2/17 1/8 1/8 0/0 12

N.b. The workshop evaluation form included additional questions about specific readings and guests. While these responses were extremely helpful for planning future iterations of the workshop, I have decided not to circulate them publicly online. -DM

5. Please provide written comments to explain one or two of your answers to the previous question.

  1. I didn't like the mapping activity because I am not a visual person. All the reading were helpful.
  2. Regarding the readings, it seems that more of them should have been focused on teaching theory and strategies. A lot of them were focused on composition or rhetoric theory, which is important, but maybe not my first priority.
  3. F, I, J: While I understand that in order to teach an introductory composition course, we should have a high knowledge of composition studies as a whole, I wish I had more time to read the articles that I would be assigning my students instead of reading on composition studies. I can understand and appreciate why these readings were important, but because we have such a limited amount of time together before we teach, I would have rather have these readings later in the semester.
    O. I enjoyed the student services panel, but I would have liked to see more people from various student services across campus, or even just a list of the services available to students that we can put in our teaching binders just to have at hand.
  4. I loved the guests, particularly the man from the DRC.
  5. B. This was great reading (Straub especially) and a great activity. Grading can be extremely subjective so it was nice to see how a focused approach can garner similar grades.
  6. I thought the reading materials were good and interesting, though I found more value in the practical aspects of the course (talking to returning GAs, running through activities, etc.).
  7. A-J - the wide variety of readings and examples provide an in depth look at the vision of first-year writing program and the opportunities for teachers to be successful empowering students.
  8. For the most part, the guest speakers were well-prepared and beneficial. The readings were challenging, but they were helpful. I found the more student-driven texts to be the most beneficial as I prepare for the upcoming semester. If Derek continues to use the theoretical pieces in this course/workshop, I would devote a bit more time to unpacking them as they pertain to our teaching.
  9. Meeting influential and key people in the FYWP during the workshop was very beneficial and interesting.
  10. The music activity that complemented the Phelps piece was one of the highlights of the session for me. It was a revelation that something fun like creating a playlist was relevant here and that I could talk about it in new ways with my students. I liked how everything was presented in a way that we could re-apply it with our students.
    I really liked hearing from Kate Pantelides about her experiences with teaching and professionalism, self-disclosure, and setting boundaries with students.
  11. I) I thought having the returning GAs come speak to us was a great idea. Hearing from them did a lot to calm nerves, as well as offer up great ideas for our own teaching.
  12. m. Guest: John Dunn: I found John's contribution incredibly interesting.

6. What changes would you recommend to the workshop?

  1. Not make us go to the safety talk! So boring.
  2. More readings, discussions and activities focused on classroom activities.
  3. 1. While I know that the returning GAs can't commit too much of their summers, I would have liked more time with them to answer more questions. Or possibly have them sit in on some of our work time so we can bounce questions off of them? I don't know how realistic that option would be.
    2. Possibly have Kate Pantelides come in and explain how she is setting up the genre project. I would love input from her, as it seems that it is her expertise and she is teaching the course.
    3. When I received the GAship, I would have loved to get a packet in the mail with a checklist of things I need to complete, along with an introduction to EMU as a whole. Also, a day before the workshop that allows new students and faculty to come to campus and have a "paperwork" day where we have someone who will troubleshoot any/all issues we have with EIDs, billing, Student ID cards, where to park, etc.
  4. N/A
  5. I wonder if having the workshop earlier in the summer would be more beneficial. Perhaps maybe the beginning of August. I see this as giving the GAs a little more solid time to prepare and think through their semester of lessons. Right now, planning feels a little rushed.
  6. I know this is something that Derek is aware of, but it'd be useful for part-time lecturers (especially ones unfamiliar with EMU) to have a checklist of things they need to accomplish in order to be squared away. We got through it pretty well, but things would go smoother for everyone involved if we had a clear idea of what needed accomplishing.
  7. The only change I would make is to have the workshop in the middle two weeks of August. I think having a week in between the workshop and the beginning of school would benefit the GAs putting together their syllabi and lesson plans.
  8. See above comment about the readings. Other than that, I would have perhaps benefited from an in-class workshop/peer-review on our assignments, syllabus, and schedule.
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  10. I loved it on the whole and it has helped me to feel welcome on campus.
    I know that collecting documents and having them all accessible in an easy place is no mean feat, and I appreciate that that takes time to organize, but I think that would be a suggestion I have for the future.
  11. It might have been nice to spend just a little time discussing/sharing possible readings you will be using/assigning in your class.
  12. Changing some of the readings. I would have liked to have read and discussed something on visual rhetoric and teaching persona. Besides that, I'm not entirely sure. I think some of the tension I was experiencing had more to do with me than the workshop.

7. What do you consider to be the strongest feature(s) of the workshop?

  1. The time we were given to work on our course materials.
  2. It really created a strong bond between all of us first time GAs, which will be a continuing source of inspiration and reassurance.
  3. All the support I received throughout the workshop. I'm so glad that the department is supportive and it's great to have you in our corner for help on troubleshooting issues.
    All the worktime we received was so crucial in me completing everything I needed to do. I couldn't imagine having to write my syllabus, course schedule, and assignment sheets all outside the classroom.
  4. Here, I'll just reiterate an appreciation for the care given to the creation of community and the approachability/availability of our instructor.
  5. What I mentioned in question 5, having time set aside to work through questions we had, and doing a run-through of the first day of class.
  6. There were a lot! We had a lot of time to work on our syllabus and schedules, which I found very valuable. The workshop was also well balanced between theory and practice.
  7. The comprehensive material along with the director's drive and passion to make sure the workshop was successful for everyone.
  8. Derek's attentiveness and his emphasis on making this workshop comfortable aided in my own comfort and I think it brought all the GAs closer together. I now know I can go to any of them (and Derek) for concerns throughout the year.
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  10. I think community building and good will among all the participants was what I enjoyed the most; along with getting to play in the realm of ideas with really challenging/engaging readings, activities, and assignments.
  11. The overall emphasis on sharing materials and building our course materials together was very helpful. And I thought the various activities we did were also helpful, even in just showing me the sort of out-of-the-box approaches we can take with our classes.
  12. Derek answered questions generously. He allowed us the freedom to ask questions in the moment when we were feeling confused or unsure about something. His answers were patient, thorough, and very informative. This was such a helpful aspect of the workshop.

8. Please rate the overall quality of the August ENGL596 Workshop. (A: Excellent, B: Very Good, C: Good, D: Fair, E: Poor)

  N/% N/% N/% N/% N/% N
Workshop Overall 6/50 6/50 0/0 0/0 0/0 12

9. Please rate the overall quality of the instructor leading the August ENGL596 Workshop. (A: Excellent, B: Very Good, C: Good, D: Fair, E: Poor)

  N/% N/% N/% N/% N/% N
Instructor Overall 12/100 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 12

10. Use the this space to provide any additional comments you want to share about the instructor or the workshop.

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  3. Thanks for all your help so far, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the semester.
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  6. Thank you, Derek! You did an excellent job. You were very open and provided a lot of valuable insight into the program and composition studies, in general!
  7. This workshop could be adapted and used for continued professional development of current teachers and/or advancement of the overall first-year writing program.
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  10. Yay!
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  12. I feel much more prepared and able to start the semester than I did two weeks ago. Thanks.