WRTG596: Teaching Composition on the College Level
Fall 2015 | Section 000 (16227 | August Workshop | Workshop Materials | Eastern Michigan University

Enrollment: 11
Forms Completed: 11 (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. 6/54 4/36 1/9 0/0 0/0 11
The instructor communicated instructions and expectations in a manner appropriate for a graduate-level workshop. 10/91 1/9 0/0 0/0 0/0 11
Guest presenters were well-prepared and addressed issues relevant to my preparation for the upcoming semester. 9/82 1/9 1/9 0/0 0/0 11
The instructor was available for consultation or assistance and allowed sufficient time during the workshop to answer my questions. 8/73 1/9 1/9 0/0 0/0 11
The assigned readings accorded with my preparations for teaching in the First-year Writing Program. 6/55 4/36 1/9 0/0 0/0 11
I felt appropriately challenged and supported throughout the workshop. 7/64 3/27 1/9 0/0 0/0 11
Throughout the workshop, I was treated like a respected colleague who was being welcomed into a vibrant community of practice. 11/100 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 11

2. Would you describe your instructor as __________________?

  Yes No RESP
  N/% N/% N
a. Knowledgeable about teaching? 11/100 0/0 11
b. Able to communicate ideas clearly? 11/100 0/0 11
c. Knowledgeable about composition studies? 11/100 0/0 11
d. Prepared for the workshop? 11/100 0/0 11
e. Skilled at leading and moderating discussion? 11/100 0/0 11
f. Open to the views of workshop participants? 11/100 0/0 11
g. Enthusiastic about workshop assignments and activities? 11/100 0/0 11
h. Intellectually engaging? 11/100 0/0 11
i. Fair? 11/100 0/0 11
j. Professional? 11/100 0/0 11

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

  1. "Throughout the workshop, I was treated like a respected colleague who was being welcomed into a vibrant community of practice." (also 2.- b,e,f) I particularly appreciated the flexibility of the schedule. Discussion was periodically privileged over scheduled activities. I felt this led to more answered questions and contributed to our sense of agency as GAs. This question-friendly leadership gave me a much firmer grounding in my role. In fact, even the guest speakers had such an openness with our cohort.
    Honesty about EMU and the teaching experience is appreciated--thank you.
  2. f. There was definitely an air of "do what works for you" throughout the workshop. We were told what has and hasn't worked in the past, but nobody was told explicitly that their input or idea was invalid.
  3. a. Derek is a great teacher who knows that sometimes his strategies don't work. He has helped me realize that a powerful pedagogy is constructed through trial and error. c. Derek is a fountain of knowledge regarding comp studies. He seems to know about everything in our field, and has opinions/stances on them all. j. Derek is professional, but also approachable, friendly, and helpful with all things.
  4. I appreciated your flexibility on timing and scheduled activities to accommodate our questions.
  5. f. Open to the views of workshop participants: You allowed for an easy flow of ideas and suggestions and gave consideration to participants' worries, thoughts, recommendations, etc. This exchange has fostered solid ideas for everyone to consider when teaching. h. Intellectually engaging: I appreciate that you honestly answer our questions and provide insight, asking us to think critically about our role as instructors/grad students in the context of the larger university.
  6. During a few of the presentations from the guest speakers, I felt as if I was only being presented with worst case scenario situations that did not seem relevant to this point in time. Conversations about permanently removing a student from class and what to do if someone who is suicidal won't leave their dorm room, while I understand these are very serious problems and good to know about, could perhaps been saved for 596 during the semester. I would have liked more time to work on my materials for the first unit of class.
  7. A. Knowledge about teaching. One of the most helpful pieces of the workshop was our honest conversations about what may happen in the classroom. You provided a variety of different personal examples which ultimately supplemented the advice we were given for preparing assignments, schedules, and syllabi, as well as managing potential issues in our classrooms. I really appreciated that we tried to found most of our conversations on tangible experiences, rather than hypothetical worries.
  8. a. I felt like Derek was really up front about the many issues that can confront 1st year writing instructors. I understand that there is real tension between terrifying the cohort and giving them a real sense of what to expect. g. Derek radiates enthusiasm. It is clear that he LOVES his work and enjoys making sure that we are prepared for the upcoming term.
  9. H and C. I found Derek exceptionally intellectually engaging and knowledgeable. Though I initially felt intimidated by the discipline-specific language and ideas he expressed, I quickly realized he chose to lead by example. I hope to emulate this level of intelligence and know-how in my future classroom.

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)

  N/% N/% N/% N/% N/% N
a. Mapping activity 9/82 1/9 1/9 0/0 0/0 11
b. Responding and grading 1/9 6/55 3/27 1/9 0/0 11
c. Peer response 2/18 7/64 2/18 0/0 0/0 11
d. Theory-Practice-Pronesis 2/18 6/55 2/18 1/9 0/0 11

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. Some readings weren't discussed/not as applicable to our teaching preparedness.
  2. d. I would like to have had more time to go over Theory and Practice, personally.
  3. K. I recognize the importance of the student services panel coming to talk with us, but they just kept going on and on about stuff that seemed like common sense. I think this should have happened earlier in the workshop because by this time in the second week, I was exhausted and I almost fell asleep.
  4. Regarding the mapping activity (item a, above), I did not realize that the map was supposed to stand on its own for a gallery walk (perhaps this had more to do with my listening skills than your presenting skills), and I did not provide enough detail for others to understand it without explanation. I appreciated that we were invited to join the FYWP meeting. Thanks.
  5. g. Louise Phelps, "Rhythm and Pattern in a Composing Life": I rated this reading the lowest (but still good) because I found it to be a little less engaging than the rest. It contained helpful information and insight, but didn't grasp my attention quite as well as some of the other readings.
  6. Again, the only problem I had with this workshop was the focus on worst case scenarios. I know that they're important to know about, but I think it would be just as sufficient to seek help from either you or other faculty at times of uncertainty. Sometimes, the returning/former GAs in addition to panel members made it seem as if we would be dealing with these situations on our own. I don't know that that will ever be the case. It would have been helpful to have more positive scenarios discussed, particularly the Celebration of Student Writing.
  7. B. Responding to Student Work. This activity was extremely helpful. It really helped to have a timer set so we could get an idea of what 15 minutes feels like when reading a student's work. One idea that might be helpful for next year is to have the GA's get in small groups and share some of the comments that they made. As we were discussing how many comments/questions we made in the margins, I wondered what things people chose to comment on that I didn't.
  8. b. For this exercise to be more effective, we really need the grading criteria and assignment sheet. As someone with no grading background the process was more nebulous than it had to be.
  9. K: I especially enjoyed this section because it provided me with the opportunity to meet with the heads of these departments. Now that I've familiarized myself with these face, I feel more comfortable discusses the services with my students. M: Everything Lunsford said coincided with what I've been taught in my undergraduate studies and experiences. I plan to use the materials she provided and discussed in my upcoming courses.

6. What changes would you recommend to the workshop?

  1. No recommendations. I honestly felt more grounded and confident with each passing day. I definitely recommend that future GAs be given the same week space to collect thoughts, etc. I think that feature allowed me to be less concerned about discussions encroaching on scheduled work time.
  2. Individuals' questions weren't always relevant to the cohort as a whole/were off topic. Maybe utilizing the drive more/encouraging utilization of your one-on-one time for questions that don't pertain to everyone.
  3. Honestly, I wish we'd had more time, as odd as that may be.
  4. More focus on digital media, as in, how to construct your website. Also, I think that we should get a little more work time, so that the website is also due by the end of the two-week workshop.
  5. I would vote for more unstructured work time. I suggest incorporating readings later in the semester. Panels were invaluable, as was the conversation and Q&A.
  6. I would recommend having a day entirely dedicated to working on our course materials to avoid the scheduling issue when another activity runs longer.
  7. A few of our conversations seemed to derail quickly and I felt as if we spent a fair amount of time addressing topics not relevant to our beginning as teachers.
  8. It's difficult to say "more work time," since all of the conversations we had in this workshop had value. Even if some questions were brought up or continually returned to, and they weren't of particular concern to me, it was still valuable to have the conversation because they were about my colleagues' concerns.
  9. Derek has a tendency to digress. The topics are interesting and applicable, but those interludes need to be a bit shorter. There needs to be a diversity component to this workshop. With the number of black students and other students of color who are being taught by white privileged GAs, this needs to be addressed directly and with some degree of depth.
  10. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop, I think we needed more uninterrupted work time. I still feel a bit nervous about having the time to organize and receive feedback on all of my material. However, perhaps I'm still adjusting to the freedom this position allows.

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

  1. The instructor's supportive nature.
  2. Returning GA's, assignment sheets/practical examples, humor, LUNCH
  3. Right from the beginning we were introduced as colleagues on equal footing and our relationships among one another were allowed to develop and grow in that vein.
  4. Discussion, readings, peer review, and the Literacy Narrative.
  5. I definitely like the lead time it gives to get ready for the semester's start. Your honesty and willingness to "go there" to discuss whatever questions we raise is extremely helpful. I appreciate you making explicit and addressing all aspects of being in the classroom-- from intellectual exchange, to discipline, to "ethos" etc.
  6. The Fall Workshop was incredibly helpful, and it was exciting to meet the author of one of our books and noted scholar. The guest speakers provided interesting perspectives and advice that helped me think about different approaches to teaching. I also appreciated the hands-on activities with the literacy mapping and peer reviewing that allowed us to try out techniques for ourselves before implementing them in the classroom.
  7. Andrea Lunsford. Her presentation last week was moving, optimistic, and made me excited to be teaching college students.
  8. I enjoyed/learned a lot from the group discussions that ultimately helped us troubleshoot a problem for our classrooms. For example, the conversations where we each offered insight into what order our schedules might be in, or how we wanted to structure project 1, were particularly helpful. Interestingly, many of these conversations did not take place on the large classroom scale, but rather, in small side conversations before we got started in the morning or after lunch.
  9. The scope of the instructions and access to resources.
  10. The camaraderie between GAs is the strongest feature of this workshop. The activities, discussions, and experiences we shared have helped build and strengthen those relationships.

8. Please rate the overall quality of the August WRTG596 Workshop. (A: Excellent, B: Very Good, C: Good, D: Fair, E: Poor)

  N/% N/% N/% N/% N/% N
Workshop Overall 8/80 2/20 0/0 0/0 0/0 10

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 9/82 2/18 0/0 0/0 0/0 11

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

  1. Just wonderful. Thanks for everything.
  2. In the rating of some of the events of the workshop, Chalice Randazzo was not on there. I just wanted to give her a 5 out of 5 because her activity and her topic was engaging and invaluable to me.
  3. You did an amazing job Derek! I learned A LOT in this workshop.
  4. I leave this workshop feeling nervous and mostly prepared. I understand what I have to do in my classroom and where resources are, if my students or I need them. I look forward to this experience, and I thank Derek for all his insight into this community.