English Composition II
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Course Description: English 121 is a continuation of the work you have accomplished in ENG 111. ENG 121 will advance critical reading skills and essay development with an emphasis on writing analytical essays and papers based on research in various academic disciplines. Note: All students, unless exempted, must pass this course in fulfillment of the Pathways Requirement in English Composition. Students who take but do not pass this course should repeat it the following semester.
Your Professor’s Description of course: This course is meant to get you thinking about your own writing and writing process. The only way to do this is by reading, reading some more, and writing. So we’ll do just that, we’ll read, and we’ll think about what we’re reading as critical thinkers. We’ll write too. No writing task is too small or too large for us, so we’ll be writing sentences, paragraphs, lists, reviews, children’s books, narratives, tweets, blog posts, etc. All of our reading and writing will culminate in a final research-based project.
Though I have taught this course twenty-five times, every semester is inevitably different. This semester, we will be focusing on reading and writing about writing. According to Dr. Elizabeth Wardle, writing about writing in an English Composition classroom is necessary because it is a, “basic philosophical approach to teaching writing that assumes that declarative and procedural knowledge about writing cannot be separated in a useful way in a writing class… we as a field have studied writing and thus have declarative knowledge that can help writers of all kinds if we share that knowledge explicitly, and encourage students to explore their own questions and concerns about writing as active, empowered rhetors.” Some of these questions and concerns related to writing and process will come from discussions of our personal experiences with writing. More often than not though, we will use essays from other writers to better understand concepts like discourse communities, literacy, rhetoric, composing, writing as technology, and writing as activity.
We will also be reading and viewing several children’s works. While engaging with these texts, we’ll simulate three different reading experiences. First, what might a child or young adult learn about the process of writing through this text? Second, how does the author teach his/her/their target audience about larger concepts like race, identity, class, mental illness, science, etc.? Third, how might you use this text as “research” for a larger project that might be argumentative, observational, or autobiographical in nature?
This semester I am also interested in writing as a method of forming a community. Therefore, I will ask that most of your writing be made public so that writers from across CUNY may read and comment on your work. I will also ask that you frequent your colleagues’ posts and offer insight. Your colleagues include members of this course and members of ENG 350 Senior Seminar. To see more about this course, visit: https://seniorseminar.commons.gc.cuny.edu
• Student will be able to read and listen critically and analytically
• Students will be able to write clearly and coherently in varied academic formats using standard English and appropriate technology to critique and improve one’s own and others’ text.
• Students will develop research skills required to complete academic assignments
• Students will be able to write thesis statements, well-reasoned arguments, and communicate persuasively across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media.
• Formulate original ideas and relate them to the ideas of others by employing the conventions of ethical attribution and citation.
• Students will consider the role “literacy” and “writing” has played in their personal and public life
Required reading/viewing materials for class:
All readings will be available on our blackboard page. Here’s an overview of what we will be reading/watching:
“Annie Dillard and the Writing Life.” by Alexander Chee
“Argument as Conversation: The Role of Inquiry in Writing a Researched Argument” by Stuart Greene
“Sponsors of Literacy” by Deborah Brandt
“Draw me a word, write me a picture” by Thomas Newkirk
“Writing for Their Lives” by Jabiri Mahiri and Soraya Sablo
“Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block.” by Mike Rose
“Past Experiences and Future Attitudes in Literacy” by Erika J. Petersen
“Intertextuality and the Discourse Community” by James E. Porter
“The Need for Care: Easy Speaking onto the Page is Never Enough” by Peter Elbow
We will also read excerpts from Matilda, Skin Again, and Locomotion and watch Harriet the Spy
You may also use your smart device to access readings in class; however, I always recommend using a paper copy. For more information on why, check out this article: https://www.wired.com/2014/05/reading-on-screen-versus-paper/
More on the assignments: https://english121.commons.gc.cuny.edu/assignments-fa-18/
More about the Writing about writing philosophy: https://english121.commons.gc.cuny.edu/writing-about-writing/