Feminist Pedagogy: Scaffolding the Research Paper

Teaching Consent in the College Classroom (Part 2) [Read Part 1] Backwards Pedagogy and a Gender Studies theme for the semester turned out some really thorough and unique research papers in my Intro to Writing About Literature class. As I'm grading: there are papers drawing from medieval science and the humours as well as neonatology and … Continue reading Feminist Pedagogy: Scaffolding the Research Paper

Teaching Students Close Reading Skills with Twitter

Moving on from teaching the general theme of women's oppression in my composition course, as I described in my last post, we've turned to a much more complex and darker play, John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. The most corrupt characters, Ferdinand and the Cardinal (also the Duchess's brothers), are motivated by many things: money, power, maintaining a … Continue reading Teaching Students Close Reading Skills with Twitter

Teaching Consent in the College Classroom

When I began teaching Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew in 2014, I didn't expect we'd end up talking about the NFL with my English composition students. Ray Rice, who had been playing for the Baltimore Ravens was suspended for assaulting his then-fiance Janay Palmer, who married him after the incident much to the consternation of the feminist blogosphere. However, when … Continue reading Teaching Consent in the College Classroom

Learning Drama through Writing

This semester, I approached my Composition students with a new assignment that they themselves had a hand in creating and making possible. As part of the Intro to Writing About Literature course, I teach drama, fiction, and poetry. Each genre presents its own challenges but drama, in particular, is difficult to get into when students … Continue reading Learning Drama through Writing

Using BuzzFeed to Teach Melville

Teaching an American Literature survey course for the first time last semester, I wanted to take on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick both for myself and for my students. My students were mostly English majors, and had followed Hope Leslie and Hawk-Eye through the American wilderness with me earlier in the semester. The magnetic pull to read Moby-Dick and give the potential spiritual journey … Continue reading Using BuzzFeed to Teach Melville

Survey Expectations

The PDFs have been uploaded to Blackboard, the syllabi have been printed, stapled, and handed out, and names have been learned (well, mostly) as the daunting task of teaching a large survey course is underway this fall. We're merely scratching the surface at a breakneck pace, reading American literature from the early explorers to the … Continue reading Survey Expectations

American Survey: Getting Student Input

"...For his simple heart Might not resist the sacred influences, Which, from the stilly twilight of the place, And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound Of the invisible breath that swayed at once All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed His spirit … Continue reading American Survey: Getting Student Input

Walking the Walk: Combining Graduate Study with Teaching

"How womankind, who are confined to the house still more than men, stand it I do not know; but I have ground to suspect that most of them do not stand it at all." --Henry David Thoreau, "Walking" As I prepare to teach "Gender in the American Renaissance" and "American Literature: Origins to the Civil … Continue reading Walking the Walk: Combining Graduate Study with Teaching