English 225 Writing on a Theme: Issues in Education

University of Northern Colorado

Ann E. Rasmussen

Fall 2012



Office: Ross 1187

phone: 970

Email: ann.rasmussen@unco.edu


Textbook:  James M. Banner, Jr. and Harold C. Cannon The Elements of Teaching & Hacker and Sommers A Writer’s Reference


Office Hours: MWF 10:15-11:00 and 12:30-1:5

Tues: TBA

And by appointment

Schedule appointments in class on

my conference schedule.




Course Description: Prerequisite English 122. Topics for writing chosen from ideas of historical influence and/or contemporary problems. Repeatable, may be taken two times, under different subtitles. (LAC, gtP) 


Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class/program are encouraged to contact the Disability Access Center (970-351-2289) as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.


Classroom Policies and Etiquette:

Cell Phones: 

Not allowed

Please turn off cell phones during class.

Please refrain from texting during class; if texting persists students will be warned. After multiple warning, students’ final grades may be lowered by a full letter grade.

Do not answer your cell phone during class.

Do not leave class to answer your cell phone; if you do so, do not return to class. Leaving class to answer

your cell phone will count as an absence.

Laptops: Not allowed. Exception: Peer Review Days in Michener Library

MP3s: Not allowed.

Drinks in class are okay, but, please, no food.


Attendance is required. Students will be allowed 3 absences without consequences. Please call the instructor or email her when you do miss class. After the 3 free absences, 3 points will be deducted from the students’ grades for each absence. If students have lengthy absences from class (serious illness, injury, family emergency, or other unforeseen situation), they should notify the Dean of Students and their course faculty.  Dean of Students:

University Center 3030 351-2796


Participation in class discussion: In academia students must feel free to express their opinions openly and honestly without fear of unfair, harsh, or cruel criticism. While healthy class discussion and disagreement can stimulate good discussion, students are expected to respond and to listen politely without fear of unhealthy criticism from classmates. All opinions deserve respect.



Final Note: Keep in mind that the classroom environment is an academic environment where eating sleeping, using cell phones, visiting, and other unacademic activities must be avoided.


Plagiarism: All work for this class must be the students’ original work created specifically for this class. Work suspected of plagiarism will be challenged. Students whose wore is suspected of being original will face the strictest of consequences to include failing the assignment, failing the course, or expulsion from the university. One simple way to avoid plagiarism: document all borrowed ideas and material using MLA documentation. (See your A Writer’s Reference handbook.)


UNC’s Student Code of Conduct defines cheating as “the act of using or attempting to use, in examination or other academic work, material, information, or study aids which are not permitted by the instructor (pg. 8). Cheating comprises a number of different activities, including, “submitting large portions of the same work as part of the academic work for more than one course (unless such submission is permitted by the instructor)” (pg. 9).


If you intend to use in this course written material that you produced for another class, you must consult with your instructor before doing so for each individual assignment. Otherwise, you may be guilty of cheating and can be penalized with a failing grade for the assignment and/or for the semester.


All final drafts will be submitted to Safe Assignment by the deadline, and hard copies will be turned in on the due date. Late papers not accepted. Five points will be deducted for not submitting to Safe Assignment on time.


Instructor’s Course Objective: Students will

Improve their written and oral communication skills

Write clean, well-organized, well-supported essays using good grammar, spelling, and punctuation

Develop editing and revision skills

Work well with peers

Learn to express their opinions about the world around them and be able to write about their opinions clearly and logically

Develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, arguing techniques, and write good essays using these skills

Learn necessary library skills and how to use and navigate Michener Library


Assignments: All assignments and handouts will posted on the course website:

http://www.unco.edu/english/aerasmu. Be sure to check the 122 homepage each day so that you know what we will

be doing in class. Announcements and changes will be posted on the 122 home page.



Weekly Schedule English





Due Date


Aug. 27-31

Š       Introduction to Class & Syllabus
How to participate in a class discussion

Š       Close Reading Techniques (How to read and essay/article)

Š       Explain Group Presentations and form groups. Sign up sheet for Elements of Teaching

Š       Reading: “Education as a Necessity of Live” from Democracy and Education (1916) by John Dewey available on the web.  Link on Eng. 225 home page.

Š       Quiz and Discussion




Sept. 5 7 days

Š       How to summarize and paraphrase; paraphrase exercise

Š       Reading and Quiz: “The Banking Model of Education” by Paulo Freire. Link on Eng. 225 homepage

Š       Assignment: Group Summary of Essay of week’s reading



Sept. 10-14

Š       (M) Group workshop: Write a 1 page summary of Freire reading

Š       (W )Discuss Research Project

o   Define Scholarship and Evaluating Sources

o   Primary and Secondary Sources

Š       (F) Reading:  “Introduction” and Chapter 4:“Ethics” Elements of Teaching

Š       Quiz and Discussion


Group Summary Paper due Sept. 14


Sept. 17-21

Š       (M) Group Workshop to plan presentations

Š       (W) Defining the Characteristics of Teaching: students brainstorm in class

Š       Assignment: Responsive Narrative

Š       Introduce This I Believe Statement


Due at Midterm Oct. 15


Sept. 24-28

Š       Group Presentations: Groups Elements of Eduction:

o   Mon.: Group 1

o   Wed.: Group 2

Š       Please read these chapters before students present for healthy class discussion


Š       Fri: Choosing a Research topic for Final Essay: Problems Solving Proposal and Outline


Responsive Narrative due Sept. 28


Oct. 1-5

Š       Library Week: Scavenger Hunt

Š       Meet in Michener Library

Scavenger hunt due Oct. 5 at end of class


Oct. 8-12

Š       Mon: Developing A Problem Solving Essay

o   Outline and Proposal (2 days)


Š       Group Presentation

o   Fri: Group 3


Š       Please read these chapters before students present for healthy class discussion


Outline and Proposal Due Oct. 12


Oct. 15-19

Š       Understanding MLA; MLA quiz

Š       Interview Assignment

Š       Groups Fri.: Groups 4  & 5



Oct. 22-26

Š       Meet in Ross 1240 Computer lab

Š       Annotated Bibliography and outline 10 sources

Š       Reading & Quiz: Excerpts for Teacher Man (2005) Frank McCourt Chapters 1 and 5


Meet in Ross Mon. Wed.


Oct. 29-Nov. 2

Š       Working with the outline to assemble a draft, incorporating Research

o   Quoting and Paraphrasing

Š       Reading and Quiz: “On the Uses of Liberal Education” (1977) Mark Edmundson Link on 225 Home Page

Bib due Nov. 2


Nov. 5-9

Š       This I believe presentation (Homework: writing essay draft, conferences, writing center)

Š       Writing the Rough Draft


Interview Due Nov.9


Nov. 12-16

Rough Draft due Peer Review

Rough Draft Due Nov. 14


Nov. 19-23

Final Draft Thanksgiving



Nov. 26. Nov. 29


Final Draft Due Nov. 29


Dec. 3-5




Dec. 10-14






Course Requirements:
 All grades will be based on the criteria of enthusiasm for topic, originality and significance of topic, clarity, coherence, mechanical and grammatical accuracy, use of source material, and completeness. At this level of your writing education, basic writing errors will not be understood or tolerated.

1. All work turned in will be word-processed and follow MLA format. All pages must be stapled together, no ears or paper clips
2. Attendance is required. 
3. Late assignments will not be accepted; but because there truly is bad karma in the world, students are granted two favors during the semester, but the request for a favor must be submitted before the assignment is due. 
4 . Do not summit assignments through email, unless they are email assignments.

Grading Scale: 100-90 = A; 89-80 = B; 79-70 = C; 69-60 = D



Course Description:
 ENG 225 'Writing on a Theme . . . . "is, as the title suggests, a writing course unified by a central theme. Here, the focus of our reading and writing is what it means to teach and to learn in our contemporary society. Enrollment in this section has been restricted to students who plan to pursue a career in secondary education. Like all other ENG 225 sections, you will have the opportunity to develop your critical and creative thinking skills as you produce writing that serves varying purposes, audiences, and content. What will unite all your writing and reading assignments is their focus on topics in education.

 Students who successfully complete ENG 225 can expect to improve their writing skills overall as they invent, draft, revise, and edit essays in narration, exposition, and argumentation. Ample time will be spent evaluating oral/written arguments by scrutinizing them from many vantage points. In sum, this semester you will explore the topic of teaching and learning through the written word and improve skills necessary for conducting research, critically examining rhetorical arguments, and discussing controversies in writing.

Course Goals and Objectives:
 UNC's Liberal Arts core requirements have specific Composition Area Learning Outcomes maintaining that students who successfully complete this course will demonstrate:
Š critical and creative thinking skills (including cognition, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) in producing unified, coherent papers.
Š the ability to vary rhetorical strategies in conjunction with varying purposes, audiences, and content.
Š the ability to incorporate source material into writing.
Š the ability to structure essays coherently.
Š the knowledge and understanding of standard English usage with respect to grammar, punctuation, and spelling.






Reading Quizzes

8 (10pts each) 8%


MLA Quiz



Group Presentation (Elements of Education)



1 page Group Summary Paper



3-4 page Response Narrative Paper



2 page Research Proposal for Research Paper



2-3 page Annotated Bibliography (10 sources) for Research Paper



Outline for Research Paper



Interview for Research Paper



5-7 Page Research Paper Problem Solving/Argumentative



1 page This I Believe Statement



2 Conferences


50@ 25 each


Quizzes: Reading quizzes will given over various readings. Quizzes will cover each week's assigned readings. Students are expected to read the assigned readings before the first day of the week. Students will also be given a quiz over MLA format.

 Group Presentation (Elements of Teaching: Small groups will present a discussion on a chapter in Reason to Teach.

Group Summary Paper: Groups will write a summary for one assigned article (1 page each).

Response/Narrative Paper: (3-4 pages) Two part essay: Part I: Based on the readings in this unit, craft a Position Statement that indicates what you think it means to "teach" (1-2 pages). Part II: Using your experiences as a student, compare what you think teaching should be with what you have experienced as a student (1-2 pages).

Research Proposal: This assignment is a short 2 page paper that proposes a possible topic that you wish to research for your final P/S Research paper.

Annotated Bibliography: This assignment includes a brief bibliography and summary of the possible sources for your final paper.

Interview and Response: You will develop and pose questions regarding current issues in the teaching and learning of your content area to a faculty member in that discipline. Ideally, you will interview the education faculty in the content area department. You will include a short response with the typed transcript of the interview.

Outline: Students will create a full-sentence working outline for their P/S paper. (2-3 pages)
Problem/Solution Argumentative Paper (5-7 pages): Based on your research and your interview with a faculty member in your content area, you will identify an issue in your content area that interests you, provide background/context, discuss opposing perspectives, and discuss the viability of a solution.

"This I Believe Statement": (Your teaching-self narrative) There are two parts to this assignment. Part I: "This I Believe": You will read your TIB statements at Academic Excellence Week. A final written version will be due later in the semester. Part II: Statement of Teaching Philosophy. Students will create three versions of the statement of Teaching Philosophy (one-page statement of your teaching beliefs, a one-paragraph version that you can insert into a job letter, and a one-sentence version that you can offer at a job fair that will make you memorable).

Conferences: Students are required to hold one (2) conference during the semester to discuss their writing skills and/or progress on a paper or assignment and to receive personal writing assistance. At any time in the semester, no conferences after the 14th week, students may make an appointment with the instructor. Each conference is worth 25 points. If students cannot make their scheduled conference, they must cancel 24 hours in advance, or they lose their 25 points. A student many cancel by leaving a phone message or emailing me.

Final Presentations: Students will present a visual representation of their Research Essay. Instructions will be provided in class.