The First Day, Writing Placement, and My Teaching Methods and Assumptions
The way English 104 and English 105 work at Goucher depends upon some assumptions about what students have been taught in high school, and how that teaching needs to be augmented and altered to prepare them for learning to write the specific types of documents they need to produce for their sophomore year courses. On the first day of class, I will ask you to write a short diagnostic essay to reflect on your past writing experience. The quality of your writing in that diagnostic essay can warn me if you were wrongly placed in 104, but you also can dispute your placement by submitting a portfolio of three papers to the Writing Program before the semester begins or during the add/drop period (1st week and a half of classes). That could result in your being placed in English 105 (this semester or next), or it might even win you College Writing Proficiency. If you are unsure whether you belong in the class, the basic requirements you need to meet in order to "graduate" as a writer from freshman year to sophomore year are contained in the College Writing Proficiency criteria. Read them and ask me about any criteria which you don't understand. If you think you already meet the criteria, get that portfolio of your papers together and prove it. If you think you will need some help meeting the criteria, you may want to know how I teach and why. I teach English composition because of my graduate school training in something called "process writing," short for "cognitive process model of composition," and the two decades of research which has improved that theoretical model's ability to describe how you learn to write and how you perform the act of writing. I urge you to read my brief attempt to explain the "process writing" approach to composition.