EDCI 422: Teaching English in the Secondary School


Professor Janet Alsup

Purdue University

Fall 2012

TTH 1:30-2:45

HEAV 101

Office: 436 Heavilon Hall



Office hours: T, R 3-4:30 PM and by appointment


Teaching Assistant Ileana Cortes Santiago

Doctoral Student, English Education

Master’s Student, ELL



Course Description:

The overarching goal of EDCI 422 is to help with your transition from being student of English Education to being a teacher of middle or high school English.  In order to ease this transition, we will explore issues of teacher identity development and strategies for professional growth, in addition to recent educational practices and policies, which will affect your teaching.


EDCI 422 is the “capstone” methods course for English Education majors.  The course assignments and readings will review and synthesize knowledge you have gained in previous courses as well as enrich your understanding of how pedagogical theories might be enacted in middle and high schools. The course addresses various curricular areas of the English language arts, including the teaching of writing, literature, language, grammar, and visual media and how they can be effectively integrated into daily lesson planning while meeting state and national standards.  Additionally, you will learn how to be a reflective practitioner who regularly engages in classroom action research to improve your teaching. I am excited about what we will learn together this semester.  Welcome!


Course Goals:

Required Texts.  Books are available at the campus bookstores:


Course Requirements:

  1. Attendance and participation.  Class discussion is an important part of this course, so it essential that you be present. Please notify me in advance if you are unable to attend. In addition, you are expected to arrange to attend the assigned middle or high school class at an area school.  You should keep an accurate record of your hours at the school that can be validated by your mentor teacher. 10% of grade


  1. Reading assignments and written responses on class blog.  Our class blog lives at http://teachingenglishinsecondaryschools.blogspot.com/ and you will be invited to join. You will be expected to read all class assignments by the date noted on the syllabus and be prepared to discuss them in class. The class blog is a combination of responses to class readings/discussions and to your field experience. You are expected to write at least one blog entry per week about class readings/discussions (this may be a response to someone else’s entry—I encourage dialogue!) and one entry after each field visit. Therefore, the number and length of field visit entries will vary, depending on how you organize your twenty-hour experience.  However, everyone will have at least 13 response entries about class readings/discussions. I will respond to them regularly, and we will often use them in class to begin discussions.  15% of grade


  1. Unit plan.  Final plan due Dec. 6. You will create a three-four week unit plan for teaching a novel, a set of 3-5 short stories, a play, or a series of 10-15 poems in a middle or high school class. Ideally, select literature that will be taught in the field placement classroom in which you are working this semester.  If that doesn’t work, browse textbooks in the TRC or in your field placement school to select literature that seems commonly anthologized or purchased for school reading. The unit plan will be turned in in “chunks” for teacher response as noted below in the syllabus. The unit plan must have the following characteristics:
    1. Complete lesson plans for each day in the unit, which include goals, objectives, Indiana state or Common Core standards, materials, detailed discussion of methods/procedures, and the evaluation/assessment.
    2. A 1-2 page contextual statement or rationale at the beginning of the unit plan that explains why you chose the literature you did, the value of teaching it in a classroom in the way you suggest, and provides any necessary caveats.
    3. A 1-2 page reflection on your process at the end of the unit.
    4. Integrated writing, language, grammar, visual literacy, and speaking/listening activities/assignments. For writing assignments include grading rubrics.
    5. Evidence of creativity.
    6. Evidence of formative, as well as summative, assessment.
    7. Clear attempts to encourage analytic thought.
    8. Integration of related texts and disciplines, when and if appropriate.
    9. Integration of appropriate technologies, when and if appropriate.
    10. Evidence that you have viewed the unit as a coherent whole, culminating in deeper literary understanding or appreciation—not just a series of lesson plans that lead nowhere.

This unit plan will be the Gate C artifact for English Education majors. Therefore, it must be uploaded to the Purdue electronic portfolio (Task Stream) by the designated date to receive credit for the assignment and also to pass the course. 25% of grade


4.     Discussion leading.  In addition to the unit plan, with two partners you will lead a class discussion about an educational issue that has surfaced in your field experiences, through your Purdue coursework, or through reading or study. For this discussion, you will decide on 1-3 goals or objectives (what you would like us to realize or think about), and you will structure an opportunity for discussion among your peers. Please provide me with a handout the class period before your discussion leading that contains these goals and a brief overview of what you plan to do during the discussion. Examples of topics discussed in the past include:

Š       Motivation and its effect on learning

Š       ESL learners and how to teach them in the English classroom

Š       How to effectively use reader response

Š       Interviewing and other professional “skills”

Š       Classroom management or “discipline” techniques

Š       How to handle racist/sexist/homophobic student writing

Š       How to respond to students’ emotional or personal problems when they arise in the classroom

Š       Grading practice and related issues

Š       Standardized testing

Š       Teacher identity concerns

Š       Policy mandates that influence educational practice

Š       Other topics of your choice

This discussion is geared for your university peers—do not pretend they are middle or high school students. Remember that “what do you think?” is not a great discussion starter. Use activities you include in your unit plan if you want or otherwise provide us with prompts to begin discussion.  Handouts, writing assignments, group work, PPT overviews, or reading “homework” are all options. You will have one hour for your discussion leading. 15% of grade


  1. Teaching in the field 20 hours.  The first week in class you will be assigned a middle or high school teacher with whom to work for 20 clock hours over the course of the semester.  How you organize these 20 hours is up to you and the mentor teacher. This experience will provide you with an intensive, extended classroom practicum prior to student teaching.

During the experience you are required to

1)    Teach 1-2 lessons or mini-lessons in the field placement; mentor or tutor small groups or individual students. These lessons will be created and taught under the supervision of your mentor teacher.  Ideally they intersect with your unit plan project, but that may not be the case in all situations 15% of grade


2)    Conduct and “write up” a teacher research project investigating a classroom issue or pedagogical strategy. Final teacher research project due Dec. 13. In this class, you will learn how to plan and conduct action research. These projects will be small in scope due to the length of the field experience. However, the projects may include informal interviews with students, the collection of student work, the distribution of a survey, the telling of teacher or student “stories,” or other means of collecting information.  Keep in mind issues of consent and confidentiality.  Ideally, the mentor teachers will work collaboratively with you when selecting a “question” or issue for their research.  I would like the results to be useful both for you and the mentor teachers!  Remember that the purpose of action research is not to criticize the mentor teacher. Steer clear of projects or questions that might result in “teacher bashing” or uncomfortable interactions with mentor teachers. This project will result in a written report of approximately 10 pages double spaced, without transcripts, surveys, or other attachments.  20% of grade



Tentative Course Schedule and Readings:

 Note: Readings listed on a particular day should be read by that day

Class days will normally begin with a short lecture or presentation by the professor with class discussion of topics/readings to follow.


Week One:  August 21, 23

Unit One: Who Are Adolescents And What is Adolescent Literacy?

Thurs. Beers Chapters 1, 2, 3

Blog Topic: Introduce yourself. The rest of the semester you will choose your own blog topics based on course readings and discussions. I will often provide optional prompts.


Week Two: August 28, 30

Unit One: Who Are Adolescents And What is Adolescent Literacy?

Sign up for discussion leading assignment

Tues. Beers Chapters 4, 5, 6

Thurs. Beers Chapters 7, 8, 9


Week Three: September 4, 6

Unit One: Who Are Adolescents And What is Adolescent Literacy?

Unit Two: What Is Teacher Research and Why Do It?

Tues. Hubbard/Power Chapters 1, 2, 3

Thurs. Beers Chapters 10, 11, 12


Week Four: September 11, 13

Unit One: Who Are Adolescents And What is Adolescent Literacy?

Tues. Beers Chapters 13, 14, 15

Thurs. Beers Chapters 16, 17, 18


Week Five: September 18, 20

Unit Two: What Is Teacher Research and Why Do It? 

Unit Three: Teaching to Exceed the Common Core State Standards

Tues. Hubbard/Power Chapters 4, 5, 6

Thus. Beach Chapters 1, 2

Rationale, Outline, and First Week of Unit plan due


Week Six: September 25, 27

Unit Three: Teaching to Exceed the Common Core State Standards

Tues. Beach Chapters 3, 4

Thurs. Beach Chapters 5, 6, 7


Week Seven: October 2, 4

Unit Three: Teaching to Exceed the Common Core State Standards

Tues. Beach Chapters 8, 9, 10

Thurs. Beach Chapters 11, 12


Week Eight: October 11

Unit Four: Pulling it all Together: What Would You Like to Talk About?

Tues: October break

Thurs. Student led discussion 1


Week Nine: October 16, 18

Unit Four: Pulling it all Together: What Would You Like to Talk About?

Tues. Student led discussion 2

Thurs. Student led discussion 3

Week Ten: October 23, 25

No class this week.


Week Eleven: October 30, November 1

Unit Four: Pulling it all Together: What Would You Like to Talk About?

Tues. Student led discussion 4

Thurs. Student led discussion 5

Second week of unit plan due


Week Twelve: November 6, 8

Unit Four: Pulling it all Together: What Would You Like to Talk About?

Tues. Student led discussion 6

Thurs. Student led discussion 7


Week Thirteen: November 13, 15

Unit Four: Pulling it all Together: What Would You Like to Talk About?

Tues. Student led discussion 8

Thurs. No class


Week Fourteen: November 20, 22

Unit Four: Pulling it all Together: What Would You Like to Talk About?

Tues. Student led discussion 9

Thurs. No class


Week Fifteen: November 27, 29

Unit Four: Pulling it all Together: What Would You Like to Talk About?

Tues. Student led discussion 10

Thurs. Share teacher research projects


Week Sixteen: December 4, 6

Unit Five: Wrapping It Up

Tues. Share teacher research projects

Thurs. Final thoughts Hard copy of Unit plans due to me. Unit must be uploaded to electronic portfolio (Task Stream) by December 13


Finals Week: December 8-15

No final exam.

Teacher Research projects due December 13 by 5PM electronically or in hard copy


Students with disabilities must be registered with Adaptive Programs in the Office of the Dean of Students before classroom accommodations can be provided. If you have a documented disability that will impact your work in this class, please contact me to discuss your needs.


In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances beyond the instructor’s control. You may get information by emailing jalsup@purdue.edu or calling 765-430-0580.