ERIC Number: ED344209
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Managing Freshman English: Are We Really on the Right Track?
Comprone, Joseph J.
A series of administrative and pedagogical questions about class size and the training of graduate teaching assistants caused the director of the freshman English program and the head of the Humanities department at Michigan Technological University to assemble an experimental class in freshman English. The course consisted of 113 students and 9 graduate teachers. Undergraduates read from a collection of essays; each student was expected to write two short, critical essays, complete a library project and a research essay, and keep a journal. The course incorporated small group work, in-class free-writing, question and answer sessions, and video programs. Lectures focused on writing assignments, provided in-class analysis of the writing context, included overhead projector demonstrations, and explored the use of sources. Interaction was encouraged by including graduate student teachers in lecture sessions and in small group discussions. Undergraduates reacted positively to the thematic content, presentational format, and lecturing style, but suggested improvements in transitions from lectures to discussions. Graduate assistants recommended that they be given more time to interact with students in discussion groups and to participate in lectures. All assistants reacted positively to the increased interaction with undergraduates, shared course responsibility, and senior faculty support. The experiment shows that a combined large group/small discussion group format can place graduate students and faculty into a more supportive environment that will more effectively educate freshman English students. (SG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Michigan Technological University
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).