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Apprenticeship in Teaching Literature

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grad student teaching undergraduate literature class

​Pictured: Mali Collins-White teaching students about writing for exhibitions in Prof. Helton's "Into the Archives" undergraduate capstone seminar

Our program is committed to preparing graduates students for teaching as well as research. We currently qualify students to teach writing through a semester of assisting a professor in teaching ENGL110 and by successful completion of ENGL688 (Composition Theory and the Teaching of Writing), taught the second semester of the program. 

We qualify students to teach literature via an apprenticeship in which students assist a faculty member with a literature seminar. (Students whose specialty areas are film or rhetoric may be apprenticed to a course in those areas, if such courses are available.) The apprenticeship typically takes place in the second semester of the first year, but students also may serve as an apprentice in a course later on in the program if they wish to qualify in an additional area (see below).

Apprenticeship Guidelines

Graduate students may set up an apprenticeship at any time after the first semester of their second year of the MA. The apprenticeship should be arranged in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, the Associate Chair, and a faculty member teaching a 200 or 300-level course in literature, film, or journalism. In most cases the course chosen will correspond to the student’s future emphasis in teaching. The student is expected to learn about teaching by “shadowing” a faculty member from the planning stage through the completion of a course.  While each faculty member and apprentice should arrive at their own written set of expectations, typically the apprentice would:

  • Meet with the faculty member to discuss the nature of the course (genre, period, issue), the development of a description for the course booklet, and the development of the syllabus

  • Discuss goals and methods for several sessions which the student would attend. Methods may include lecturing, eliciting discussion, group work, problem-based learning, in-class writing

  • Discuss the rationale and preparation for writing assignments and tests and the commenting and grading involved

  • Participate in some way in the teaching of the course (teach or team-teach a few sessions, grade a set of papers)

  • Make a retrospective assessment of the course, including possible changes for the next time

At the start of the apprenticeship, a written plan will be drawn up by the faculty member and the student, and at the end, the faculty member will certify that the student has carried out these expectations, supplying a signed copy of the plan, revised any significant changes, for the student’s file in the graduate office.

The faculty member will remain a mentor available to review course materials, respond to concerns, and visit classes when the student teaches his or her literature course. Faculty will be able to offer support for the student’s dossier, writing letters based on performance as an apprentice as well as an independent teacher.

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Apprenticeship in Teaching Literature
  • Department of English
  • 203 Memorial Hall
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-2361
  • english@udel.edu