UWP 298 - Grammar for Graduate Students—as Teachers and Writers

  (2 units)

  1. Catalog Description

    This class should help prepare graduate student instructors to teach and to mark grammatical and style-related issues more effectively.  In past workshops  I have found it beneficial to introduce nomenclature for structural and functional units--from word to phrase to clause to sentence to paragraph to section--and review parts of speech (article, noun, adjective, etc.); then we review ways in which various units can work in sentences and as parts of larger rhetorical structures.  Besides offering lots of practical examples, I plan to include some discussion of the pedagogical literature that says grammar can't or shouldn't be taught--and demonstrate effective methods for making grammar a part of your curriculum.

    I plan to look at ways to improve instructors' responses to specific stylistic or grammatical problems, and ways to encourage better sentence crafting in general; in the process I expect active participants to improve their own prose style as well as become better editors of others’ writing.  Besides looking at some of the classic sentence problems like excessive nominalization, dangling modifiers, faulty predication, parallelism errors, choppiness and pronoun reference issues, we will also address ways to encourage more direct, less essayistic writing, and ways to accomplish academic tasks in clear, concrete, and efficient prose.

    Class sessions will involve brisk lecture-presentations interspersed with exercises and plenty of discussion.  I plan to offer quick exercises, discuss ways to mark effectively, and guide participants in developing their own teaching materials.  This is a great opportunity to learn some of those things you really wish you had down cold (from affect vs. effect to who vs. whom and everything in between).  There will be some homework, roughly equivalent to class time each week, and I encourage students to bring in samples of their own to work on.