ENGL 1001W - Introduction to Literature: Poetry, Drama, Narrative
Credits: Four University of Minnesota semester credits
U of M Requirements Met with this Course: Meets U of M liberal education requirements in Literature and as a Writing Intensive course
U of M Catalog Description:
ENGL 1001W - Introduction to Literature: Poetry, Drama, Narrative. Basic techniques for analyzing/understanding literature. Readings of novels, short stories, poems, plays.
Student Qualification Requirements:
Students enrolling in ENGL 1001W must be juniors or seniors in high school and in the top 30 percent of their class, or have instructor approval, to participate. Senior status is recommended.
Instructors select titles to teach in the course from the following book list which is supplemented each year. Other books not listed may be used at an individual instructor's discretion. Costs for the books vary depending on the vendor.
Toni McNaron is a distinguished teaching professor emerita in the University of Minnesota's English Department. Her research and teaching focus on Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Milton, feminist criticism, feminist pedagogy, and lesbian poetry. Dr. McNaron oversaw the University of Minnesota Bush Faculty Development Program for Excellence and Diversity in Teaching from 1991 until her retirement in 2001. She also helped create an Internet site devoted to the writings of women of color called Voices from the Gaps. She is the recipient of five teaching awards, including the Morse-Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award, the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Teacher Award, and the College of Continuing Education Award for Outstanding Teaching.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are all of the readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are some of the choices?
CIS literature has a recommended reading list with about 50 titles on it. Teachers generally choose books from that list, especially when they are relatively new to the program. Each summer we read four new titles so that we may add new titles to the on-going list. We also revisit one often-taught book to see what new insights emerge.
Do teachers have choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
Teachers have choice in making assignments, though we agree on the type of assignments, e.g., no plot summaries or book reports, an emphasis on collaborative work where possible, and creative as well as expository writing assignments. As for required assignments, the staff has agreed that ALL students must complete at least THREE reading notebook entries per text studied, and that EACH of these three must be at least THREE pages in length.
Who creates the exams?
Teachers create their own exams with the understanding that no one will give true/false or multiple-choice questions. Essay exams are given in all instances where exams are given.
Is there a mentoring system for new CIS literature teachers?
Each new teacher is assigned a volunteer mentor from the staff of experienced teachers. This is done in early June and the mentors are invited to take part in the orientation day so they can meet their mentees. Over the summer, the mentors make themselves available at least by e-mail as new teachers begin to build a syllabus for their course, offering advice on which books to teach the first time. Mentors spend informal time with their mentees during the summer workshops and are then actively available for conversation and advice during the mentees first time through the course. New teachers also benefit from an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS as well as prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.
High school class schedules vary; can a teacher in the block system teach literature?
All courses offered through CIS have the same minimum number of contact hours as the on-campus sections. Teachers adapt the University schedule to fit the schedules at their high schools.
What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices.
What happens at your typical student field days?
Student field days provide an opportunity for CIS students to meet their peers, practice skills they have learned in class, and explore the Twin Cities campus. On a typical English literature field day, students come to campus to hear a lecture by a University professor focusing on one of the critical lenses currently in use in literary studies. They then participate in small groups, led by CIS teachers, in which they apply the theoretical material just heard to a story they have read before the field day. They also write in the small groups on a topic set by the lecturer. At the end of this phase they reconvene as a whole and read, if they choose, what they have written. The students then have free time on campus for lunch or just exploration.
Other information for prospective teachers
Toni McNaron, U of M faculty coordinator for the ENGL 1001W course, says this about the CIS literature cohort: "The staff of teachers in this program is simply superb. They are intellectually stimulating, professionally dedicated, and personally generous. We work as a team committed to making literature vibrant and necessary in young people’s lives. Because of this, people thinking of joining the staff need to be ready to attend all the workshops and seminars, both in the summer and during the school year. The course design is constantly under revision, and so such collaborative sessions are absolutely essential to the success of each offering."