Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Topic: Goals for English Majors

10-second review: California State University, San Bernadino, Department of English Goals for English Majors.

Title: EM White. College Composition and Communication (June 2005), p. 595. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Goals for English Majors

Major Works in English and American Literature

I. To be familiar with the major works, periods and genres of English and American Literature, and to be able to place important works and genres in their historical context.

Writing about Literature

II. To be able to analyze, interpret and compare literary works, and to write about literature in a clear, coherent, literate way that demonstrates a high level of understanding both of a text’s technical merits and of its emotional impact.

Literary Criticism

III. To know that literature can be studied in a variety of ways, and to be familiar with some of these critical approaches.

Non-Western, Ethnic and Women’s Literature

IV. To have read several important works in non-Western, ethnic, and women’s literatures that illustrate the diversity of literary studies and the interconnectedness of literary traditions.


V. To understand writing as process and, in their own writing, to demonstrate an awareness of audience, purpose, and various rhetorical forms as well as a high level of control of the conventions of standard written English.

Structure of English

VI. To have some basic understanding of the phonological, morphological, and syntactic structures of English and their development, as well as to be familiar with theories of sociolinguistics and language acquisition.

Teaching English

VII. In addition, students who are planning to teach English should be more specifically acquainted with pedagogical approaches to literature, language and writing and with the theories that underlie those approaches.

Creative Writing

VIII. Students taking the creative writing track are expected to be able to demonstrate a high level of competence in some genre of imaginative writing and the forms and techniques of that genre.

Comment: I don’t ever recall seeing a list of goals for the English program at the university at which I matriculated. If I had seen such goals, I might have been much more goal directed in my program. Interesting that California State at San Bernadino’s goals include one for those who are going to teach English and one for those who are going to major in creative writing.

I never saw any goals for the master’s degree either. I was simply handed a very long reading list of works I was supposed to have read before taking my qualifying exams.

But then, I never clearly articulated my goals for my English classes either. Ouch! RayS.

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