The Accidental Writing Teacher: Responding to Student Writers in Any University Class

The Accidental Writing Teacher:
Responding to Student Writers in Any University Class

How do faculty who don't teach writing work with students who need writing assistance?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

4:00pm - 7:00pm

Student Center, Formal Dining Room

Montclair State University faculty members are invited to join us as Dr. Joseph Harris, one of the most respected scholars and editors in composition studies, conducts a workshop to answer that question. 

University faculty often find themselves teaching writing, as it were, by accident, as part of helping their students learn how to do the work of their fields—writing up lab reports and field notes, compiling bibliographies and research papers, composing reviews and critical essays. This workshop will be geared specifically towards the accidental writing teacher of preservice teachers, students whose professional sights are set on the K-12 classroom.  This workshop will help university faculty who work regularly with preservice teachers become both more effective and efficient in responding to student writers. Faculty will leave the workshop with ideas for (a) structuring their courses in ways that build in time for writing without sacrificing a focus on content, and (b) responding usefully to student writing without becoming swamped by the paperload.

Joseph Harris is an associate professor of English at Duke University, where he teaches courses in academic writing, critical reading, creative nonfiction, and digital writing. From 1999-2009, he was the founding director of the Thompson Writing Program at Duke—an independent, multidisciplinary program noted for its approach to teaching writing as a form of critical inquiry. He also works regularly with preservice teachers in English and the social sciences in Duke’s MAT program. His books include A Teaching Subject: Composition Since 1966 (2012), Teaching with Student Texts (2010), Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts (2006), and Media Journal (1998). He served as editor of the College Composition and Communication journal from 1994-99 and of the Studies in Writing and Rhetoric book series from 2007-12. Harris is currently at work on Dead Poets and Wonder Boys, a book on how the teaching of writing has been depicted in film and fiction. To learn more, please visit

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