M.A. in English
  Literature Track
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Guidelines for Teaching Practica

A graduate student should do the practicum in an appropriate introductory course in his or her area of interest: Composition (Eng 150), Literature (Eng 120/121), or Creative Writing (Eng 300). The student should enroll in only one practicum over the course of the program of study. Practica in any other courses must be approved in advance by the Graduate Co-Directors.


Students are to attend every class meeting and do all reading assignments of the undergraduate class for which they are doing their practica.


Students will meet regularly with the supervising professor to discuss course design, course assignments, activities and other issues relevant to the execution of the class. Students will not be responsible for syllabus design or any other major classroom assignment.


With the supervision, input and approval of the supervising professor, students may lead a short activity, give a short lecture, or lead a short guided discussion during approximately three classes.  At no point will the student be responsible for an entire class period.


Students are welcome to look at completed course assignments and to discuss and review the processes of grading with the supervising professor. Practica students may comment on undergraduate student work with the oversight of the supervising professor. However, practica students will not be permitted to assign students' grades.


Students will not be responsible for performing secretarial duties for the course (e.g., routinely making photocopies, filing non-course-related materials, scheduling professor's personal

appointments, running personal errands for the professor, and so forth).



Graduate Practicum Guidelines--Details



I.  Teaching Portfolio


This portfolio is designed to be a transportable and ongoing project, one you may revise and add to as you continue to develop as a teacher. For this semester, it should include the following:


A.)  A statement of your teaching philosophy:


For the purposes of sending this with Ph.D. program or job applications, this should be no longer than one single-spaced page.  The statement should articulate the values and assumptions you bring to the classroom. It might discuss how you envision the role of teacher and of students,

as well as the kind of intellectual work you hope students will do. It might include specific examples of texts, assignments, activities, or projects you use (or would likely use) in a course.  Since this is an articulation of yourself as teacher presently, you might also use this now to name goals for yourself in the classroom.  You will continue to tailor and revise this, of course, as you use it for different purposes.


B.) Assignment/Activity examples and a brief explanation of each:


Here you describe the assignment or activity and provide a reflection in which you contextualize it (both in terms of the overall course and the particular unit in which you used it). What are the aims of this project?  How are those aims represented in the language of the assignment?  What does this assume about "where students are" -- in the course and in their development as writers/readers?  You might also describe evaluating criteria (if applicable), and assess its outcome.

How did students respond to the assignment/activity?  How did (or didn’t) students’ responses meet your expectations? What might you do differently next time?


C.) Classroom Record

**With the sponsoring faculty member, you may decide whether to turn in your journal/process log or the reflective essay.  If you choose the latter, it will be important to maintain some kind of record of the daily happenings in class.


1.) A journal or process log

The journal is a space for you to record notes about your observations in class, as well as any questions or ideas you have. You might use it to think toward your own teaching philosophy, or to reflect on the “how” and “why” of the course’s pedagogy. In other words, it is a place for you to take your observations a step further, analyzing and re-thinking the events of the course.


2.) Reflective Essay

This essay, built out of your journal entries, might be approached in a number of ways. You might use it to reflect on your overall experience in the course, highlighting those moments or interactions that most influenced your thinking about teaching. You might consider your role as

a “developing teacher” in the course, paying attention to how you have changed—your assumptions, values, questions—over the course of the term. You might use it engage in a “re-reading” of some difficult or challenging moments during the semester, considering how your

understanding of “what happened” has changed since they occurred.  In the bibliography, there are examples provided of “teacher research” or classroom narratives/representations, which might be helpful in composing this piece.


D.) Sample letter (optional):


If you intend to apply to a Ph.D. program or for a teaching job, you may want to draft an application letter that addresses your values, assumptions and aims as a teacher—probably in one paragraph.


II. Additional Requirements


A.) Monthly Practicum Meetings:

Each month, one of the “sponsoring” faculty members will facilitate a practicum meeting, which all graduate students are required to attend. This meeting will be focused on some topic or reading, and will provide you an opportunity to talk with each other about your experiences.


B.) Classroom Visits

To obtain a sense of a range of pedagogical approaches and strategies, you are encouraged to visit at least one other class during the semester.




Graduate Program
Department of English
Hitchcock Communication Arts
Creighton University
Omaha, NE 68178
Phone: (402) 280-2822
Fax: (402) 280-2143

For information, contact Jackie Masker, Senior Administrative Assistant, at 402.280.2822 or




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