The department promotes students' professional development as teachers through four interlinked teaching experiences.
- The sequence begins with the teaching of Writing 1. This course, required of all first-year undergraduates, fosters creativity and experimentation in all phases of the writing process. Graduate instructors are prepared to teach this course through the Practicum in Teaching Writing, a three-credit course taken in the fall of their third year.
- Following, in most cases, three semesters of Writing 1, graduate instructors are encouraged to broaden their pedagogical repertoire by serving as Teaching Assistants in other courses, with some home-based in English and others based in departments and programs that have included African and African American Studies, American Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Film and Media Studies, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. These teaching assignments (made with the concurrent approval of the DGS and the relevant course instructor) do not always need to mirror perfectly a student's area of specialization, as indicated by the Major Field. They are made on the basis that the experience will be professionally useful.
- The third level of teaching expertise is represented by co-teaching opportunities in the area of a student's specialization and in collaboration with a member of the student's Research Advisory Committee. In most cases, co-teaching proposals will be approved after the student has successfully passed the Major Field exam in the fall of the fourth year. Co-teaching proposals must be submitted to the Curriculum Committee when that body makes its general call for course proposals. Each student is advised to plan well in advance with his or her primary advisor about the possibilities for and timing of a co-teaching experience.
Finally, we offer and facilitate opportunities for teaching a self-designed course. Such opportunities exist at Washington University (at University College and in some of the programs with which we collaborate) and at many of the other colleges in the city of St. Louis.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences also offers a teaching citation, which enhances students' teaching knowledge and skills. Gaining the citation requires participation in non-credit workshops in the Teaching Center, completion of varied teaching experiences, submission of faculty and student evaluations of the student's teaching, and the development of a teaching philosophy statement.