For students majoring in English, every class they take requires them to use and develop the skills required of professionals in the field — namely, the skills of reading and interpreting literature and language, of communicating clearly in speech and writing, and of exploring a literary text from a variety of viewpoints. Students particularly skilled in these regards have been invited to present course papers at the annual women's studies conference at Marquette University. In addition, students enrolled in The English Language (ENG 380) design and present original projects that require engagement in specific off-campus language environments such as classrooms in area schools, local tutoring centers, churches, and hospitals. Such placement requires analysis of the interrelated strands of historical, social, cultural, and educational linguistic concerns.
Students are also encouraged to develop appreciation for literature and linguistics in several other ways. For example, students at all levels of the program apply their interpretive skills to live performances, whether through attending dramatic productions or poetry readings. While the London Theater Trip (ENG 123) is perhaps the most obvious example of a course that requires this participation, students need not travel to England to be engaged. The Great Lakes Writers Festival, the Wisconsin Book Festival, campus theatrical productions, and the strong theatre companies of Chicago and southern Wisconsin have provided faculty and students ready access to live literary performance and presentations. Students are also required at different levels to inhabit the styles they read, whether by writing sonnets (ENG 200), testing different approaches to autobiography (ENG 499), experimenting with the comics form (ENG 281), or performing dramatic scenes (ENG 370). Such efforts help students gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges writers face when choosing a specific form or genre for literary communication.
Students minoring in ESL seek to be teachers, and the Student-as-Practitioner activities in this program focus specifically on teaching English to non-native speakers. For example, students completing courses in ESL methods (ESL 322 and ESL 324) prepare a series of lesson plans for a specific topic. From this series, each student teaches one lesson to his or her fellow students. Students must produce or gather all materials for their instruction, must highlight at least one of language-learning skill areas (listening, speaking, writing, reading), and are encouraged to integrate the use of art and music with their lessons. This activity requires students to apply the various methods, techniques, and strategies they are learning about in the class and to reflect with their fellow students on what was successful and not successful.Learn more about the Student As Practitioner Program