M A I N * L I N K S


SUNY Fredonia
College of Arts and Sciences
AMST/ENGL 296: American Identities
Spring 2013
Section 1: TTh 2-3:20, Thompson W231
Office: Fenton 265; M 10-12, 2-4, TTh 11-12, W 11-12, 1-3, and by appointment; 673-3856
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu, brucesimon18@yahoo.com
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
ANGEL Space: https://fredonia.sln.suny.edu/default.asp


Team Work, Spring 2013

What It Is

We will break up into six roughly-five-student teams during the first week of classes. Each team will be responsible for helping the rest of the class understand a specific portion of each week's reading. Each student will contribute by playing a different role each week:

You will rotate roles each week, so that each student gets to play each role twice. In the weeks when we are discussing Obama's and Chua's memoirs, I expect everyone to read the entire text for each and choose what to focus on when you do your assigned role on your own. In the weeks when we are discussing Yamashita's and Doctorow's novels, we will not be doing assigned team works and the rotations will freeze. These are good weeks to make up any roles you may have missed.

What For

Since there's too much assigned reading this semester for everyone in the course to read attentively and thoroughly for each class meeting, I'm setting up teams that will help "pre-digest" portions of the readings for just about every time we meet in class. If you study the summaries, key passages, questions, links, and citations provided by each team each week on the discussion board, you can deal with the reading your team isn't responsible for that week more efficiently, zeroing in on the parts you expect to interest you the most while retaining a sense of how they fit in the text and the class as a whole. Plus, given that you all are relative newcomers to American Studies, I thought you would better understand where the sources of confusion or frustration or curiosity or wonder in a particular reading might be than I might be able to--as well as how to find and communicate the key ideas, issues, and implications--perhaps even better than I could.  

In the classroom, you all will be exposed to a variety of presentation and discussion-leading styles and have the opportunity to draw on what you feel are the most effective and appropriate strategies when your turn comes (again). This should make our class meetings more interesting, relevant, and productive than if I just stood up in front of you and lectured at you each time.

The net effect of all this should be to encourage you to rely on, support, learn from, and teach your teammates and other classmates. In the process, you'll get a much greater variety of perspectives on the issues raised by the readings. And of course you'll get lots of practice for preparing and presenting your final research project, which together with the discussion-leading/presenting portion of this assignment contributes to the speaking-intensive nature of the course.

How To

suggestions forthcoming

Grading Criteria

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of factors:  the quality of each kind of role-playing over the course of the semester; the quality of your preparation, efforts, and development over the course of the semester of role-playing; the response of your classmates to your role-playing.


ENGL 296: American Identities, Spring 2013
Created: 1/31/13 1:53 pm
Last modified: 1/31/13 1:53 pm
Webmaster: Bruce Simon, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Fredonia
Feel free to explore the Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2010, Spring 2009, and Spring 2006 versions of this course.