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This course is geared to the book The Autobiography of Malcolm X as narrated to Alex Haley. Instructors should adapt this curriculum along with any curriculum they may already be using for Composition 090/110. This course is prepared in such a way that the only text needed for this class is The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Types of Categories
Dictation is a teaching method that has been used for a long time and is very effective. It used to be called précis. The purpose of dictation is to teach spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. In the case of this course, it can also be used to help summarize the developing plot of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It is also a great method to use to help students preparing for standardized testing in that the test format is similar to the Compass and ACT tests.
Dictation can be presented several ways. It can be copied and given to students to be discussed by the teacher. A method I have used that is very successful is to have students write sentences on the board and to give extra credit if the student gets the sentence correct. This encourages student involvement. The important thing, however, is to make sure that students write the sentences in their notebooks for future testing.
Opening and/or Closing Tests/Quizzes
One method that is extremely effective in dealing with attendance is to give tests/quizzes at the beginning and closing of every class. Students will find it necessary to not only be on time for class but also to stay the entire time. These test/quizzes should be short and be able to be taken in 10-15 minutes. Making these tests/quizzes mandatory and not tests/quizzes that can be made up will help in this procedure.
In order to not take much time away from instruction, I find it useful to dictate the tests. These tests can be 10 true and false items, fill in the blanks, etc. Presenting the material verbally will help students with their listening skills as well as be a positive effect on aural learners. I usually make up the tests right then and there and I only write the answers down. This eliminates the “Could you repeat that?”
In longer classes, I have also used something called “notes check” during the class to have students be able to take the test/quiz while looking at their notes. This guarantees that students are taking complete notes.
The test/quiz items can be taken from the test bank provided for each unit.
The vocabulary for each unit is taken from the assigned chapters from The Autobiography of Malcom X. The vocabulary tests/quizzes consist of quotes from The Autobiography of Malcom X which help students in understand using words in context rather than just memorizing words and definitions. In her book The Master Reader (2011), D.J. Henry emphasizes the use of contextual clues in teaching and understanding vocabulary (p. 48).
For each unit, a different type of composition style is presented. Upon teaching the format, instructors should try to incorporate the writing style into their assignments. Prepared Power Points Presentations are given in the resource disc for this class but are entirely optional.
Assignments are given for student in the 090 Composition class and for those students in the 110 division. Of course, those assignments for the 110 students are more detailed and in-depth than those of the 090 students
Analysis of The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Each unit contains an analysis of two chapters of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. These notes should be used in preparing lecture notes. The units also include Power Point Presentations which are important in that they include photographs of Malcolm and the other significant people and events in his life. This will help visual learners as well as satisfy curiosity of students.
Use as you will.
Review the Basics
It is difficult to teach a class in composition without including the basics. It is one thing to say “Make sure you use your commas correctly” when students have no grasp of this concept. My teacher mentor told me in my first year of teaching, “How can you tell students to use vivid language if they don’t even know what an adjective is.” Because students in 090 are still in remediation, this material should be presented but not emphasized as the core of the course.