CSULA Department of English | MA Pedagogical-Portfolio Project

English MA Project/Thesis: Pedagogical-Portfolio Project

Pedagogical-Portfolio Project (ENGL 599, 2 units)

Students choosing the Pedagogical-Portfolio Project must possess a
single subject credential in English or have completed at least one
course that focuses on pedagogy in English studies (Engl 504 or a similar
course approved by the Graduate Adviser).

The pedagogical portfolio affords students the opportunity to apply
and extend their studies by investigating issues related to teaching a
specific area in English. By completing the portfolio, students will
demonstrate the ways in which their graduate studies in English have
prepared them to teach at the secondary school or community college level.

The portfolio may take either of two forms, each of which is described
below. Each type of portfolio must be prefaced by a written abstract that
details the project's significance, objectives, methodology, and
conclusion or recommendation. Option A, Designing a Specific Course,
requires students to conceptualize a course and develop corresponding
pedagogical materials. Option B, Approaches to Teaching, requires three
to four essays that explain how a specific text or cluster of texts
should be taught and why.

Students will form a committee of three faculty members who will
evaluate the portfolio as “passing” or “failing.” The committee chair
must have expertise in the area in which the portfolio is grounded. There
is no oral defense of the portfolio.

Portfolio Project Option A, Designing a Specific Course

The portfolio should represent how the student's MA studies inform a
particular teaching philosophy and course proposal. In the portfolio,
students must demonstrate critical analysis and advanced understanding of
the subject as they address the following questions:

Is the idea for the course fully developed and substantive?

Is the scholarship informing the course relevant and effectively incorporated into audience-appropriate curricular materials?

Do the portfolio materials evidence discipline-based teaching preparation?

Students opting to complete the pedagogical portfolio will consult
with their faculty advisers to determine the scope of the project and the
exact elements required for completion. The Pedagogical-Portfolio Project,
Option A, will include, but is not limited to, the following items:

  • a formal teaching philosophy that addresses current
    discipline-based pedagogical theory and practice
  • a proposal for a course that the student has not yet taught.
    The proposal should reference scholarship and criticism that
    influence the shape of the course and should indicate how the
    course fits into the current structure of English studies, takes
    advantage of innovative teaching strategies, and engages the
    student audience
  • an annotated syllabus and curriculum plan that include a
    course description and overview, student learning outcomes,
    suggested texts, assessment criteria, and rubrics. Each week of
    the course must include examples of key assignments, activities,
    presentations, and lecture notes or outlines. Each component of
    the syllabus and curriculum plan must be accompanied by a detailed
    narrative rationale
  • an annotated bibliography that evidences the research related
    to and influencing the course

A thoughtfully assembled and thoroughly developed pedagogical
portfolio will extend beyond fifteen pages in length. The written
components of the portfolio may be accompanied by additional requirements
to be determined by the student and advisory faculty members, such as the
teaching of a lesson or class, the student’s observation of and reflection
upon a class session, a recording of the student’s teaching, and/or the
development of a technological apparatus to support the lesson plans. A
successful pedagogical portfolio will effectively represent the student's
MA coursework and demonstrate both the theories underlying the course and
how those theories are developed into course content.

Portfolio Project Option B, Approaches to Teaching

These essays should be modeled upon those published in the
“MLA Approaches to Teaching” series. The three to four essays in this
portfolio could focus on texts in one particular historical field or area
or cover a variety of texts and thus demonstrate the breadth of the
student’s MA experience.