CSULA Department of English | MA Pedagogical-Portfolio Project

English MA Project/Thesis: Pedagogical-Portfolio Project

Pedagogical-Portfolio Project (ENGL 5990, 3 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 5040 (formerly 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.