Department Philosophy

english-dept-philosophy.jpgWe teach our English courses as seminars; much of what the students discover and practice in a class period develops through class discussion. We aim for each student to take up a part in that class conversation. We are a team of close readers, and we model that endeavor for the students as we guide them in their own close reading. Both in classroom exchange and in writing instruction, we guide our students to root their ideas in data:  to open the book, to find the passage, to read it carefully, to respond to it with integrity. The range of works we select to teach is broad and reflects the literatures of many cultures.

As colleagues, we honor the individual reading and writing experience and the creative autonomy that animates each of our classrooms. As a group, we recognize the primary importance, to good readers and good writers, of attention to detail. As individuals, we tailor for our students a wide variety of ways in which to practice that attention.

A student in a Burroughs English class will submit a piece of well-developed writing once every two to three weeks. We encourage individual students to confer with us during the writing and revising processes so we can provide targeted support to the growing writer who, through guided practice in regarding and developing his or her own voice, continues to expand the ability to attend to language and to attend to experience through language.