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TCNJ First Year Writing Teaching Practicum

Teaching Practicum
TCNJ First Year Writing (FYW) Practicum Program 


The TCNJ First-Year Writing Practicum Program allows current English MA students to gain invaluable experience teaching in a college composition classroom. Students have the opportunity to earn independent study credit while shadowing an experienced FYW instructor  in preparation for teaching the class independently (with mentorship) during the second half of the semester. The TCNJ Writing Program provides training and mentoring to prepare students for a wide-range of courses both at TCNJ and in similar writing programs across the country.  The English Department provides students with independent study credit in Composition theory and teaching experience (taught by experienced writing staff at TCNJ).


The Program

The First Year Writing Program interviews all candidates for the Practicum program to discuss expectations, qualifications, and future goals. 

The Texts:
– Writing Textbook being used by FYW Instructor
– Several texts/articles on Composition theory and practice

Practicum Requirements:
Along with the routine duties of instructing a Composition course, the Practicum students are responsible for the following:

Regular Meetings:
One of the most beneficial aspects of the program is the required meeting between the FYW mentor and the Practicum students. Students will meet with the FYW mentor during the first week of classes and will have regular meetings over the course of the semester.  These meetings are beneficial to each of the students because they provide continuity over the course of the semester and because the Practicum students can discuss their classroom experiences and any concerns they have managing the classroom, and/or offering feedback and assessment of student writing.

Assigned Readings:
Practicum students are responsible for completing multiple readings in Composition theory and practice that cover a variety of topics including approaches to Composition, assessment, effective teaching, and academic labor.

Assigned Journal Entries:
Journal entries are a source of reflection and a chance for the students to apply the ideas and theories in the readings to the Composition class they are teaching. The mentor may assign specific journal topics that focus on the Practicum students’ current experiences in their Composition course and on how those experiences connect to the required readings. As a result, the students will consistently reflect on their classroom experiences in light of current Composition theory and practice.

Review of Graded Student Essays:
Over the course of the semester, Practicum students will shadow the FYW Instructor and grade two sets of essays in collaboration with the FYW instructor before autonomously grading half of the third and potentially fourth set of essays.

Classroom Observations & Criteria for Grading:
On a scheduled day toward the end of the semester, the Practicum students invite the FYW mentor to observe one of their classes.  During this class, the mentor observes the instructor and responds to the following grading criteria:

  • Quality of the classroom activities
  • Student Engagement 
  • Classroom Time Management 
  • Discussion 
  • Effectiveness addressing student concerns and questions during the class. 

The overall grading for the Practicum is determined by the following criteria:

  • Connecting their readings to their classroom experiences 
  • Reflection: journal entries
  • Preparation: lesson plans 
  • Assessment of student work: grading
  • Regular meetings
  • Classroom observation



  • Regular scheduled meetings with FYW mentor
  • Classroom visit(s) by FYW mentor 
  • Journal – weekly entries concerning assigned readings, teaching issues, classroom experiences.
  • Shadow grading for two sets of essays and autonomous grading for one or two sets of essays that will be reviewed by their FYW faculty member
  • Required readings from various writing and composition resources provided by the FYW program
  • Registration in a three-credit independent study (ENGL 691)
  • Submission of a portfolio that includes journal and class materials, as well as a final reflection



To apply for Fall 2023 Placement – April 14, 2023

  • Teaching Practicum Application | Form
  • Recommendation (please share with your recommenders)  I Form

* This course counts as an elective toward the fulfillment of your degree requirements and is considered part of your load during any given semester.  Please plan accordingly.  It is not advised to take the practicum in addition to a full-time load of three courses.

Please direct any questions to the graduate coordinator: