Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing

The courses in the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing program are grounded in ongoing changes in theory and instructional practices in writing. The conceptual model of writing is process-centered: addressing the behaviors and thinking modes of student writers, the ways composing creates meaning, and the way writing is influenced by the social contexts in which it is written.

Upon completion of the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing, participants will be able to: 

  • Understand the process paradigm as it translates to the teaching of writing in many genres and contexts 
  • Develop and/or complete writing assignments which demonstrate that writing can be used as a tool for learning and critical inquiry 
  • Know how to use computer technology to effectively enhance writing and learning 
  • Create a philosophy of writing that leads to consistency in practice when teaching, assigning, and assessing writing 
  • Join the professional community of teachers who write by developing and publishing pieces demonstrating writing competence as well as the ability to teach writing effectively 
  • Fulfill leadership roles in collaborative teaching projects, curriculum design, and professional development offerings related to improved literacy instruction

Required Core (twelve credits)


ENG/EDU 610 Prairie Lands Writing Project Invitational Institute (SU, 6 cr.; may be repeated for a total of twelve credits) This 16 day writing workshop (plus spring orientation and fall reflection) brings together teachers, grades K – 16, as they prepare to assume leadership roles that promote good writing in their own schools. Participants will: 

  • Write, revise, and publish their own writing
  • Study current theory and research, especially research of teachers of writing 
  • Share classroom expertise, especially their most successful writing practices. 

Prerequisite: Admission into the Invitational Institute: at least one year of successful teaching experience; a commitment to writing as a way to learn and to communicate learning; recommendation from building administrator, department head or Prairie Lands Teacher Consultant; potential for leadership; successful meeting with Prairie Lands interview team.

ENG/EDU 512 Teaching Writing with Technology (SP, 3 cr.) 

In this course, participants will learn how to use technology to improve writing and learning in their classrooms. Students will investigate, experiment with and use word processing, spread sheet, electronic images, presentation software, and web pages. With these technologies, students will: 

-Design writing assignments that follow the writing process

  • Review software and Web design considerations
  • Critique their own designs as well as existing software and Web programs for possible incorporation into their curriculum
  • Learn how to harness the power of the Internet to create writing and learning communities
  • Develop a CD portfolio of course lessons and assignments for use in their teaching

Prerequisite: Senior standing at MWSU with successful completion of EDU Junior Experience or BS or BA degree. Participants should have a basic understanding of computer applications.

ENG/EDU 612 Seminar in Professional Writing for Teachers: Advanced Institute (SU, 3 cr.; may be repeated for a total of six credits)

This capstone course is designed for participants to develop the dual roles of writer and teacher of writing. Although the course will work with both types of professional writing, each participant will choose one of two emphases: (1) research writing growing out of a classroom inquiry into an issue of the teaching of writing; (2) expository and creative writing growing out of an inquiry into his/her own evolution as a writer. At the heart of both projects is a study of what is involved in becoming a writer. The work may build on writing produced in the Prairie Lands Writing Project Invitational Institute. 

Prerequisite: Completion of ENG/EDU 610 Prairie Lands Writing Project Invitational Institute

Elective Offerings (at least six credits)

ENG/EDU 501 Topics in Teaching Writing (1-2 credits each; may be repeated for a total of four credits; offered on demand) 

Writing seminar for teachers or pre-service teachers with senior standing at MWSU which addresses a particular issue related to literacy teaching. 

Prerequisite: Senior standing at MWSU with successful completion of EDU Junior Experience or BS or BA degree.

ENG/EDU 502 Professional Learning Community (1-2 credits each; may be repeated for a total of four credits; offered on demand) 

Professional Learning Communities emphasize enhancing student achievement by involving classroom teachers in a cycle of inquiry, reflection, and action in regard to a particular issue regarding literacy instruction. Teachers question common practice, explore specific problems, consider research and evidence that proposes solutions, try some of those solutions in their teaching, and evaluate the results, starting the cycle anew. 

Prerequisite: Senior standing at MWSU with successful completion of EDU Junior Experience or BS or BA degree.

ENG 503 Literature for Children (F, 3 cr.) 

A study of literature for children designed to increase appreciation of children’s books through literary evaluation. Students will read and evaluate picture books, junior novels and poetry, and complete a research project. 

Prerequisite: Senior standing at MWSU with successful completion of EDU Junior Experience or BS or BA degree.

ENG 500 Literature for Adolescents (SP, 3 cr.) 

A study of literature for young adults designed to increase appreciation of the genre through literary evaluation. Students will consider trends in publishing, the issues behind censorship, the history of literature for young adults, and complete a research project. 

Prerequisite: Senior standing at MWSU with successful completion of EDU Junior Experience or BS or BA degree.

ENG 567 Grammar and the Teaching of Grammar (F, odd years; 3 cr.) 

Explores various definitions of grammar, review knowledge base required by teachers, demonstrates teaching methods that illustrate current theory and research. Students will complete a research project applicable to teaching grammar. 

Prerequisite: Senior standing at MWSU with successful completion of EDU Junior Experience or BS or BA degree.

ENG 573 History of the English Language (F, even years; 3 cr.) 

From the development of the Indo-European language family to English as a world language, this course explores the influence of historical and cultural developments, internal changes, and language attitudes on the English language. Students will come to understand how languages begin and why they change, how language is a product of its socio-cultural history, and why there are dialectal differences in the English heard around the world. They will complete a research project related to language learning and teaching writing. 

Prerequisite: Senior standing at MWSU with successful completion of EDU Junior Experience or BS or BA degree.