APSI: AP English Language and Composition for Experienced Teachers, Week 3

This 4-day institute for new teachers will focus on the core areas for any AP English Language course: Rhetoric and Argument.

Lovett Hall at Rice University with sunshine

Initially, participants will explore and delineate rhetorical and argumentative theory, then apply these theories to short texts. Transitioning to a full day on scaffolded teaching of the reading of non-fiction, participants will apply rhetorical theory to full essays. This workshop will also unpack definitions of reading from AP multiple-choice questions while working toward a methodology for teaching reading. By mid-week, participants will delve into writing, focusing at first on last year’s questions and samples, then on broader topics of writing within an AP English Language class. The discussion will segue into assignment design, assignment sequencing, grammar, and assessment issues. Participants will also spend time on  building curriculum collaboratively so that everyone is ready for teach their new course in August.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
CCR42838 Bernie Phelan On-campus 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Instructor: Bernie Phelan

Bernie Phelan is a retired teacher whose career spanned 40 years of active, high school teaching, thirty of those involving teaching AP English Language and Composition. He currently consults for individual school districts and with numerous programs within College Board. He was chair of the test development committee for SAT: Writing from 2011-2015, as well as a member of the committee since its inception in 2003. He is currently is a member of the group which reviews multiple-choice items for the SAT.  He is a long-time table leader and reader for the AP English Language and Composition exam, having read the exam since 1987. He conducts 1 and 2 day workshops during the school year in AP and Pre-AP. He has conducted over 115 four or five day AP Institutes since 1997. From 2000-2004 he was an elected trustee of The College Board. 

Term: Spring/Summer 2018

Start Date: July 31, 2018

End Date: Aug. 03, 2018

Schedule: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Length: Tuesday-Friday

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $555 Tuition includes College Board Exam Resources, course materials, parking and lunch.

Early Registration: $505 if registering by April 9

Late Registration: $605 if registering after June 25

Continuing Professional Education (CPE): 30

Day 1 

The morning session will focus on theory with in depth discussions on rhetoric and argument. The workshop leader will establish a conceptual framework and vocabulary for the remainder of the week. This portion will be largely presentational, with many questions generating interaction.

The afternoon will begin the application of the theory, in this case that of rhetoric, to two or three texts.  Attendees will examine these texts using the lenses of the various parts of the rhetorical diagram with special attention to the rhetorical situation, appeals, arrangement, and issues of style.


Day 2 

During the morning session, participants will continue to work with the texts while considering templates of argumentation. Participants will examine these texts through the lenses of Toulmin reasoning, the Oration Model, Modes of Discourse, descriptive arrangement, gist writing, summarizing, and paraphrasing.

In the afternoon, participants will examine questions to be asked of non-fiction texts and construct sets of questions that might be sensible for a given text, then scaffold the sets of questions, assuming that one might ask students to read for different purposes on a given day.  The assumption is that reading skills are teachable and teachers need to teach them overtly.


Day 3 

The morning session will focus on multiple choice passages and questions. Participants will examine multiple-choice passages as rhetorical/argumentative texts, then look at the question stems to see how the AP exam defines sophisticated reading skills. Participants will build a profile of mental activities that constitute critical reading, as well as review free response questions, samples and scoring.

In the afternoon session, participants will continue with the samples with a goal of determining what constitutes good writing in the context of the test construct. This exercise will also consider curricular implications that arise from an examination of the questions and the samples.


Day 4 

The morning discussion will focus on writing issues in an AP classroom. Participants will tackle issues of types of assignments and projects, paper load for overloaded teachers, and traits of good projects/assignments, as well as approaches to error, revision, editing, etc.

The afternoon will focus on assessment and the construction of a local assessment culture that is in some way related to larger assessment concerns such as Common Core, SAT ,and AP. Participants will spend time on curriculum creation and revision based on the work and topics addressed in the previous sessions. Based on varying needs, participants will either revise an existing curriculum or create a new course curriculum.