This study explores the impact of "teacher thinking" exercises in the Composition Practicum as a means of instilling a clearer sense of professional development in graduate instructors. Teacher thinking is a teacher training method that asks the novice instructor to see from the perspective of learners within their writing classrooms. Scholarship on writing teacher preparation programs suggests that English educators regularly employ teacher thinking exercises in the training of secondary school teachers. Teacher thinking has allowed many English education majors to conceptualize and obtain teaching identities by helping them to envision the intricate layers of teaching earlier in their careers. But can teacher thinking exercises have the same effect on graduate instructors in the Composition Practicum? Using the two main writing teacher preparation courses at Brigham Young University (BYU) for graduate instructors and English education majors, English 610 and English 423, I analyze the evidence of teacher thinking in each program and address the possible implications these findings could hold for the Composition Practicum course. Through my comparison of these courses, I determine if conversations between English educators and the Composition Practicum could be beneficial in helping graduate instructors to grow professionally as teachers as they learn to think like teachers in the Composition Practicum. I examine, analyze, and compare syllabi, surveys, and interview response from graduate instructors, English education majors, and the teachers of both courses to identify the types of teaching thinking students are exposed to in each course. Structuring my discussion around the teacher thinking theories of teacher educators, Forrest Parkay and Beverly Stanford, George Hillocks, and Alicia Crowe and Amanda Berry, I identify three types of knowledge that graduate instructors and English education majors gained or lacked in each program. These three types of knowledge are knowledge of self, knowledge of students, and knowledge of educational theory. Through this discussion, I explore what it means to think like a composition teacher and how learning to "teacher think" may help graduate instructors, nationally, to understand what it means to "simply be a composition teacher".



College and Department

Humanities; English



Date Submitted


Document Type





Composition Practicum, English Education, Graduate Instructors, Writing Teacher Pedagogy, Writing Teacher Preparation, Writing Teacher Preparation Program, Teacher Thinking, Teacher Knowledge, First-Year Writing