English Faculty Resources

REC Room Sign

Welcome to the Online REC (Resources for English Colleagues)!

Here you will find a selection of sample syllabi, texts, activities, ideas, and resources for teaching English at Chabot College. The online REC is a digital companion site to the physical REC Room, located in room 451A on the second floor of building 400. The REC Room has paper copies of samples and a resource library of texts about pedagogy and texts appropriate for adoption in your classes. It also serves as a physical meeting place for all part-time and full-time English faculty to meet about teaching English at Chabot.

Online resources are organized into the categories below. Some resources may be housed in more than one category, for your convenience. The short notes that precede the links to resources provide an introduction to the Chabot English Department’s pedagogical approach to that aspect of teaching. These notes are all drawn from the Chabot College English Department Philosophy and Teaching Practice, and document that you can read in its entirety at the LINK here, and which is a must-read for instructors teaching English at Chabot.

Samples have been created and used by Chabot English faculty. They can be used as inspiration to adapt for use in your own classes. Please be mindful of the intellectual and creative pedagogical work of Chabot colleagues. If you have questions or would like suggestions about particular resources and/or how you might use them, you can contact the faculty author directly. The academic, professional, and personal growth of Chabot students is our top priority!

This collection of samples and resources will be updated periodically, as we support the ongoing investigation of new teaching approaches. We value self-reflective, responsive teaching practice to continually improve instruction in a changing world.

Please direct any other questions to REC Room coordinator Clara McLean (cmclean@chabotcollege.edu) or web coordinator Simon Abramowitsch (sabramowitsch@chabotcollege.edu).

The course syllabus offers an overview of course design. The syllabus is a vital document for instructors and students. It clarifies and communicates the goals, expectations, activities, themes, and structure of the course in language, organization, and design that students can clearly understand. It should provide answers to questions such as: What will I learn? What will I do? How will I be graded? When will things happen? It is also an important early point of contact in forming an effective relationship between instructor and students. The syllabus provides a road map for the course, and those themes and objectives are developed in the specific activities and assignments for the class. (Thus, in the resources below you can view sample syllabi with accompanying major assignments and activities).

At all levels of English we integrate reading, writing and critical thinking, focusing on 1) teaching broad-based foundational skills in reading and writing for academic success; 2) teaching skills that are unique to the discipline of English and literature; 3) increasing students’ familiarity with academic culture; and 4) the creation of meaning that resonates beyond the classroom and connects to students’ lived experience. We emphasize critical thinking as the creation of meaning: it is not limited to concepts of formal logic but includes grouping, drawing inferences, evaluating, questioning, and assessing information and ideas.

All core transfer-level composition classes at Chabot College require the reading of at least one full-length text and the writing of several academic papers, totalling 6,000 words. Further details about each course (objectives, content, assignments, presentation) can be found in the course outlines, linked here:

We also offer preparatory (pre-ENGL 1) English courses (ENGL 101 and 102). This "pass/no pass" pre-transfer-level curriculum affords students the time and practice necessary to develop reading, writing, critical thinking and academic skills without the additional pressure of a final course grade. We offer students in these courses the same kind of reading, writing and critical thinking experiences we offer in transfer-level courses.

Resources Link Here:


Chabot College students enter our classrooms with a diverse range of educational experiences and preparation. Our classrooms, especially our ENGL 1 classrooms will have diverse learners, and we can best serve them by learning about them as a group and as individuals: who they are, what they know and can do, and how to effectively support their learning.

The use of intake questionnaires, surveys, and short non-graded reading and writing assignments very early in the semester is a valuable way of learning about students. This knowledge is helpful in two ways: 1) as a basis to form positive relationships, and 2)  to design and adapt course activities and materials to provide appropriate, targeted scaffolding and support to help students succeed.

Beyond the introductory questionnaire, which is a starting point for relationships between instructors and students, we believe that instructors should work to facilitate connections and community in the classroom throughout the semester, not only between the instructor and students but also among students. A great deal of research indicates that strong social connections in classrooms among students and instructors can play a significant role in student academic success. Our students have much to teach us and each other, and we support them in bringing their knowledge and experience into our classroom. Activities that build engagement, rapport, trust, and value of student knowledge support intellectual discovery, peer support, and more effective instruction.


The selection of relevant, engaging, and intellectually rigorous course texts is a vital component of course design. Book-length works, fiction or non-fiction, must be included at all levels of our curriculum, including pre-ENGL 1 courses. A full-length text is defined as any work that sustains themes, including a book of short essays by a single author. Stand alone essays, articles, and other texts are recommended for use in conjunction with full-length texts to provide a variety of models. We recommend that the texts be integrated into the course thematically.

In the choosing of course texts, it is critical to build bridges between class texts and our students' lives, and give them access to worlds beyond their own. We know that students are empowered when they see themselves reflected in the texts and authors they read. We also know that the horizon of knowledge is expanded when students read diverse worldviews, experiences and perspectives.

In ENGL 1 and the pre-ENGL 1 level, we recommend that non-fiction be used, and that if fiction or autobiographical works are assigned, they be analyzed for issues and themes connected to other readings in the course rather than for literary aspects.

Resources Link Here: SAMPLE COURSE TEXTS

Major writing assignments in the core composition classes should focus on the academic essay. While informal writing exercises and personal reflection are important parts of the writing process, formal major essays should require students to critically respond to or analyze class texts and themes. Major writing assignments should also require students to sustain and support complete arguments. Assignments based upon class texts and sustained argumentation serve our students by fostering academic reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. The major writing assignments for the course should follow a clear assignment arc, in which students write and revise essays of increasing length and complexity.


Students who improve their reading tend to improve their writing and vice-versa. At all levels of our English courses, instructors should create settings which integrate reading, writing, critical thinking, speaking, and listening, fostering the building of community.

READING: An active reading style is critical to improving reading comprehension and more effective in helping students grasp ideas and meaning than "word by word reading." We must actively lead students in the classroom to critically read assigned texts, and directly address students' reading practices, model effective reading strategies, coach students in developing their own strategies (e.g. pre-reading, annotation, identifying organizational patterns...), and make use of class time to process the reading. There are many creative ways of bringing a text to life for students, and. Imagination is an important part of critical reading and critical thinking. Instructors should cultivate effective reading strategies that students can utilize in diverse academic contexts.


WRITING: Students should learn writing as a process. As teachers, we best serve students by guiding them through a series of writing stages to encompass brainstorming, pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and self-evaluation. Writing activities should help students to comprehend course texts and ideas, and clarify their own thinking in relation to the ideas of others, including course text authors and their peers. Part of this will include personal reflection, but writing activities should also focus on explicit practice of the skills and techniques of academic writing, such as creating thesis statements, organizing coherent paragraphs, using evidence in support of a claim, accurately quoting and citing, analyzing the language and content of others, and so forth. And rather than focusing on stand-alone grammar exercises, we should address sentence-level errors in the context of our students' own writing, and with the goal of enabling them to become independent writers and proofreaders.


Research is a component of all three core transfer-level composition classes: ENGL 1, ENGL 4, and ENGL 7. Students should learn the basics of conducting effective research, which includes: finding sources using library catalogs, academic databases, and search engines; evaluating sources for their relevance, credibility, and quality; integrating and synthesizing multiple sources; and accurately citing sources using standard academic citation styles. In a class, research might be conducted individually or as a group, for a paper or a presentation. Especially in ENGL 1, setting up a library research orientation is recommended. In addition, classroom activities, assignments, and computer lab time should support the development of these skills with explicit instruction and guided practice. 


Collaborative group activities and assignments provide valuable, authentic opportunities to integrate the development of reading, writing, critical thinking, speaking, and listening skills while building community in the classroom. Students teach and learn a great deal from each other; they provide academic and social support in invaluable ways. Smaller activities include group discussions and collaborative paragraph writing; larger stakes assignments can include group essay assignments, group research presentations, and group dramatic performances. Group projects can be conducted in-person, online or in a combination of face-to-face and online collaboration, using technology such as Canvas and Google Docs. 


Students’ academic, professional, and personal lives extend beyond the classroom, and they can face real world challenges that can influence or impede their learning and long-term academic success. As instructors we are often important points of contact between Chabot College and students. We can be access points to help students find and utilize campus resources that can help fulfill their needs. This list is not exhaustive, but it provides quick links to key resources for students so that we can help direct them.

Academic Tutoring and Suppport:

Counseling, Educational, Financial, Social, Health and Other Resources