Cheryl Chaffin MFA, Ph.D.
BA, MFA Writing, Ph.D. Humanities
With Cabrillo College since 2002
Cheryl's course schedule
English 1A College Composition 96084 Canvas Online
English 1A College Composition 96068 Hybrid (includes both Canvas online for 1h 20m each week and face-to-face class Th 11:10-12:30 in 317 Aptos)
English 2: Critical Thinking 96136 MW 9:30-10:50 in 317 Aptos
English 100: Elements of Writing 95999 MW 8:00-9:20 in 317 Aptos
English 100 Course Focus:
This pre-transfer level writing course focuses on how writers employ personal life narratives to shape critique of social and political circumstances. In preparation for transfer-level college courses that require academic papers, we examine the ways in which writers use language and thought to convey ideas for social change through exploring the material of their lives. 1) We will begin our class with a personal response to your reading and writing experience after reading Stephen King’s “Reading to Write.” 2) You will compose a narrative or a critical examination of an author’s narrative that examines the larger social, even political, implications of personal experience. In our textbook, 50 Essays, you will read narrative essays by Sherman Alexie, Frederick Douglas, Audre Lorde, Richard Rodriguez, and Maxine Hong Kingston. 3) We will continue in 50 Essays, reading historical declarative documents authored by Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Martin Luther King. From these readings you will craft a social analysis paper that examines how activists have argued for change. 4) We will also read a memoir by Jimmy Santiago Baca, A Place to Stand (2001). Baca’s narrative allows us to explore social issues and to examine what it means to write and to make statements/claims from memory and from life material. Simultaneously, we will also read Baca’s poems in Immigrants in Our Own Land (1977) to compliment our discussions and writing on his memoir of becoming a poet through his difficult years in prison. There will be a thematic essay on Baca’s memoir and an essay exam on Baca’s poetry. 6) Finally, you will choose from two of the three papers you've composed, extending your ideas and adding to your themes, in creating a final portfolio project.
English 1A Course Focus:
This transfer level writing course focuses on how writers use stories and essays to reflect on, explore, and critique life experiences and issues from personal, cultural, social, and political viewpoints. We examine the ways writers, in exploring the material of their lives and the environments and conditions they encounter, use language to convey stories, arguments, and original ideas. You will read a number of shorter essays in this course, as well as one book-length work, Wild by Cheryl Strayed (2012). In response to your reading, you will author three papers and a final research paper. You will also post a research presentation for fellow students. Study hard, organize, focus, and self-motivate and you will successfully complete this writing course by our final paper due date. I teach this course in classroom, online, and hybrid formats, depending on the semester.
English 2 Course Focus:
This course is on the writer as thinker. That means both the published writers we will read as well as each student as a burgeoning writer, thinker, critic! In the first part of the course we will study forms of argumentation and rhetorical analysis. The readings for the rhetorical section of the course are provided as (electronic) PDF documents in the Canvas classroom. Please download or view the documents online. I’ve also given you a choice of two articles from which to choose for your first rhetorical analysis paper. Second, we examine autobiographical essays in Readings for Writers: Critical Thought, Ethics, and Autobiography (custom course reader available only at the college bookstore on the Aptos campus), focusing on how the writer uses narrative as a mode of critical thinking. We’ll observe the linkages between creative and critical thinking, and analyze how writers build convincing, thoughtful, rational, even poetic (metaphorical), arguments in their work. Third, students will read Italian Jewish writer Primo Levi’s autobiographical Survival in Auschwitz. In his account, authored in 1946 and successfully published in 1958, the author examines what it means to be human given the existence of and his experience in the World War II German death and labor camps of the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Monowitz camp compounds. As the course concludes, student writers will complete a final thematic paper and short exam.