Gabriel Scala has been an educator since 1998 when she accepted her first teaching position as an 8th grade English teacher at Carter G. Woodson Middle School in Hopewell, Virginia. After three years of teaching in secondary education, Gabriel went back to school to pursue graduate degrees in Creative Writing and English. Since 2001, she has taught creative writing in both introductory and genre specific workshop formats, applied, technical and professional writing, and various levels of expository writing – from first-year to advanced composition. Gabriel has also taught a wide variety of literature courses – from sophomore surveys to a graduate level course in Modern poetry – and she has developed and taught special topics courses in creative nonfiction and publishing, among others.
Dr. Scala was awarded the Sallie Mae Teacher of the Year Award her first year teaching as well as successive Outstanding Performance Awards from the Hopewell City School District. She also received the Lawrence “Shaky” Yates Award for Best Composition Instructor from the University of Mississippi and, most recently, the Outstanding Faculty Award for the College of Liberal Arts at Ashford University.
First-Year Writing Courses by Theme:
ENG 101 – Digital Writing [PDF]
ENG 102 – Autobiography: Writers Writing the Self [PDF]
ENG 104 – Education & The Literary Arts [PDF]
ENG 112 – Creative Nonfiction [PDF]
ENG 112 – Academic Argumentation & Panel Presentations [PDF]
Specialized Writing Courses:
ENG 203 – Writing About Literature [PDF]
ENG 250 – Applied Writing [PDF]
ENG 301 – Advanced Expository Writing [PDF]
Creative Writing Courses:
ENG 208 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry & Fiction [PDF]
ENG 235 – Elements of Creative Writing [in development]
ENG 317 – Beginning Poetry Workshop [PDF]
ENG 318 – Creative Writing: Poetry, Fiction & Creative Nonfiction [abbr. online PDF]
ENG 500 – Approaches to Creative Nonfiction – Independent Study [PDF]
EDITING & PUBLISHING COURSES
ENG 1xx – Introduction to Modern Publishing [course proposal] [PDF]
ENG 22x – Literary Magazine Workshop [PDF]
ENG 3xx – Editing Practicum [PDF]
ENG 390 – Creating the Literary Arts Magazine [PDF]
ENG 396 – Print Culture on the Margins [in development]
ENG 396 – Publishing the Lost Generation – 2019-2020 AY Study Abroad [PDF]
ENG 4xx – Publishing Capstone: Entertainment, Art, Politics, Ethics [course proposal] [PDF]
ENG 203 – Introduction to Literature: Short Story and Novel [PDF]
ENG 204 – Introduction to Literature: Poetry and Drama [PDF]
ENG 241 – Survey of American Literature I [PDF]
ENG 323 – African American Literature Survey of the 20th Century [PDF]
ENG 346 – British Literature II [abbr. online PDF]
ENG 514 – Modern Poetry [PDF]
ENG 500 – Approaches to Creative Nonfiction – Independent Study [PDF]
CUR 485 – Teaching of Language Arts in the Secondary School [PDF]
ENG 455 – Young Adult Literature [PDF]
ENG 486 – Senior Seminar in Teaching English in the Secondary School
ENG xxx – Methods of Teaching Writing in the Secondary School [course proposal] [PDF]
ENG xxx – Methods of Teaching Literature in the Secondary School [course proposal] [PDF]
My career as an educator began in an eighth-grade classroom with predominantly African-American students from an economically depressed region. What I learned in that room formed the basis of an educational philosophy that has, with time and continued experience working in and with marginalized communities, evolved into a constructivist approach to a dual-purpose model. I believe in a truly liberal education in which students are actively engaged in the construction of knowledge through discussion, critical analysis, creative production, and academic inquiry. As a teacher of students seeking a liberal arts education, my responsibilities are two-fold: to prepare students with the essential skills needed to become active and effective members of a democratic society (Bagley) and to raise critical consciousness of the position of marginalized communities that is largely determined by race, ethnicity, gender, and class (Giroux).
After three years in the secondary school system, I began teaching freshman composition at Bowling Green State University where a large number of my students were first generation college students from small farming communities in the Ohio region. While the composition classroom is predominantly a skills-based (Bagley), problem-solving (Freire) environment, it also provides opportunities for critical consciousness raising (Giroux). For example, while at Texas A&M University, my students – from Mexican-American children of immigrants to the sons and daughters of cattle ranchers to international students from China, West Africa, South America – brought a rich diversity to our discussions and informed the direction of our course readings that included essays by Richard Rodriguez, Paulo Freire, Mary Louise Pratt, and Richard Miller and centered on a semester-long inquiry into the educational benefits and challenges marginalized communities encounter in the American educational system.
It is at the intersection of essentialism and progressivism that we find the study of literature and see the importance of allowing America’s great diversity to help shape curriculum. The teaching of literary texts lends itself to both the acquisition and practice of skills (reading, writing, and critical analysis) and to the deep, intentional inquiry and discussion that can arise when students are confronted with the “other” in literature. The importance of equitable representation in the literary classroom cannot be overstated. While there is some value in teaching a “great books” curriculum, a Eurocentric approach to literary study serves no one but the established hegemony. If the dual-purposes of education are to teach essential knowledge and skills and to help students become critically conscious of the exploitation of marginalized communities and to become empowered through education, then a curriculum that is truly representative of our nation and our nation’s history must be taught. This is true of both the literature classroom and the creative writing classroom where assignments are varied to incorporate both freedom of expression (critical consciousness) and technical practice (skills-based learning) and multiple revisions are expected.
It is my job to choose materials, texts, and literature that challenge students and allow them the opportunity to grow intellectually in many different directions. One of my responsibilities as their teacher is having a solid basis for choosing the materials and setting the stage for student learning. Once that stage has been set and expectations discussed in general, then my role changes. As a member of any class I teach, I see my role as facilitator of discussion, as one who applies Freire’s problem-posing method of instruction by raising questions – not giving answers or expecting specific responses, but as one who gives more fuel to the fire that I hope the study of literature and writing has started. I believe in allowing students to locate their own intellectual and creative interests and that, through open discussion of a variety of approaches to a text, we can come to see any work of literature in multiple lights, as through a prism, and therefore come to understand ourselves, our society, and our world more intimately.