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English Language & Composition – Experienced

Maura Kelly

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maura Kelly earned a B.A. from Catholic University in Washington, DC with a literature major and philosophy minor. Maura’s educational career started in 1991 in Lesotho, Southern Africa, where she served as a volunteer Peace Corps teacher in a rural village, Matelile, for two years. Returning to the US, she was awarded a fellowship at George Washington, DC to earn her M.Ed. While teaching for four years in Prince George’s County, Maryland, she assisted the High School English Reading and Language Arts Supervisor in curriculum development and teacher training, and she was a Pacesetter trainer for the College Board.

Maura joined The American Robert College High School in Istanbul, Turkey in 1999. Robert College opened in 1863 and is the oldest, continuously running American school abroad that graduates the most gifted and motivated students in Turkey. While there she has taught a variety of courses in the English Department: World Literature, Film & Literature, Humanities, AP English Literature, AP English Language and Composition.  Several times, Maura has been an AP English exam reader.

At Robert College, Maura led a department of 30 people as the English Chair for nine years starting in 2011. In the fall of 2020 she took on a new leadership role, that of Dean of Faculty while also staying in the classroom as a teacher of AP Language and Composition. Currently, as Dean of Faculty, Maura is responsible for the recruitment of new faculty, the quality and rigorous standards of teaching practice and curricular planning, as well as the ongoing professional development of educational skills and approaches for 130 faculty members.

Course Description

This workshop is designed for teachers of AP English Language and Composition. We will focus on motivating students by demonstrating ways rhetoric can prepare them not only for the AP Language exam, but for success in all upper-level academic courses, and life itself. Beginning with rhetorical reading strategies and activities, we will explore contemporary units and lessons proven to effectively teach the three main skills required for success in the course: argument, rhetorical analysis, and research (synthesis). Participants will receive several model writing exercises and assessments, including highly accessible models for analyzing the common arguments we encounter in our daily lives. Because AP English Language students need many opportunities to discuss complex texts in multiple genres, participants will gain hands-on experience with rhetorical-reading approaches to non-fiction, literary, and informational texts. We will conduct a simulated reading of recent Free-Response exam questions, and participants will receive full sets of sample student papers along with strategies for using those samples to inform teaching and learning. Please bring a laptop or tablet for immediate access to multiple digital resources.

Workshop Goals:

  • To identify and apply the standards of the AP English Language and Composition exam to classroom practices
  • To explore and develop effective AP Language units, lessons, and syllabi
  • To expand participants’ repertoire of successful instructional strategies 
  • To explore online resources such as AP Classroom and AP Daily
  • To develop a network of valuable colleagues
  • To promote the cross-disciplinary benefits of AP Language curriculum


Day 1
  • The Art of Conversation
  • Course and Exam Description
  • Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access
  • Exam Overview
  • Course Design
  • AP Classroom and AP Daily
Day 2
  • Rhetorical Analysis
  • Reading Rhetorically
  • Connecting Reading to Writing
  • Teaching Literary Texts Rhetorically
  • AP Rhetorical Analysis Essay Question 
  • Mock Scoring Calibration
Day 3
  • Argument
  • Writing Rhetorically
  • Process Writing Toolbox
  • AP Argument Essay Question
  • Practice Essay Scoring
  • Multiple-Choice Strategies
Day 4
  • Synthesis
  • Forming a Well-Considered Perspective and Entering the Conversation
  • AP Synthesis Essay Question
  • Syllabus Building
  • Authentic, Efficient Assessment
  • Cross-Curricular Value of AP Lang
  • Evaluations