Critical issues of English teaching in the two-year college: An ethnographic journey
AuthorSpeer, Thomas M.
KeywordsEducation, Community College.
Education, Language and Literature.
Language, Rhetoric and Composition.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis qualitative study focuses on critical issues that surround English teaching in the two-year college. From the results of interviews with and observations of 24 two-year college English Instructors in five western states as well as a broader survey questionnaire, I examine the following issues: the reliance on part-time instructors in the two-year college; the continued hold of conventional grammar instruction; the lack of relevance of much of the graduate work that two-year college English instructors have undertaken; the "gap" between two-year college English instructors and the larger discipline of English studies; the weak academic culture of the two-year college; issues surrounding writing assessment; the critical attitudes of instructors toward the research and writing that appears in journals of rhetoric and composition; the lack of motivation for scholarship and writing among two-year college writing instructors; and the institutional constraints on two-year college English instructors. After presenting some history and commentary on the community college, I discuss the methodology of the research. In the dissertation I profile fourteen of the 24 teachers I interviewed, chosen partly because they are representative in terms of demographic factors, partly because they have distinctive, individual "voices." I present the study results as a narrative of my research, beginning with the interviews of part-time "freeway flyers" teaching at four colleges in Southern California. I then describe my interviews in Oregon, at two colleges in Idaho, at one college in Utah, and finally at two colleges in my home state, Arizona. Beginning with the perceived "gap" between writing instructors in two-year colleges and the broader scholarly discipline, the dissertation examines the institutional constraints that contribute to the isolation, alienation, and "burnout" felt by many community college instructors. In my final chapter I review the research and suggest ways in which college English departments can address the "gap" between them and the larger discipline and ways in which departments can work together as a team rather than as isolated individuals in order to create a more collegial and productive learning environment.
Degree ProgramGraduate College