Strictly classroom: Ethnographic case studies of student expectations in first year composition
AuthorRobinson, Michael Anthony
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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.
AbstractEmploying ethnographic and case study research methods, this study attempts to examine student attitudes toward, and senses of purpose about, a first-year college writing course and their roles as students and writers within it. The study argues that students possess clear and highly articulated conceptions of writing classes, of writing's place both within and outside academia, and of themselves as students and writers. These conceptions, like all theories, exhibit both strengths and weaknesses. However, students rarely have the opportunity to engage in dialogue about their views on writing. Because of this, the students in this study generally accommodate themselves to, but compartmentalize, the writing course and the strategies they are exposed to in it. The study suggests, therefore, that writing teachers approach their students not as novices to be corrected concerning the "true" ways of writing, or rejected for their unwillingness to accept these truths. Rather, we should consider writing students an audience to be persuaded to a concept of writing both different from, and similar to, the concepts they already hold. This means that writing teachers must elicit, listen to, and engage with the writing conceptions of their students. Means for fostering this dialogue include having students create narratives of their writing development, asking students to develop mini-ethnographic language projects, and historicizing with and for them standard academic English style.
Degree ProgramGraduate College