Negotiating Transitions: A Genre-Based Study of Writing Opportunities Across High School and College
AdvisorTardy, Christine M.
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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, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is an ethnographically-oriented, 18-month study of four Latinx students’ experiences across the high school to college writing transition. It contributes to a growing body of empirical research in writing studies that seeks to better understand the school writing experiences of students from historically underrepresented populations in order to intervene in inequitable education structures. Building from sociocultural theories of literacy, genre, and learning, I develop a methodology that considers a student’s academic writing development in terms of their opportunities to explore various genres and related disciplinary practices and identities. Drawing from monthly interviews with students, interviews with select instructors and administrators, and student-written texts and course materials from English Language Arts, composition, and general education courses, I explore these students’ writing opportunities from three perspectives: 1) a comprehensive genre analysis of the four students’ high school to college writing transition; 2) in-depth “text histories” of two students’ writing tasks in General Education; and 3) a longitudinal case study of one student’s writing and self-efficacy over a two-year period. My analysis demonstrates the predominance of the rhetorically narrow “school essay” writing task and the limited opportunities for the participating students to learn in practice and contribute to knowledge production in school contexts. I show how the student writers are often sequestered from communities of practice and are consistently positioned as knowledge-tellers under examination. This positioning often constrains student abilities to take on new identities and engage in the knowledge-producing practices of thinkers and practitioners in the field. This project illuminates the ways student writing opportunities are imbricated in broader education ecologies and offers recommendations for how educational institutions may better support students from underrepresented populations. I argue for a culturally sustaining future for school-based writing in high school and lower-division courses that positions students as contributors to public discussion rather than novices in academic fields, engages student in participatory learning contexts around issues that matter to them and their communities, and supports and rewards teachers for providing the academic and interpersonal support needed to sustain college writing success.
Degree ProgramGraduate College