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The Surround and the Assignment: Thesis Defense

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Jessica Hill

on 27 March 2013

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Transcript of The Surround and the Assignment: Thesis Defense

THE DIALECTIC OF THE SURROUND & THE ASSIGNMENT:
THE ROLE OF IDENTITY, POWER, & PHILOSOPHY IN FIRST YEAR WRITING ASSIGNMENTS Jessica Hill
Thesis Defense, Master of Arts in English
UNC Charlotte
2013 Student's Perspective MEANING IS A NEGOTIATION, NOT A DIRECT TRANSFERENCE FROM MIND TO MIND THE PROBLEM: MISCOMMUNICATION EXISTS BETWEEN FYW TEACHERS AND THEIR STUDENTS ABOUT CLASS WRITING ASSIGNMENTS TWO TEACHERS IN THE SAME
FIRST YEAR WRITING PROGRAM ONE STUDENT FOR EACH TEACHER Mediating Means
and Tools Rules Object(ive) Outcome Subject(s) Community Division of Labor Papers, conferences, class activities, and writing options Successful Writing Future Conversations; Assignment Guidelines,
and Writing Abilities Polished product
worthy of a high grade Institutional Capital (grades) Allison, Anna and Class A Assignment Guidelines, Class Discussions, and Conferences Demonstrating Knowledge of course Content Institutional Capital (grades) Student
Brian Discussion and Talk, Conferences, Writing, Class Activities, Peer Workshop Critical, Inquiring,
Argumentative Students Critical Students Capable of Gaining Access to Multiple Discourses Teacher Betsy STUDENT ALLISON IDENTITY Allison's writerly identity seems closely linked with her ability to use Standard Written English and to tackle difficult writing projects She Isolates her institutional identity as student from her personal life no mention of outside use or transfer "I don't enjoy writing
about myself" "my project doesn't
need any editing
to fit the guidelines" "The easiest parts
for me are spelling
and grammar" "I think she expects a well written paper and that's what I've done" Teacher Anna IDENTITY Anna presents herself as a supportive guide She questions her own authority by:
A). providing options for her students and
B). by referencing other sites of authority to support her practices “I had done that [activity] in Tony Scott’s class,” "That's a Writing Project activity" joined a committee to learn about the
assignments for each course "They might not be comfortable with what I’m asking them to do" "Let's do it in steps" students have options about topics and formats for their paper The class brainstorms lists of literacy types in order to provide additional topic options The full sequence of their first writing assignment: Literacy
Teacher's Perspective Student's Perspective A B C A F D B F D A C + FULL SEQUENCE OF THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT:
A PERSONAL LITERACY PROJECT PARTICIPANTS ACTIVITY THEORY Goals
&
Values Identity
&
Power Institutional structure STUDENT ALLISON -- GOALS AND VALUES -- working towards a product in the present Exchange Value Allison, Anna
& Class A -- GOALS AND VALUES -- TEACHER ANNA Critical and Thoughtful
Student Composers goal based on use value and development working towards the future -- GOALS AND VALUES -- TEACHER BETSY Use Standard Written English,
follow your teacher's guidelines,
and work hard ENGL 1103
UNCC Campus Anna creates the class structure,
assigns work, conferences, and
provides feedback

Allison writes and revises based on her
understanding of the class structure, and
Anna's guidance.

Anna evaluates Allison's assimilation
into the classroom structure IDENTITY AND POWER INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE and EXPECTATIONS “It can’t just be a really great story, you need to add that layer of analysis.” focus on continuing development use value “I’m probably not going to have this little chat about what literacy is with my friends,” focus on exchange value STUDENT ALLISON'S PERSPECTIVE Assign a literacy project, be thoughtful and well-researched, respect authority, options give people power ENGL 1103
UNCC Campus Anna provides guidelines, options, and support

Allison writes and revises based on Anna's help, peer feedback, and her own ideas

Anna evaluates Allison's ability to produce thoughtful
and skilled work IDENTITY AND POWER TEACHER ANNA'S PERSPECTIVE IDENTITY AND POWER TEACHER BETSY'S PERSPECTIVE IDENTITY AND POWER STUDENT BRIAN'S PERSPECTIVE Knowledge of discourses enables membership, students must complete common assignments, know the curriculum, argumentation provides power ENGL 1103
UNCC Campus Betsy provides conversation for critical development, assigns papers, and provides feedback

Brian talks, writes, and revises based on his own ideas, peer feedback, and Betsy's guidance

Betsy evaluates Brian's ability to argue and discuss his own ideas Follow your teacher's guidelines, balance your time, write only what you must ENGL 1103
UNCC Campus Betsy creates a class structure, assigns work, conferences, and provides feedback

Brian writes and revises based on Betsy's structure

Betsy evaluates Brian's assimilation into the classroom structure CASE STUDY A:
Student Allison meets continually with her teacher Anna, solicits feedback, reports that all is well.
Allison receives a 94% on her revised paper and is frustrated that Anna's guidance didn't lead her to a 100% = CASE STUDY A: TEACHER ANNA AND STUDENT ALLISON
CASE STUDY B: TEACHER BETSY AND STUDENT BRIAN CASE STUDY B:
Student Brian sees options and choices in the drafting guidelines form Betsy, just as she intends.
When Brian receives feedback, he takes every comment as a required change, despite Anna's intention of further possibilities and decisions -- GOALS AND VALUES -- STUDENT BRIAN "the paper we write is kind of the test to tie in what we’ve been talking about in class.” “I always think that there’s room for improvement and revision,” “I want them to think beyond just what they were handed in class, to be able to push against the ideas in class and help their thinking, whether they are agreeing or disagreeing with it.” “it’s something tangible that you can use or fight with or do whatever you need with it.” “I don’t feel comfortable saying that I provided them with a process.” IDENTITY TEACHER BETSY “I want to be seen as a person and not that figurehead who is just that scary red pen,” Betsy paints herself as a teacher with realistic goals, someone whose job it is to help her students find their own voices, not to stifle their voices. She focuses on what her students think, and feels that her graduate studies have trained her specifically to teach under the current curriculum. “I guess [I was] specifically schooled to be able to teach in this particular program.” “I don’t want to ask them too many questions just to get the answer that I was looking for.”
Like Anna, she is concerned with her own authority and focuses on what her students think and say. IDENTITY Student Brian Brian characterizes himself as a B-Student. He believes he is capable of receiving higher grades, but balances his time between school, work, and personal life Brian doesn't think he's a very good writer, but he expresses confidence in his ability to read the assignment sheet and accomplish standard school work “I’m...I’m not a good writer....just writing in general was not...it’s just hard for me.” " [the paper] wasn't that bad” "I thought I'd get a "B" and that's what I got" Here . . . is more of a command statement, whereas this one says ‘you might also ask questions.’” Myth of improvement

Magical thinking

Zones of Proximal Development Gate Keepers

Exchange System

FY Program as Foundational Skills Instruction
Teacher's Perspective Student's Perspective A B C F D B F D A C student's
expectations teacher's goals COMMUNICATION IS REACHING ACROSS FRAMES OF THINKING More complicated than a simple set of fixes like better instructions These teachers attempt to negotiate the goals and values of the institution, the program, and their own philosophies, with the needs and expectations of their students
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