Term of Award

Winter 2003

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Delores D. Liston

Committee Member 1

Lori E. Amy

Committee Member 2

Michael T. Moore

Committee Member 3

Deborah M. Thomas

Abstract

The world of the 21st century is vastly different from that of a century or even a decade ago. Yet the pedagogy of college writing classrooms has been slow to reflect societal change. What contributions can feminist theory and postmodern theory make to the field of college composition? If specific elements of such theorizing are infused into a first year writing class, what effects, if any, will be observed in the teacher and in the students? These are the questions that guided this research project.

The data I collected included my daily teaching diary, journal entries the students wrote, student essays, my notes from interviews with five case study participants, end-of term student portfolios, and students' evaluations of the course. Analysis of this data indicated that a college composition classroom influenced by feminist postmodern theory produced both gains and loses. A majority of students showed an increased appreciation for language and for the diversity of people. A strong sense of community formed in the class. This pedagogy also provided opportunities for students to produce writing which they found meaningful and the academy valued. The concept of voice as the expression of one's essential self was called into question. This pedagogy resulted in the instructor's loss of familiarity with teaching. In both teacher and students, an awareness of relativism, ambiguity, situatedness, and disequilibrium came to replace prior feelings of orderliness, clarity, and surety.

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