Employing Agency: Multiple Perspectives of Material Conditions, Power, and Literacy in a First Year Writing Program
1 online resource (216 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The purpose of this study is to examine how first year writing teachers' histories and experiences affect teacher agency negotiation in their classrooms. Five qualitative case studies of first year writing instructors are used to discuss the impact of external constraints (institutional and curricular values, material conditions, perceptions of writing teachers and the field of rhetoric/composition, etc.) on classroom operations and practices. Using positioning theory as an analytical tool, this study presents an analysis of how these teachers talk about their positions within academia. Focusing on particular discussions of agency negotiation in the classroom and in their working environments, these teachers expose contradictory feelings about several aspects of their jobs, demonstrating resistance towards the material conditions of teaching college composition and the educational system at large. These instructors focus on agency in their classroom because they have a sense of control over their practices, yet they want to appear as if they are not overtly authoritative. These instructors also show resistance to more formalist or traditional conceptions of what defines an "English teacher" and prefer to be seen as progressive and/or critical in their stance towards education in general and teaching writing in particular. Results from this study can be used to facilitate discussion about how working conditions affect the teaching of writing. Recognizing and understanding multiple teacher voices and perspectives creates a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be a writing teacher in higher education today.
FIRST YEAR WRITINGPOSITIONING THEORYTEACHER AGENCY
Curriculum & Instruction
Brannon, LilDavis, BoydKissel, Brian
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2014.
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