"Good learners, like everyone else, are living, squirming, questioning, perceiving, fearing, loving, and languaging nervous systems, but they are good learners precisely because they believe and do certain things that less effective learners do not believe and do." -Postman and Weingartner (31)
Below I describe some of the research I have worked through–I’ll add updates!
Research on Reflective Writing:
Beginning in Winter 2014, I worked on a research project with Dr. Thomas Trimble analyzing assessment data from Fall 2013 ENG 1020 courses to understand how students inscribe reflective process and metacognition. An article describing our findings from this study is published in Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture (2019).
In my dissertation (“Responsive Classroom Ecologies: Supporting Student Inquiry and Rhetorical Awareness in College Writing Courses,” described below), I recommended the development of a reflective exercise students can work through in the early stages of a writing project to understand what rhetorical, genre, and writing process questions they need to ask. I describe these “rhetorical reflections” and the ways two students in my Fall 2016 class used them in an article published in Composition Forum (2019).
In the Winter and Fall 2014 semesters, Dr. Amy Ann Latawiec and I collected data to research the impact of cross-sequence collaboration and service learning on learning in ENG 1010 and 1020. While the study presents three research questions, the question that shifted to the forefront of our writing work is the third one: How do reflective writing assignments designed to make students think about course learning objectives help them understand the ways in which they find collaboration to be an integral part of achieving the course learning objectives? Our description of this study, and our findings about structuring reflection into courses, was published in Composition Forum (2021).
Research on Teacher Development and Writing Program Administration:
My present research interest is in examining writing programs’ administration of teacher development. I’m working through analysis of three IRB-approved qualitative studies as I develop my book manuscript. I’m excited to share work from this project when it is published.
Research on Mentoring and Peer Mentoring:
Dr. Jule Wallis Thomas and I published a description of our mentoring program in the edited collection Writing Program and Writing Center Collaborations: Transcending Boundaries, edited by Myatt and Gaillet (2017). In the chapter, we describe how we have constructed “new third spaces” for reflective mentoring for graduate teaching assistants.
In 2021, I worked with Dr. Nicole Guinot Varty and Composition Learning Community peer mentors Haley Shier and Michelle Borkosh to study ENG 3010 students’ experiences with peer mentoring in online, learning community sections of the course. Our findings are published in Learning Communities Research and Practice (2021).
Other Research on Teaching and Learning in First-Year Writing Courses:
The majority of my research and presentations fall in this area, so far (I have been teaching “college composition” for my whole career, so that makes sense to me!).
A description of the readings I used in an AY 2019-2020 FYW classroom study is published in the Language Arts Journal of Michigan (2021). In the article, I demonstrate the ways that several students in the study worked with these assigned texts. I’m continuing to work with material from this study, and I look forward to sharing the results!
In the Fall 2012 semester I collected data for my dissertation, “Responsive Classroom Ecologies: Supporting Student Inquiry and Rhetorical Awareness in College Writing Courses” which I completed in Winter 2014. Here is a description of the study:
This dissertation describes and analyzes the work of a semester-long teacher research study of inquiry-based and reflective teaching and learning strategies and their impact on students’ preparation for future learning. I explore relevant scholarship on knowledge transfer, classroom ecologies, and student agency to set the stage for a discussion of several pedagogical strategies implemented to support students’ development of inquiry and responsible rhetorical agency. Data analysis highlights three major arguments: first, that alternative pedagogical approaches like an inquiry approach take careful classroom construction and explicit teacher feedback, though it may seem counterintuitive to the politics behind these progressive approaches, which often de-center teacher authority and privilege student choice; second, that revisions to the first-year composition curriculum at Urban University can better support students’ development of rhetorical identities and responsible agency; and third, that attention to the physical spaces of the classroom is integral to both our studies of transfer and our work with students on the development of rhetorical awareness.
Data collection for the project included field notes, students’ formal and informal writing, and audio tapes of class sessions.
A re-reading of one student’s work in that 2012 FYW class is forthcoming in Fall 2022 (I’ll share the link to the journal, then). I am especially excited about this publication because I spent many years working through what I learned from the case study.