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Trinary collaborations in first-year composition : a mixed methods study of the University of Hawaiʻi Writing Mentors Program

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Item Summary

Title: Trinary collaborations in first-year composition : a mixed methods study of the University of Hawaiʻi Writing Mentors Program
Authors: Bruland, Holly Huff
Keywords: first-year composition
writing mentors
writing fellows
mixed methods
place-based composition
show 1 morewriting program administration
show less
Issue Date: Dec 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
Abstract: This dissertation presents research conducted across one hundred sections of First-Year Composition (FYC) that were part of the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa Writing Mentors Program. In contrast to the usual teacher-student binary configuration of FYC, these sections were configured according to a trinary model consisting of three distinct classroom actors: an instructor, first-year students, and a "writing mentor-researcher." Writing mentor researchers, who were generally MA students in English, attended class as participant-observers and held an average of four writing conferences with each student outside of class, documenting these interactions in standardized conference logs and reflecting upon challenges, successes, and evolving roles in weekly memos. This IRB-approved study draws upon (a) auto-ethnographic fieldnotes taken across four years of program workshops and bi-weekly mentor roundtables; (b) 6,602 conference logs; (c) 653 weekly memos; (d) 89 anonymous end-of-semester program evaluations by mentors; (e) 1,452 anonymous end-of-semester evaluations by students; (f) 133 end-of-semester evaluations by instructors; (g) five participant check roundtable discussions with mentors who read chapter drafts; (h) a large-scale writing assessment comparing scores from binary and trinary FYC sections; (i) demographic surveys of mentors and instructors; and (h) institutional records. Combining qualitative codings of participant discourse with quantitative renderings of programmatic data, this mixed-methods study analyzes the enormous range of roles writing mentors performed in relation to students, instructors, WPAs, the institution, and Hawaiʻi. Drawing upon theories of performance and spatial composition, I argue that while trinary configurations present challenges to WPAs and classroom participants, they also help first-year students to write more effectively, introduce new performative possibilities to FYC; reveal the classroom mise-en-scène to be a paradoxical rather than transparent space; extend the teaching and learning that occurs in FYC across campus; support students' transitions to college by orienting them to academic and cultural facets of performing in the university; offer rich avenues for preparing future composition teachers; provide the profession with researchers who are privy to both student and instructor performances available to few other researchers; and present a compelling counter-model to the short-term "efficiency" approaches that increasingly characterize national scenes of FYC specifically and higher education more broadly.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - English

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