April 18, 2011

Blog #12: Revisiting Our Research Journey

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:01 pm by Jennifer Lynch

We began this semester with a look at a longitudinal study by Rebekah Nathan called My Freshman Year. This was, by far, my favorite book because I walked away a more compassionate teacher, and when a composition research ethnographic study can do that, it is powerful!  I have an understanding previously not held that students must “manage” their professors in order to survive the demands of our economy and their educational journey. Nathan’s book really forced me to rethink not only my teaching methodologies, but also my research methodologies as well. Who would consider a bulletin board, a student’s message board on a door or tid bits of conversation heard through the bathroom door rhetorically worthy of research consideration?  – love it!  

I was also very enlightened by the reading Lee Ann Carroll’s Rehearsing New Roles: How College Students Develop as Writers because it made me appreciate the developmentally winding road that most college students writers encounter. Rather than focus on grammatical considerations, our writing programs should focus more on helping student’s find information, read difficult material, and interpret academic texts.

I also enjoyed Katherine Sohn’s Whistlin’ and Crowin’ Women of Appalachia because it showed the softer side of composition research studies. I found her story of these women inspiring as they courageously confronted their fears and moved toward a better life for themselves and their famlies. This study made me think of the of all the minority women’s groups and voices (inner city women, women with disabilities, homeless women) that could be studied in a similar manner.

Finally, I felt that Howard Tinberg and Jean-Paul Nadeau’s book, The Community College Writer helped to focus on the importance of effective assignment design, modeling success and a focus on process pedagogy.  

Overall, I enjoyed my journey through composition research studies. I certainly walk away with an appreciation of what we do not know . . . still. . . and how many questions are left to be answered by the researchers that follow. May we all stand on the shoulders of greatness!


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