Negotiation in Entering Spaces: Teaching and Learning in a Disciplinary Writing Course
Winzenried, Misty Anne
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This dissertation explores the reciprocal nature of teaching and learning in a disciplinary writing course on a university campus. The study draws on qualitative, ethnographic case study methodology to examine how an instructor and teaching assistants in a junior-level geography course taught the discipline’s writing practices, genres, and epistemologies, and how students in the course took up that disciplinary writing knowledge. Using Rhetorical Genre Studies, Wenger’s (1998) theory of brokering, and Gee’s (2011) concept of Discourses, I demonstrate how the instructor positioned the course content, learning goals, and discipline in order to give students access to the knowledge production practices of geography. First, I found that the primary genre of the course—the literature review—functioned to mediate this course objective of critical consciousness rather than mediating students’ entry into the discipline of geography. Second, I found that the genre in this classroom came into being in four distinct ways through the brokering practices of the instructor and teaching assistants. Third, through an examination of representations of the genre in instructors’ and students’ talk, I found that while students were frequently conversant in the genre’s characteristics, they at times struggled to enact the particular rhetorical moves that signaled to their instructors that they had taken up the genre successfully. Overall, this dissertation provides a theoretically grounded framework for understanding how meaning is co-constructed in the entering spaces of a disciplinary writing classroom. By examining a class that was positioned by the instructor as an opportunity to understand knowledge production in the academy, this study extends conversations about critically conscious genre pedagogy to pose new possibilities for how disciplinary writing and research courses might be designed as opportunities for raising students’ critical consciousness.
- Education - Seattle