Date of Award

5-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Michael M. Williamson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laurel J. Black, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jerry G. Gebhard, Ed.D.

Abstract

This teacher research study documents the attempts of a college writing teacher to use response-oriented, student-centered pedagogy as a means of providing practical learning experiences for his students while simultaneously providing a practical professional development opportunity for himself. In pursuit of this goal, the teacher promoted a dialogue with the students that sought to engender their sense of engagement in the class while simultaneously encouraging their criticism and analysis of the teacher’s practice. By assuming the role of learner in the classroom, the teacher also sought to model the inquisitory behavior he expected of his students in their own self-reflective writings. In order to preserve the primary function of the classroom–the students’ education–the research methodology employed in this study included only those data collection tools that promoted students’ learning opportunities. Student and teacher journals, student-teacher conferences, and student secretaries were utilized to gather information that promoted both students’ educational opportunities as well as the teachers’ understanding of the efficacy of his practice. The results of this pedagogically-based research methodology were illuminating for the teacher, as he learned about the merits and shortcomings of his classroom practice from the perspectives of his students. This provided the teacher a level of trustworthiness in his ultimate analysis of his teaching that would have been impossible to achieve had his source of critical analysis been from his perspective alone. By welcoming his students’ regular assessment of his practice, the teacher also supported the development of an interpersonally connected classroom community, which, in turn, made his student-centered writing workshop-style class more productive.

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