Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Gloria Park

Second Advisor

Bennett A. Rafoth

Third Advisor

Curtis Porter

Abstract

This study addresses the language diversity in twenty-first century U.S. college composition classrooms by arguing that composition theory and pedagogy should expand beyond the prescriptive conflation of “the English language” and “Standard American English.” Within the overarching discourses about three major constructs—Humanizing Pedagogy (Bartolomé, 1994), the World Englishes ethos (e.g. Bolton, Graddol, & Meierkord, 2011; Bolton & B. Kachru, 2006), and the harm reduction model (e.g. Denning, 2000; Tatarsky, 1998, 2002, 2003)—the first research question was addressed: (1) In what ways can the harm reduction model be used to support the integration of the World Englishes paradigm into the contemporary composition classroom? Chapter Two, the literature review, constructs a response to this first research question by theorizing Student Centered Englishes Pedagogy (SCEP): five principles that shape a “World Englishes unit” which can be taught in the beginning of any semester-length college composition class. A qualitative case study methodology allowed for exploration of the effects of the SCEP principles as experienced by five former students who had experienced the World Englishes unit. The second of the two research questions drove the case study: (2) How do the five former undergraduate students perceive their language awareness after having taken a section of a first-year composition course that included a World Englishes unit shaped by the principles of Student-Centered Englishes Pedagogy? Data was collected via questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, participants’ additional correspondence with the researcher, and the researcher journal. Five themes emerged from the data through implementation of qualitative content analysis (QCA): (1) Language Awareness as Affecting Social Connections, (2) Language Awareness as Promoting Personal Growth, (3) Language Awareness as Promoting and Problematizing Critical Thinking, (4) Language Awareness as Promoting Cultural Sensitivity, and (5) Language Awareness as Catalyst for Social Change. Developing an understanding of the relationships between the literature that informed the principles of SCEP, the five principles themselves, and the five themes that emerged from the data led to various implications for teaching, curriculum development, professional development, and future research projects that can continue to address the goal of merging the fields of U.S. college composition and World Englishes.

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