Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Patrick Bizzaro, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. David Wallace

Third Advisor

Michael M. Williamson, Ph.D.


Mutuality practice in the composition classroom attempts to create equal subject positions between teachers and students, mitigating the effects of dominant power structures inherent to an authority-driven classroom while showing teachers that their students are fully capable, though fledgling, members of an academic community. Understanding how those mutuality practices create and maintain equal subject positions currently falls under the theoretically broad category of critical pedagogy and requires further study to bridge the gap between theory and practice. This dissertation observed mutuality practices in the composition classroom, specifically those related to classroom dialogue, writing assignments and the ways in which those assignments gathered response, tying those elements together to further theoretical knowledge of why such practices are effective and how they are used to mitigate negative student resistance. Using participant observations, focus groups, brief interviews, course assignments and syllabi, this study has been designed to incorporate feedback from both teachers and students as they cooperatively craft meaning (Wallace & Ewald, 2000) in the composition classroom.