Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nancy Hayward, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Linda Norris, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.


This multiple case study investigates the learning processes of postsecondary English literature graduates who teach composition to diverse student groups. Since the context of study in English literature graduate programs concentrates on literature and literary theory, the interest of this study examines how teachers learn to teach composition with little preparation or training. Three southeastern universities were chosen as investigative sites which provided a sample of diverse teachers and students. By examining six English literature graduates with a variety of teaching and learning experiences, this study answered questions concerning how, what, and why knowledge was constructed for teaching composition. This study also uncovered methods teachers use to teach composition. The results showed that participants learned to teach composition while teaching "on-the-job" through self-directed venues, involving reflective, collaborative and experiential means. The conclusion revealed that participants were underprepared when they began teaching and required support for assessing, managing, and teaching diverse student groups.