ERIC Number: ED345233
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: 0
A Community of Composition Theorists and Researchers: Collaborative Research and Theory Building in an Advanced Composition Course.
An advanced composition curriculum was designed for a class of 20 juniors and seniors, and because of the constraints of a university grant with which it was associated, the majority of assignments had to be collaborative. The subject of investigation was composition. That is, the students were challenged to do what composition researchers and theorists do: investigate the nature of written discourse and build theories from the investigation. The course began with individual students writing their own case histories which discussed how the student actually goes about composing a text. Next, after being assigned to groups, the students read and discussed the papers and began their collaborative research. A great deal of self-reflexiveness is built into this model, since students must investigate a crucial component of their intellectual development. Furthermore, students must engage in dialogue about language and must write about writing; consequently, they are immersed in a high level of metalanguage. Students' findings indicate: (1) that no consistent composing process is employed by any of the students, and whatever process is employed is inextricably tied to its efficacy in attaining an acceptable grade; (2) that many continue to procrastinate and rely on "all-nighters" at the computer; and (3) that there is a correlation between interest in the course and the amount of effort expended in writing. The value of collaborative research on composition is threefold: (1) having students investigate their writing practices provides context for the advanced composition course; (2) by placing their work in the context of research students share the authority for creating knowledge; and (3) through engaging in a process of "reflective practice" students are examining their discourse from a heightened perspective, and hopefully using their research as an impetus for change. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Composition Theory; English Teachers
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).