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ERIC Number: ED284278
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Stranger in Strange Lands: An Ethnographic Study of a College Student Writing in Two Academic Contexts.
McCarthy, Lucille Parkinson
To discover how one student learned to produce writing in different academic contexts, a study documented a Loyola College (Maryland) student's experiences with writing for a poetry class and a biology class during his sophomore year. The subject was interviewed several times, observed, and his voice taped during "writing aloud" sessions as he composed papers, and his papers were analyzed upon return. Results suggested that, because the subject received considerably higher grades in the biology course, he had perceived the requirements and concerns in that course the same way that his instructor had, entering into a successful "written conversation" between instructor and student. His poorer performance in the poetry course appeared partly due to his inability to "figure out" the language of poetry explication. Results also suggested that the subject's success in writing for the biology course depended upon his perceiving the writing as meaningful. The results suggest that, because writing is dependent upon the social context in which it is created, teachers might be wise to understand this and train students to look for contextual cues as to the type of writing they will need to produce, such as (1) a teacher's implicit or explicit instructions about class writing, (2) written texts and models of various sorts, (3) information from other students, (4) a teacher's written and spoken responses to writing attempts, and (5) prior experience. (References and a data collection table included.) (JC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A