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ERIC Number: ED374418
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Dec
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Tone and Role: From "Participant" Stance to the "Spectator" Stance in the Writing of African American College Composition Students.
Blumenthal, Anna; Hildenbrand, Joan
An unconventional writing activity like correspondence between students can, under favorable social circumstances, encourage some college composition students to discover and employ literate, or decontextualized, writing strategies. The African American student will often write, to borrow James Britton's terms, from the standpoint of the "participant" rather than the "spectator"; that is, he or she will write in an immediate, choppy style, without due regard for the reader, rather than in a more complex syntactical structure intended to make reading easier for his or her reader. A study of 12 college writers at a historically Black college exchanging letters with high school students of the same race and socio-economic background showed that students moved naturally from the participant stance to the spectator stance under the right conditions. The participants in the study broke down into basically two groups: those who experimented with the social roles they adopted in their letter writing and those who did not. The former group moved gradually toward the spectator stance regardless of the quality of their relationship with their correspondent. The latter group, however, moved toward the spectator stance only to the extent that their relationship with their correspondent remained positive. A case study of one student suggests further that for at least some students experimentation with social roles helps them move toward the spectator stance. (Contains two tables, two graphs, and copies of student letters.) (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A