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ERIC Number: ED548384
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 449
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-0072-7
"It Needs to Be Something I Can Relate To": The Academic Literacy of Community College Basic Skills Students
Pan, Pamela Lidan
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Davis
Through this research project, I aim to address three problems in the instruction of basic skills students. First, despite the large number of students enrolled in community college basic skills programs, the success rate is low. Second, many basic skills courses are taught with drill and memorization, with little attention paid to intellectually stimulating reading, discussion, and writing. Third, many basic skills teachers often need more knowledge on how to make their courses engaging. Studies of community college basic skills students' academic literacy engagement and development are rare. Also, very few studies have examined how multicultural texts written by student writers could assist other students' reading and writing development, especially at the community college level. I conducted a two-semester-long ethnographic study in two basic skills classes taught by the same teacher, Richard, who used multicultural student magazine essays as texts and who employed a wide range of teaching practices. I documented the challenges he faced, the way he met these challenges, and how his students responded to his curriculum and teaching practices. Data included observational field notes, course handouts, school artifacts and other contextual data, 36 audiotaped class proceedings, presemester and postsemester surveys, students' writing samples, more than 20 interviews with the teacher, and over 30 interviews with the focus group and case study students. Analysis of data revealed several dominant themes. The majority of the basic skills students valued reading and writing but lacked self-confidence. They were reluctant readers and writers, and they seldom engaged in social interaction around texts. Richard focused on relevancy in his curriculum design and instruction. He emphasized fostering students' positive feelings about themselves and about school. Most students responded positively to both the texts and his teaching practices. The students valued not only Richard's cognitive competencies but also, more importantly, his affective qualities. Three case study students highlighted the intersection among sociocultural and linguistic backgrounds, identity negotiations, and academic literacy engagement and development. These findings were used to provide implications and recommendations to help basic skills students succeed in college and on possible future research in basic skills students' academic literacy. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A