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ERIC Number: EJ1138602
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 32
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0143
Academic Socialization: Mentoring New Honors Students in Metadiscourse
Bedetti, Gabriella
Honors in Practice, v13 p109-140 2017
Discussion-based classes are a defining characteristic of honors curricula (National Collegiate Honors Council). Of the 177 institutions to describe their curriculum in the "Official Online Guide to Honors Colleges and Programs," 50% promote their classes as "discussion" or "discussion-based." The descriptions include the following: "Honors Seminars are unique, discussion- based courses" at the University of Minnesota; "Discussion-based seminars... [provide] the highest level of personal attention" at Villanova; and the importance of "Discussion-based courses, where lecturing is avoided" at Western Carolina. I, too, follow a conversational learning model, a "dialogic pedagogy" (Knauer 44), in my honors teaching. Students learn by externalizing their thoughts in debate with others, and helping students improve their abilities to discuss topics is thus a key element of higher education. This study reveals techniques that faculty can use to help students hone their thinking and learn the fine art and skill of effective oral discourse. I facilitated learning and socialized students into academic life by introducing my Succeeding in Honors class to spoken metadiscourse. According to one of its leading researchers, socialization into academic life takes place largely in and through the spoken word (Mauranen, "But Here's"). Students, from the first-year seminar to the thesis defense, are expected to situate their discourse in the larger academic conversation. While the thesis and publications will matter later in an undergraduate's life, new students display the rigor of their thinking in the structure of their spoken language. Independent of course grades, I asked students to use verbal cues to signal agreement, dissension, or return to a previous point. My goal was for students to discern that expert discussion includes metadiscourse, defined as talk about the ongoing talk, and that signaling recognition of others' views, paradoxically, gives greater visibility and clarity to their own points of view. As students found their own contexts to encode new ideas, they used metadiscourse to translate their thought process into language. While both written and oral communication includes metadiscourse, the presence of others makes the deepened inquiry of oral communication a collective responsibility.
National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt Residence Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A