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ERIC Number: EJ863961
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 40
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 111
ISSN: ISSN-0034-527X
Sharing the Tacit Rhetorical Knowledge of the Literary Scholar: The Effects of Making Disciplinary Conventions Explicit in Undergraduate Writing about Literature Courses
Wilder, Laura; Wolfe, Joanna
Research in the Teaching of English, v44 n2 p170-209 Nov 2009
The ethics and efficacy of explicitly teaching disciplinary discourse conventions to undergraduate students has been hotly debated. This quasi-experimental study seeks to contribute to these debates by focusing on the conventional special "topoi" of literary analysis--conventions that previous Writing in the Disciplines (WID) research indicates are customarily tacitly imparted to literature students. We compare student writing and questionnaires from seven sections of Writing about Literature providing explicit instruction in these disciplinary conventions to those from nine sections taught using traditional methods. We examine whether explicit instruction in disciplinary conventions helps students produce rhetorically effective discourse, whether English professors prefer student discourse that uses these conventions, and whether explicit instruction in disciplinary conventions hampers student expression, enjoyment, and engagement. Five English professors who rated the student essays gave higher ratings to essays that engaged the special "topoi" of their discipline. Furthermore, they significantly preferred the essays written by students who had received explicit instruction in these "topoi." Meanwhile, students who received explicit instruction in the special "topoi" of literary analysis indicated comparable, often higher levels, of engagement, enjoyment, and perceived opportunities for self-expression to those students who experienced the course's traditional pedagogy. These findings suggest several implications for WID instruction and research relating to student and faculty professionalization in higher education. (Contains 6 tables, 4 figures, and 8 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A