Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Diane Belcher

Second Advisor

Stephanie Lindemann

Third Advisor

John Murphy

Fourth Advisor

Alan Hirvela

Abstract

Although many aspects of English as a second language (ESL) academic writing instruction have been well researched, Leki, Cumming, and Silva (2008) note that, "There have been surprisingly few research-based descriptions of L2 writing classroom instruction" (p. 80). Although research related to the use of critical and feminist pedagogy in ESL is increasing, Kumaradivelu (2006) notices that it is still not clear how the critical awakening “…has actually changed the practice of everyday teaching and teacher preparation” (p. 76). The purpose of this study was to provide an individual response to the gaps identified by both sets of authors by investigating how critical and feminist theories could be utilized to develop an orientation to interactions in the everyday practices of an ESL academic writing classroom. In order to achieve this purpose, an autoethnographic study of an eight-week ESL academic writing course in an Intensive English Program (IEP) was conducted. The participants in this study included the teacher-researcher and seven learners. The data collected included the following: lesson plans, instructional materials, teacher field notes, teacher reflexive journal, transcripts of everyday class interactions, transcripts of multiple interviews with learners, learner written reflections, and learners’ written assignments for the course. Analysis of findings revealed that the critical and feminist theories selected for the course were realized even though there were some internal and external obstacles. Learners experienced positive shifts in their feelings about the topic of academic writing and their own abilities as academic writers. Learners’ written texts also reflected positive shifts with respect to the teacher’s goals for learners. These findings suggest that critical and feminist theories can be enacted in everyday classrooms and can be helpful with regard to improving teachers’ and learners’ experiences of everyday ESL academic writing classrooms.

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