Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How sponsors influence students' writing practices in an eighth grade English Language Arts classroom
by Loretto, Adam J., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2015, 199; 3725600
Abstract (Summary)

Writing instruction in schools is taking on increasingly narrow focuses, which reflects reliance on high-stakes standardized tests and standards movements that privilege some forms of writing over others. Researchers in writing have called for studies that connect macro forces influencing the educational environment to the instruction occurring at the classroom level. This study does so by exploring how a teacher sponsors multiple writing literacies across time and how and why students take up those writing practices for their intended uses and in ways that serve their own purposes. I examine the writing instruction of one skilled English Language Arts teacher through the lens of Deborah Brandt’s theory of sponsors of literacy (1998; 2009) and through sociocultural theories of writing (Prior, 2004, 2006; Englert, Mariage, & Dunsmore, 2006) and identity (Davies & Harré, 1999; Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain, 1998; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998). Data drew from a) five months of observations in the classroom across multiple units of instruction marked by multiple writing practices; b) interviews with the teacher before and after the observation period; and c) interviews with five focal students at the end of the observation period. Findings suggest that the teacher’s instruction reflected a variety of sponsors across multiple writing practices. The teacher’s instruction highlighted the skills, values, and purposes associated with sponsored writing practices. Students appropriated some writing practices more than others, and some more faithfully to the intentions of sponsors than others. Students imagined a range of possible uses for the writing practices in which they were sponsored, reflective of their individual literate identities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Godley, Amanda
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Middle School education, Secondary education
Keywords: Literate identities, Middle-level institution, Sponsorship, Writing instruction
Publication Number: 3725600
ISBN: 978-1-339-09956-9
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