Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Writing Instructors as Arbiters of Language Policy
by Slinkard, Jennifer, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2019, 172; 22619406
Abstract (Summary)

This ethnographically-oriented (Blommaert, 2007; Hornberger & Johnson, 2007; Ramanathan & Atkinson, 1999) research project explores the language ideologies, practices, and policies in the Writing Program of Southwestern University, a land-grant institution located in the American Southwest. Following the recent trend in language policy research to consider policy from the bottom up (e.g., Johnson & Johnson, 2015; Shohamy, 2010), I focus on how individuals interpret, operationalize, and develop language policies for students in a foundational writing program. While previous research has considered teachers’ operationalization of language policy in elementary and secondary institutions (Johnson, 2013), and other research has considered the monolingual standard language ideology predominant throughout higher education and writing programs in particular (Horner & Trimbur, 2002; Wiley & Lukes, 1996), relatively little research has looked at connections between writing program administration language policy and individual writing instructor practices. To address this gap, I conducted a year-long ethnographic study of one institution’s writing program, including interviews with instructors and administrators, analysis of policy and other documents, and observations of policy-making meetings. Also included are the stories of two case study instructors I observed and interviewed over the course of the year.

Foundational writing classrooms can be important sites of language policy negotiation, acting as both gateways and gatekeepers to post-secondary education (Bridwell-Bowles, 2007). These classes are often taught by lecturers and graduate students with diverse motivations and purposes, professional experiences, disciplinary backgrounds or training, as well as varying levels of investment and involvement in the program itself. It follows, then, that instructors’ ideologies and classroom practices concerning language and language variety in writing courses will be diverse, especially with regard to users of English as an additional language. With this recognition, my research considers how the development and communication of writing program policies, as well as the policies themselves, influence instructors’ beliefs and classroom practices, while raising questions about the role of writing program administration in the field of language policy and planning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tardy, Christine
Commitee: Brochin, Carol, Combs, Mary Carol, Fielder, Grace
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Second Language Acquisition & Teaching
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sociolinguistics, English as a Second Language, Language arts, Higher education, Education Policy
Keywords: Higher education, Language policy, Writing
Publication Number: 22619406
ISBN: 9781687903150
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