Theses Doctoral

Improvising Roles: Writing Instruction and Provocative Disruption

Tramantano, Adam

How to teach writing is a consistently complex problem in the field of English education. This qualitative narrative research project seeks to further complicate that problem by suggesting, through improvisation theories, two shifts in understanding writing instruction: that texts themselves do not fully constitute the wholeness of the work and thus involve the meanings we ascribe to them (as writers, readers, teachers, and students); that our role as writing instructors is as disruptors and must be improvised (altered, shifted, adjusted) based on the meaning ascribed to the written work by students and teachers. This project explores the following questions:
(1) If texts do not fully constitute the whole of the written work, then how do students and teachers explain and understand what writing is about? This question is addressed in two ways:
(A) How do students understand what their writing is about?
(B) How do I understand what they report to me?
(2) What might it mean to improvise our role in writing instruction? How might student explanations provide the context to improvise our roles as writing instructors?
The participants were three high school seniors. As the sole researcher, I interviewed each of the three participants, two males and one female, over the course of the first semester of their senior year. Through qualitative research, with dimensions of narrative research, this study suggests that provoking crucial disruptions in the students’ writing is an approach to writing instruction that involves dialogue with students, and reflection on practice. It is a collaborative approach between students and teachers. This study further suggests that how we prompt students is crucial to their writing experiences. And, through dialogue with students (which can be conceived of as a form of writing instruction), we can inform, explore, and question when and how we inspire students in their writing. This dissertation proposes that writing instruction is continuously and simultaneously inquiry and practice.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Vinz, Ruth
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 27, 2018