Understanding Writing: Community College Faculty Conceptualizations of Disciplinary Writing across Texas
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This dissertation presents a study designed to uncover instructors’ understandings of disciplinary writing in order to understand how their conceptualizations may hinder or support students’ development as successful writers across disciplines. Data sources included surveys, where instructors answered open response questions and constructed analogies about disciplinary writing, and a series of semi-structured focus groups and interviews with key informants. Data analysis included content analysis to identify the contexts surrounding instructors’ discussions of disciplinary writing, discourse analysis to elucidate instructors’ personal conceptualizations about disciplinary writing, and metaphor analysis to illuminate the analogical expressions instructors used to make sense of disciplinary writing. Analyses revealed that instructors not only held wide-ranging conceptualizations of disciplinary writing, but also that when instructors’ conceptualizations were grouped together by field, conceptual mismatches of disciplinary writing were uncovered within and between disciplines, within and between fields, and even within and between content-area courses and literacy courses. The findings suggest that instructors’ conceptualizations about the purposes, descriptions, and values of disciplinary writing are embedded within unconscious and conscious understandings of the nature of each discipline, as well as within instructors’ understandings of their responsibility to the teaching of writing.