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Accessing Academic Discourse: The Influence of First-Year Composition Students’ Prior Genre Knowledge University of Tennessee Mary Jo Reiff * Bill Doyle.

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Presentation on theme: "Accessing Academic Discourse: The Influence of First-Year Composition Students’ Prior Genre Knowledge University of Tennessee Mary Jo Reiff * Bill Doyle."— Presentation transcript:

1 Accessing Academic Discourse: The Influence of First-Year Composition Students’ Prior Genre Knowledge University of Tennessee Mary Jo Reiff * Bill Doyle University of Washington Anis Bawarshi * Cathryn Cabral Sergio Casillas Rachel Goldberg Jennifer Halpin Megan Kelly Melanie Kill Shannon Mondor Angela Rounsaville * Indicates presenter

2 Main Research Questions What genres (written, oral, digital) do students already know when they arrive in first-year composition courses? How do students use their prior genre knowledge when writing new genres for first-year composition courses? What factors contribute to how and why students transform prior genre knowledge into new genre knowledge? To what extent does this prior knowledge help or hinder students’ ability to gain access to academic discourse?

3 Sub-Research Questions What genres do study students write most frequently? What genres do students write most in different domains (school, work, other)? What genres overlap domains the most? What kinds of writing do students most/least enjoy, and why? What do students consider their most/least successful writing, and why? What prior writing experiences do students think will most help them succeed in FYC?

4 Sub-Research Questions (con’t) What genres and/or strategies did students report being reminded of for the Preliminary/Diagnostic essay? What genres and/or strategies did students report using when writing the Preliminary/Diagnostic essay? What genres and/or strategies did students report being reminded of for the first Major paper? What genres and/or strategies did students report using when writing the first Major paper?

5 UT Student Sample Surveys distributed to 10% of all English 101: Composition I courses (Fall 2006) or 12 randomly selected sections of 101 (N=276) Number of students responding to the survey: 52 Follow-up interviews with 9 students UW Student Sample Surveys distributed to all students enrolled in 33 sections English 131: Expository Writing (Fall 2006) (N=748) Number of students responding to the survey: 64 Follow-up interviews with 18 students

6 UT Survey: What genres do students write most frequently ? Text Messaging 1 Spoken Word 3 Analytic Essays4 Creative Writing5 Research Paper6 Classroom Discussion7 Personal Essay Summary Chat Student Self-Report 1 Reports 2 Research Papers 3 Text Messaging 4 Instant Messaging 5 Summary 6 Personal Essay 7 Notes on Reading 8 Letters9 Chat 10 Genre List Tie in ranking

7 UW Survey: Genre Frequency Genre % of Respondents who wrote genre in any context Genre% of Respondents who wrote genre in any context five-paragraph essay95% 94% lab write-up/report92% lecture notes92% compare/contrast paper91% argumentative essay89% informal presentation89% formal presention89% literary analysis84% instant messaging84% research paper83% book report81% opinion/position paper81% Powerpoint80% analysis of acad. essays77% reading notes77% social networking profile77% personal letter75% fiction73% creative nonfiction72% poetry 72% freewriting72% resume72% text messaging69% summary69% journal writing69% description66% evaluation paper64% speech64% personal narrative59% blog or online journal 52% storytelling50% business letter50% online discussion board42% newspaper article41% blog or online journal38% song lyrics34% letter to the editor27% web page text27% web page design25%

8 Genre by Individual Domains instant messaging personal letter text messaging blog or online journal commenting online discussion board fiction creative nonfiction poetry spoken word song lyrics five-paragraph essay lab write-up/report compare and contrast paper argumentative essay literary analysis research paper book report opinion/position paper analysis of academic essay(s)/article(s) summary description evaluation paper personal narrative lecture notes reading notes freewriting journal writing informal presentation formal presention speech storytelling Powerpoint presentation resume business letter newspaper article social networking profile blog or online journal letter to the editor web page text web page design Genre Number of Responses work school other

9 Domain Overlap instant messaging personal letter text messaging blog or online journal commenting online discussion board fiction creative nonfiction poetry song lyrics 5-paragraph essay lab write-up/report compare/contrast paper argumentative essay literary analysis research paper book report opinion/position paper analysis of academic essay(s) summar y description evaluation paper personal narrative lecture notes reading notes freewriting journal writing informal presentation formal presention speech storytelling Powerpoint resume business letter newspaper article social networking profile blog or online journal letter to the editor web page text web page design Genre types Number of responses Three Domains Two Domains One Domain

10 Most/Least Favorite Kinds of Writing UT Most: Creative writing (16) Personal writing/personal essays/personal letters (6) Freewriting (5) Journaling (5) Persuasive (4) Research (4) Least: Creative writing (16) Research papers (14) Analytical (6) Reports (6) UW Most: Creative writing (20) Personal writing (11) Freewriting (9) Literary analysis (8) Opinion paper (7) Emerging technology (6) Research papers (6) Personal letter (5) Argument paper (5) Least: Literary analysis (14) Creative writing (12) Five-paragraph essay (6) Essays (6) Compare/contrast (4) Research papers (4)

11 Most/Least Successful Kinds of Writing UT Most: Research paper (19) Analysis (6) Creative writing (5) Essays (4) Speeches (3) Don’t know (3) Least: Poetry (11) Research papers (8) Not sure (8) Timed/in-class (6) Analysis (4) Papers-general (4) Reports (3) Freewrite (2) UW Most: Creative writing (12) Research paper (8) Exam-based writing (7) Literary analysis (6) Argument paper (3) Personal writing (3) Presentation (3) Public writing (3) Least: Creative writing (9) Exam-based writing (7) Essays (6) Research papers (4) Literary analysis (4) Personal writing (3) Report (3) Five-paragraph essay (2)

12 What high school writing experiences (if any) do you think will help you to succeed in FYC? UT High school writing/Genres (16) High school writing courses (9) AP Courses (8) Writing frequency in the past (7) Influential writing teachers (5) Exposure to diff. kinds of writing (4) Not well-prepared (4) Writing center help (2) Over-prepared (1) Writing tips (get point across, don’t use fancy diction, start early, develop ideas, be open-minded to feedback) UW Experiences writing diff. genres (22) Skills, strategies, & conventions (11) Experience in AP & college prep (11) Whole experience of H.S. (6) Influence of teachers (5) Experience with writing process (2) Writing frequency in H.S. (2)

13 Genres Reminded of and Drawn on for UW Preliminary Essay Genres Reminded Of: AP literature exam/essay (4) Book review (3) Opinion paper (2) Personal essay/narrative (2) School essays (2) Analysis paper Evaluation paper Informal essays Religion class essays College admissions prompt Scholarship essay Research paper Five-paragraph essay Literary analysis Book report Timed essays “Diagnostic” writing AP History SAT test/prep Debate Genres Drawn On: AP literary analysis (2) Letter writing (2) Analysis Argumentative essay Opinion paper Five-paragraph essay Book review Religion class essays “Pointless” essays Creative writing Scholarship essay Essay format Non-fiction Fiction AP test AP History

14 Genres and Strategies “Uhm, just like a general book review, uhm, like you do like in a typical standard uhm, you know, literature class in high school, you know, like in American literature class” “You read a book, analyze it, you know, write a five-paragraph essay about, you know, a theme or a symbol or something specific about the book and then you know.... uhm, so just, it seemed pretty standard.” “Uhm, it reminded me of a personal narrative, because the question in the prompt was asking you to draw on your experience. Uhm, and I have written, in high school I wrote a lot of personal narrative type things for scholarships, I applied for a lot of scholarships….” “.... uhm, you know, like introductions, like I had never used like a road map before…. Uhm, the objection and response, I had never done that before.” “So I remember the second prompt, uhm, I just thought a lot of my AP classes, especially the history ones where definitely they ask you to come up with a stance and to defend it” “And one of the things that I always did when analyzing my quotes is, I use a quote and then two sentences analysis, at least two sentences, if not more....”

15 From Genres to Strategies Preliminary Essay Genres Reminded of: 28 Strategies Reminded of: 17 (6/14 students reported no strategies) Genres Used: 18 Strategies used: 23 (3/14 students reported no strategies) Major Paper Genres Reminded of: 25 Strategies Reminded of: 28 (6/18 students reported no strategies) Genres Used: 62 Strategies used: 101

16 “NOT” Genres “Just because the claim changed it and it is not a five paragraph essay anymore, it is different, different style and so” “Yeah, it was not like literary analysis but uhm, like just how to make my argument like clear and not like ambiguous or anything like that” “Uhm, well the prompt was kind of on the lines of, if you were writing a review about a chosen topic, and I chose uhm, the man in my basement by I think Mosley, Walter Mosley. So I wrote it kind of in a new format so not particularly essay, but I put in like the kind of review aspect for like, this author wrote these books before, you know, like kind of giving a background of the author, but more then I would in an essay.” “I never written a paper like this before really, uhm, I wrote a term paper in my junior year, uhm, about a novel, but I mean that was a lot different because she gave us a paper about what every paragraph was supposed to be like…. I guess it made it a little harder just because like my term paper was based on one work, one like a book, and then this was based on four main things. So I kind of used the same strategy a little bit, uhm, just when you are doing it on one book it is easier to focus because you only, you are only drawing from one thing, but uhm, here I had to kind of integrate it more”

17 From Genres to Not Genres Preliminary Essay Genres NOT Reminded of: 7/14 students reported NOT genres Strategies Reminded of: 17 Genres NOT Used: 1/14 students reported NOT genres Strategies used: 23 Major Paper Genres NOT Reminded of: 9/18 students reported NOT genres Strategies Reminded of: 28 Genres NOT Used: 5/18 students reported NOT genres Strategies used: 101


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