Join us for a dissertation workshop with
PhD candidate in English and Education
Working-Class First-Generation College Students Writing Across Contexts
Thursday, November 17th, 10 – 11 am
Angell Hall 3154
RSVP with this URL: https://goo.gl/forms/
A copy of the chapter will be e-mailed to attendees. Light refreshments will be served!
My dissertation, a qualitative interview study with fifteen working-class first-generation college students at University of Michigan, examines how the speaking and writing literacies these students practice outside of first-year writing in home, work, and extracurricular contexts influence the literacies they practice in first-year writing contexts.
This chapter focuses on working-class first-generation college students writing in work, extracurricular, and first-year writing contexts. First-gens have worked and written in a range of blue-collar labor or service jobs and white-collar professional jobs on and off campus, and their extracurricular writing is often motivated by a desire to give back to their home communities. First-gens also described valuing several aspects of the writing they do in work and extracurricular contexts including: engaging different audiences, practicing persuasion, using different modes and media for composing, connecting to their individual academic and non-academic interests, connecting to home communities, and building mentorship relationships. Importantly, these reflections on workplace and extracurricular writing show both consistency with academic writing and welcome distinctions from academic writing. In these ways, first-gens’ written literacies outside of academic contexts are unique and valuable; however, students’ definitions for good writing do not explicitly acknowledge this range of writing and its value. Instead, students’ describe “good college writing” and “good writing” in general as virtually the same, with the following features: evidence-based argumentation, organization and structure, and audience awareness. Even with the variety of FYW courses my participants were enrolled in (English 125, English 124, CSP 125, Great Books), the variety of genres they wrote there (researched argument, literary analysis, and personal narrative), the emphasis on argumentation in the learning goals for FYW at UM seems to influence these students’ definitions of not only “good college writing” but also “good writing” in general. Students’ emphases on “evidence based argumentation” for good writing in general is interestingly narrow given the variety of genres, purposes, and contexts for writing they describe themselves as participating in outside of school.
We hope to see you there!