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Title:Working-Class Black Male First -Year Writers and Their Composition Teaching Assistants: Negotiating Power and Authority in the Basic Writing Classroom
Author(s):Lugo, Thomas Anthony
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Gail Hawisher
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:This interpretive ethnography focuses on a basic writing course for one spring semester, examining the interpersonal dynamics between a young, white upper-middle-class teaching assistant, who favors certain aspects of decentered classroom pedagogy, and three African-American males, two of whom hail from single-mother working-class homes. In particular, this study explores how effective certain decentered classroom heuristics are in relation to the three men and their twelve women classmates, all of whom are second-semester freshmen in phase two of this sequential Rhetoric 102 course. In examining group collaborations, class discussions (frequently influenced significantly by four women), oral presentations, and the instructor's periodically "lowered classroom profile," I analyze why the men chose not to invest themselves in this non-hierarchical process nor engage their classmates and T.A. As the men's silence grows throughout the semester, I problematize how the teaching assistant attempts to negotiate his power and authority vis-a-vis the men in terms of assignment choices and deadlines, missed quizzes, persistent tardiness to class, and extra-credit assignments to atone for poor weekly-journal grades. As a result of the student-empowering goals of decentered classroom pedagogy (under which several women flourished) and some black male students' preference for a "familiar" authoritative teacher, this study weighs the instructional effectiveness of this popular pedagogy in these first-year writers' development, particularly when their instructor is not fully aware of the cultural and intra-racial influences on his students.
Issue Date:2003
Description:316 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3086127
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003

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