Anjanette Griego PhD Defense: 'Let's Talk About It: Interrogating Theories of Language and Race During First Year Composition Teacher Training'

Committee: Doris Warriner (chair). Paul Matsuda, Shirley Rose, Cristyn Elder.  ::  ABSTRACT: The design of many first-year writing courses has been influenced by a robust and growing body of research on second language writing practice and pedagogy. However, very little attention has been paid in composition studies to the importance of valuing the linguistic resources of multilinguals enrolled in mainstream first-year writing courses–or the barriers that stand in the way of embracing this approach. In particular, no one has examined how critical perspectives on deficit views of nonstandard languages or literacies might be taken up or resisted during the training of new teachers of multilingual students. This study examines how a group of new TAs are thinking about language and race in relation to learning and writing. Through surveys, observations, and interviews, I documented and analyzed how the TAs at a Southwestern university engaged in conversations about language and race, made sense of readings and activities on the theoretical concepts of raciolinguistics and translanguaging, and responded to information presented to them during two workshops on these topics. I also explored what these TAs said about the relationship between these critical perspectives and their teaching practices (current and future). Findings show that the new TAs’ existing awareness of multilingualism and critical perspectives on language and their ability to envision a critical language pedagogy grew over the course of the semester. Findings also show that, even though they expressed uncertainty about the precise meaning of theoretical terms such as raciolinguistics and translanguaging, their stated beliefs align with the central claims of scholarship advocating such perspectives. Finally, they seemed excited about the possibility of adopting such frameworks while teaching FYC in the future. The findings of this study shed light on ways that new teachers of FYC might be more responsive to theories and frameworks that might offer support to multilingual students enrolled in FYC courses. This study also has implications for Writing Programs Administrators’ efforts to prepare new teachers of FYC – especially those who work in contexts where ideologies of race and language devalue multilingualism and nonstandard varieties of English and influence what counts as academic writing.

This is a virtual presentation:

Sheila Luna
Thursday, Apr. 14, 2022, 9 a.m.

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