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Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 49, No. 2, November 2014

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 49, No. 2, November 2014

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Teacher Epistemology and Ontology: Emerging Perspectives on Writing Instruction and Classroom Discourse [FREE ACCESS]

    Mary M. Juzwik and Ellen Cushman

    Abstract: Editors Juzwik and Cushman introduce the November issue, which examines how teachers know, understand, and approach writing, the teaching of writing, and, more broadly, classroom discourse.

  • High School English Language Arts Teachers’ Argumentative Epistemologies for Teaching Writing

    George E. Newell, Jennifer VanDerHeide, and Allison Wynhoff Olsen

    Abstract: Although current research and professional development on teaching of argumentative writing focus on “best practices,” we offer the construct of argumentative epistemologies to consider how English language arts teachers approach teaching and how they understand their students’ capacity for and interest in argumentation. Drawing on historical emphases in writing theory, we describe and illustrate three argumentative epistemologies: structural, ideational, and social practice. In an observational study of 31 high school English language arts classrooms, teachers’ enacted writing instruction foregrounded either formal elements of students’ arguments, the ideas and content of students’ arguments, or consideration of the complexity and variability of social contexts within which students wrote arguments. Case study analysis of three teachers illustrates the three argumentative epistemologies, how these epistemologies were socially constructed during instructional conversations, and how they were made visible through language use in and about classroom literacy events. These argumentative epistemologies have significance for teacher education, school writing research, and professional development, furthering our understanding of how and why teachers choose to adopt particular approaches to argumentative writing.

  • Multilingual abstracts for "High School English Language Arts Teachers’ Argumentative Epistemologies for Teaching Writing" by George E. Newell, Jennifer VanDerHeide, and Allison Wynhoff Olsen

  • Cultural Constructions of Plagiarism in Student Writing: Teachers’ Perceptions and Responses [FREE ACCESS]

    Shih-Chieh Chien

    Abstract: While the topic of plagiarism in student writing has received much attention in previous research, relatively few studies have examined teachers’ perceptions of plagiarism, and these have tended to focus on how teachers from English L1 countries understand plagiarism (Flint, Macdonald, & Clegg, 2006). Yet given that approximately 80% of English teachers worldwide are nonnative English speakers (Braine, 2010), research that can shed light on these teachers’ practices of defining, detecting, and preventing plagiarism in student writing is urgently needed. The present exploratory study considers teachers’ perceptions and cultural constructions of plagiarism in student writing in Taiwan. Results from a survey and interviews with 23 Taiwanese teachers reveal that a number of cultural factors influenced student plagiarism during writing. These teachers understood plagiarism as being influenced by the Chinese words piaoqie (to rob and steal) and chaoxi (to copy and steal). They also suggested that an emphasis on social relationships and reciprocity in writing, in addition to students’ lack of experience in citing sources appropriately, may lead to both intentional and unintentional plagiarism in students’ writing. These results suggest that plagiarism in this Taiwanese context might be a by-product of the Confucian educational tradition that emphasizes memorization and repetition. Unintentional plagiarism could be closely linked to unawareness. In this case, lack of intentional wrongdoing by students may be due to the influence of culturally rooted definitions of the word plagiarism, suggesting that inexperience is likely to be a contributing factor behind student plagiarism. Implications for pedagogy and further research are suggested.

  • Multilingual abstracts for "Cultural Constructions of Plagiarism in Student Writing: Teachers’ Perceptions and Responses" by Shih-Chieh Chien

  • Indirect Challenges and Provocative Paraphrases: Using Cultural Conflict-Talk Practices to Promote Students’ Dialogic Participation in Whole-Class Discussions

    Michael B. Sherry

    Abstract: English education researchers have established that whole-class discussions can support language and literacy learning. However, few studies have provided examples of whole-class discussions in which students explicitly reference their classmates’ ideas in order to elaborate different, but related, perspectives. Research that has described students’ uptake of their classmates’ ideas has typically portrayed disagreement either as an obstacle to student participation or as a step toward eventual consensus. In this article, I offer a sociolinguistic discourse analysis of two conversations in which a preservice teacher encouraged her urban, 10th-grade students to disagree. My analysis demonstrates the positive effects of the teacher’s use of indirect challenges and provocative paraphrases—features of the African American sociable conflict-talk practice known as The Dozens—to promote collaborative disagreement during whole-class discussion. I argue that teachers can promote collaborative disagreement in whole-class discussions by appealing tostudents’ home-cultural disagreement practices, which may already overlap with argumentation practices valued in school settings. I call for further research into the influence of teachers’ and students’ out-of-school discourses on discussions characterized by collaborative disagreement—a practice that is essential to ELA curricula and to participation in a democratic, literate society.

  • Multilingual abstracts for "Indirect Challenges and Provocative Paraphrases: Using Cultural Conflict-Talk Practices to Promote Students’ Dialogic Participation in Whole-Class Discussions" by Michael B. Sherry

  • Forum: Adolescents’ Writing in the Content Areas: National Study Results

    Kristen Campbell Wilcox and Jill V. Jeffery

    Abstract: While many adolescents in US school settings do not achieve basic levels of writing proficiency, new standards and assessments hold all students, regardless of academic performance history and language  background, to higher standards for disciplinary writing. In response to calls for research that can characterize a range of adolescents’ writing experiences, this study investigated the amount and kinds of writing adolescents with different academic performance histories and language backgrounds produced in math, science, social studies, and English language arts classes in schools with local reputations of excellence. By applying categories of type and length, we analyzed the writing of 66 students from California, Kentucky, New York, and Texas: 26 English learners (L2) and 40 native English speakers (L1), of whom 19 were identified by school norms as lower performing and 21 were identified as higher performing. We found the majority of writing tasks adolescents completed did not require composing more than a paragraph. Exceptions were essays in English language arts and persuasive essays and reports in social studies—almost half of which were source-based tasks. In addition, considerable differences were noted in the rangeof genres and amount of extended writing produced among L1 writers with histories of higher performance in contrast with L1 writers with histories of lower performance and L2 writers. These findings are discussed in light of Common Core State Standards shifts and the implications they hold for content area teachers who teach adolescents with different achievement histories and language backgrounds.

  • Multilingual abstracts for "Forum: Adolescents’ Writing in the Content Areas: National Study Results" by Kristen Campbell Wilcox and Jill V. Jeffery

  • Forum: Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next

    Anne Elrod Whitney, Troy Hicks, Leah Zuidema, James E. Fredricksen, and Robert P. Yagelski

    Abstract: In this article, we reflect upon “the teacher as writer” and describe how we see this concept and movement developing. We articulate a view of the teacher-writer as empowered advocate. Using examples from our scholarship, we illustrate how this powerful idea can transform research conducted about and with teachers. Finally, we draw attention to the potential of the teacher-writer stance as a means of resistance to current reform efforts that disempower teachers.

  • Multilingual abstracts for "Forum: Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next" by Anne Elrod Whitney, Troy Hicks, Leah Zuidema, James E. Fredricksen, and Robert P. Yagelski

  • Introduction to the Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English [FREE ACCESS]

    Abstract: This November issue of RTE once again contains the annual “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” This bibliography includes abstracts of selected empirical research studies as well as titles of other related studies and books published between June 2013 and May 2014. Abstracts are only written for research studies that employed systematic analysis of phenomena using experimental, qualitative, ethnographic, discourse analysis, literary critical, content analysis, or linguistic analysis methods. Priority is given to research most directly related to the teaching of English language arts. Citations in the “Other Related Research” sections include additional important research studies in the field, position papers from leading organizations, or comprehensive handbooks.

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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