Teaching composition to nontraditional students: intertextuality and textual developmentShow full item record
|Teaching composition to nontraditional students: intertextuality and textual development
|Schrantz, James Lee
|Doctor of Philosophy
|The growing population of nontraditional students, defined in this dissertation as adults age twenty-five years or older enrolled in undergraduate college courses, challenges traditional missions and methods of higher education. Researchers and theorists in adult education have argued that adult, nontraditional students differ from younger, traditional students in terms of experience, motivation, cognitive ability, and educational needs. Scholarship in composition studies, however, has considered nontraditional students primarily in contexts of remedial and vocational instruction, neglecting the more problematic rhetorical and instructional situation created by a mixture of traditional and nontraditional students in the same classroom. Intertextual theories provide models for reconceptualizing nontraditional students as producers of texts and participants in the writing classroom. Intertextuality suggests that text, writer, and reader are each a collage of other texts. According to poststructural theories, reading creates meaning through a constant invocation of these absorbed intertext of prior reading and experience. Writing may be described through a structuralist intertextuality in which the writer draws quotes and fragments from the intertext and modifies these strands to create new meaning within a centralizing text. The tension between the writer's attempt to inscribe meaning in text and the reader's liberty to re-inscribe meaning is relieved, though not removed, by theories of discourse community. Discourse communities constitute a tacit agreement to bound the intertext of readers and writers, limiting the linguistic and epistemological range of interpretation. To write and read in a community is to navigate the community's intertext. To illustrate the intertextual influence of non-formal discourse communities, this paper examines student narratives and gender differences based on popular reading; unsurprisingly, men and women employ strategies commonly used in popular texts marketed for their gender. Similarly, nontraditional students have intertexts defined by their experiential texts and ingrained discourse patterns from their vocational, social, and domestic communities. The mission of composition, understood in terms of intertextuality, is to move students into academic intertexts and provide skills which simplify future transitions for writing in the intertext of other communities. Teaching methodologies to best achieve this are suggested.
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- Doctoral Dissertations