'Reclaiming Voice : Enacting Social Discourse Communities in Belizean First-Year College Composition' Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/44558h25z

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  • This thesis explores the evolving purposes for the teaching of first-year English composition in Belize. Starting from an analysis of the underlying cultural assumptions of U.S. composition pedagogies, this thesis argues that American composition pedagogies need to be rethought when applied in a Belizean context to fulfill the country's unique demands from its writing literate community. In chapter 2, I analyze expressivist, cognitive theory, and academic discourse community approaches to the teaching of writing in the United States, addressing assumptions these pedagogies make about the national culture in which they are implemented. I then analyze the complications of implementing those pedagogies in Belize's particular national culture, concluding the chapter with a discussion of the issues that arise due to the use of Creole-English vernacular in Belize and the requirement of Standardized English in the classroom. In chapter 3, I conduct a case study of first-year composition syllabi from St. John's College Junior College (SJCJC), the oldest tertiary institution in Belize. My analysis shows that over a seven-year period, English composition at SJCJC has moved away from current-traditional pedagogy to a socially oriented curriculum that centers the public sphere as the main venue for writing. In chapter 4, I conduct close readings of three American composition textbooks used at SJCJC during the previous chapter's seven-year study period, as well as composition syllabi from University of Southern Florida University and St. Louis University in order to determine how their pedagogies influence SJCJC's evolving composition curriculum. Ultimately, I propose that using the idea of social discourse communities as a starting point, Belize can create college composition guidelines that position the course as a space where students can articulate ideas about their personal and national identities to develop thriving public dialogue.
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