The Down and Dirty Elevator Explanation Version of the Thesis

Scene: Ang and Someone are on an Elevator together. Previously they asked what I was working on.


    1.  (What is your research question and why are you, personally, interested in this topic?) My research question is how we can improve literacy and agency for English Language learners in college writing studios and I am personally interested in this topic because as a college writing tutor, I felt frustrated with my lack of training and because I witnessed students dissatisfied with the writing center.
    2. (What is the gap in the research?)  What we know is that there is a dramatic rise in the ESL college level student population, and there are robust bodies of research on TESOL and Writing Centers that are not communicating with each other. What we don’t know, is what these separate lines of research might have to contribute to each other.
    3. (What is the main goal or objective you wish to accomplish? In other words, who cares, and why?)

 I want to explore how these can improve each other, so that centers become more student focused and effective.  This is important to students, tutors and teachers who are concerned with success at writing to the academy, the primary form of demonstrated success at collegiate academics. This is also important to Writing Center Directors whose continued existence depends on demonstrated success, and to University administrators whose increased recruitment of students rest on the ability to demonstrate the students’ success.

    1. (What is your general hypothesis or belief about the phenomena/literature/author/work/genre/theory you are researching? What do you think your research will illustrate?) At the start of this project, I think that I’ll find that incorporating TESOL into the writing center is going to breathe new life into the writing center, whose students are becoming increasingly multicultural. As it looks right now, student autoethnography, in some form, is going to be one of my suggestions for how the two disciplines can come closer together and better serve the post-secondary needs of ELL students.
    2. (What is your theoretical/conceptual framework and why is it appropriate?) After a review of both critical literatures, I’m using postmodern theory to question the purpose and theoretical assumptions in writing centers today from an autoethnographic perspective.  
    3. (If applicable/gathering data: My method of data collection is…. My method of data analysis is….) I’m hoping to add to the analysis of critical literature, and my own stories, interviews with directors, tutors and students of local writing centers in integrate their stories into the work.

That’s about as far as we can go at this point. We’ll add more as we move further into the project and can address results, implications for teaching/learning/XYZ theory, and suggestions for future research. Did you try it? How did you do?

I think it is a great exercise, and the circles exercise (circles of personal and professional interest) we did week 1 is a part of my suggested session one ideas to bring the focal point to the student right from the beginning.

See if you can turn this into an enthusiastic, dynamic short presentation.

OK! Conversations tend to be more dynamic. My face lights up and I enjoy riffing off other people.

How might this explanation change depending on your audience?

Much like a student focus, explanations need to be audience focused.  Different audiences have different concerns and knowledge bases.


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