Title

An Investigation of Writing's Impact on Graduate Student Identity

Poster Number

14

Lead Author Affiliation

Educational Administration and Leadership

Lead Author Status

Masters Student

Introduction

Current research has primarily looked at postsecondary students' feelings of academic competence and the link between writing and their identity as students. However, not much has been done to look at the intricacies of a graduate students identity and their perceptions of writing practice.

Purpose

I embarked on a semester long project to discuss writing with graduate students and explore how writing at the graduate level impacts students’ perception of their graduate identity. As a graduate student myself I was witness to the my cohort's fear of writing. They felt negatively about it because they felt that expectations were not clear, they did not feel like they had reached a graduate standard in their writing, and felt like they were rusty in writing mechanics and APA. The body of research currently indicates that if a student feels like they understand what is being expected of them, and they feel like they are able to produce good work, then they will feel confident about their ability to write and do well. The purpose of the workshops I held was to see if by giving them the tools necessary to become better writers and open the door to deeper conversations about writing that the graduate students would feel a greater sense of efficacy.

Method

This study stemmed from the need to provide graduate students with support necessary to safely reflect on their writing and the impact writing may have on their identity development as graduate students. The study took place at a small private university in California. A qualitative case study was used in order to receive in depth and detailed information from the class I had chosen to work with. Seven workshops were developed by the primary researcher in order to provide students with the opportunity to revisit mechanical concepts and open up conversation related to issues about writing. These workshops were meant to be supplemental to the graduate course identified above and initiate reflective responses to be completed at the end of each course. Reflective responses were collected by providing the participants with an online private journal which only they and the researchers had access to.

Results

[1 paragraph that shows the results of the writing journals given throughout the workshops] Moreover, students, more often than not, compared themselves to their peers. This caused them to feel ashamed and “less than” their colleagues. They self-blamed themselves for their incompetency. Many students revealed that they are ashamed of the work that they choose to turn in more than half of the time. They tend to be ashamed to have their peers and professor read what they have produced. A student described this as, “I feel bad making others read my writing because I know it’s bad. I care what others think of my writing and I don’t want to be judged.” Although students do not want others to engage in their work because they are ashamed of it, there is still a sense of wanting others to have a pleasant experience reading it. Graduate students in this scenario did not give themselves a chance. They expressed their feelings of shame by letting me know that they “knew” they were not good enough and felt like they were betraying their peers by “forcing” them to look at their poor quality of work. They felt like others would point out their weaknesses and expose their incompetency.

Significance

The significance of this study is to help professors and administrators understand the intrinsic barriers that prevent graduate students from recognizing that they are capable and competent enough to become skilled writers. By doing a study such as this one, professors can begin to see why it is important that we build up a graduate student's identity. Writing is an intricate part of a graduates identity, therefore it is important to be able to teach writing concurrently with the material of the course. Providing students with the tools needed to feel like they are competent writers will not only produce better writers but will produce confident students as well.

Location

DUC Ballroom A&B

Format

Poster Presentation

Poster Session

Morning

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 29th, 10:00 AM Apr 29th, 12:00 PM

An Investigation of Writing's Impact on Graduate Student Identity

DUC Ballroom A&B

Current research has primarily looked at postsecondary students' feelings of academic competence and the link between writing and their identity as students. However, not much has been done to look at the intricacies of a graduate students identity and their perceptions of writing practice.