ENGL 810 Paper #6

Finding my place
Where might my studies place me in the field of Basic Writing Scholarship?

Much of the work in the field of Basic Writing has primarily focused on identity, pedagogy, and justification, but not necessarily in that particular order.  After this course, I certainly envision my research contributing to the field most likely in more than one of these areas, yet I would be remiss not to acknowledge the weight of importance this responsibility carries.  I cannot just throw on the “scholar” title like a name tag at a social event; being a scholar is an identity recognized by the body of work I put forth.  Over the course of this semester, I have—forgive the cliché—merely scratched the surface of what Basic Writing entails.  “Scratch” represents more of the necessity of depth for future research, but it also implies more scope and area covered in regards to the current scholarship within the field.  Therefore, even though this paper details much of what I have learned and discussed in one semester, it should be received as a much broader approach to the field with the intention of more focused studies over the course of the Ph.D. program.

Historically, Basic Writing’s genesis, in the opinion of many, would most likely exist with Mina Shaughnessy’s Errors and Expectations where she coined the term “Basic Writer” (1977), yet as Ritter (2008) pointed out, the existence of Basic Writers was much earlier than this, even as early as the inception of Harvard’s FYC.  Shaughnessy did present a more official title for this group, but like most discoveries, they often existed before being identified or noticed.  And while Ritter (2008) made a strong argument for Basic Writers at the turn of the century and thus rejecting the common socialized view of Basic Writers (Shaughnessy, 1977), I argue that they easily existed before then.  It was not until the turn of the century that we had more documentation of specific assistance afforded to them as noted by Ritter (2008) whereas before they may have been denied opportunity completely due to perceived inability.

Unfortunately, the exigencies that made Basic Writers visible and known are currently causing Basic Writing to disappear from the four year institutions.  Near the turn of the century, Harvard opened its admissions to public high school graduates instead of just the traditional private school sector, allowing for increased student population and, consequently, the need to bridge their high school experience with the university curriculum through FYC.  More students meant more variance in their academic abilities with some falling below the standards set in place and the subsequent need for additional instruction.  However, as the standards of admission continued to grow over the next one hundred years, the university’s desire to preserve certain academic standards did also.  Basic Writing, in the latter part of the twentieth century and even now, became a sign of “eroding standards” and began to be pushed to community college settings, essentially called “mainstreaming.”  This is where I feel my contributions to the field begin to materialize in my mind.  I understand that my scholarship is more than just advancing the field in general, it is advancing it by preserving it, justifying its existence and the need for further understanding as to who a Basic Writer is and what his or her path is in higher education.

Writing
The commonality is that we expect all students to write, but their confidence and abilities in doing so only seem to exist in one context without tapping into other areas they might feel more confident in.

Part of accomplishing this is finding the right approach to establish the need for Basic Writing.  I was not exactly sure what this would be at first, but the more I thought about who Basic Writers are, the more I realized their definition is localized as others have noted (Adler-Kassner and Harrington, 2012, p. 30).  But even with this variable from institution to institution, a common thread is that each student still retains literacies in other parts of his or her life, which led me to transfer theory.  A hot topic in composition studies but certainly not new, transfer focuses on literacies a student may already have and how this might contribute to improving literacies in a different context.  This could be from discipline to discipline, a lower to higher grade level, or even from informal to academic context.  FYC often looks to the discipline to discipline transfer and K-12 to the vertical transfer, but I have found great value in the informal (external) to academic (internal) context simply because Basic Writers traditionally struggle in the academic context in general, not just in the composition classroom.  They have trouble navigating the university and understanding the discourse present there (Bartholomae, 1986; Hindman, 1993; Pozorski, 2013), yet difficulties in one context does not insinuate struggles in all.  Basic Writers often have literacies in other areas, which fosters the idea of using success in one area to help in another.  This “boundary-crossing” is a “[b]ringing [of] ideas, concepts, or instruments from one domain into another, apparently unrelated one. . .” (Donahue, 2012, p. 165).  Theoretically, transfer makes sense for Basic Writing research, but this is still not enough to justify it.

The predominant currency in academia is research and statistics, those that show the overall importance and success of a program or a course in connection with the mission of the university.  The theoretical is fine, but when much of the discussion is only that, we must understand its limits and that “[it is] hollow—we might even say ‘empty rhetoric’ unless [it is] supported by data” (Adler-Kassner & Harrington, 2006, p.43).  We must apply the theoretical and establish results, but much of the discussion of transfer has been focused on qualitative data such as interviews, case studies, and personal accounts (Anson, 2016; Clay-Buck & Tuberville, 2015Vie, 2015).  Through grounded theory, I could use qualitative data to establish a framework for quantitative data later.  Can I do all of this in a single Ph.D. program?  Most likely no, but this post is about where I position my studies in the field, and all of it certainly does not have to happen now.

Ideally, the Objects of Study I would like to examine would be the expected student writing taking place in the classroom (drafts, prewriting, CMC) in addition to “short-form digital writing” (Pigg, Grabill, Brunk-Chavez, Moore, Rosinski & Curran, 2014, p. 108) taking place in external contexts such as social media sites or even text messaging.  Granted this is fairly broad, but it is a start.  The more I have thought about this over the course of the semester and even before I began my studies in the Ph.D. program, I have realized that students enjoy sharing their opinions on current issues and topics that garner their interest, yet they often do not consider the complexities of what and how they are communicating.

The “how” is where I feel transfer in Basic Writing might be most

Transfer Theory
What might be the “everyday” for a student could potentially be the source for success in the “new” and unfamiliar.

applicable since the curriculum often focuses on improving writing from sentence to paragraph, paragraph to essay.  Apart from the expected misspellings and slang in social media posts, how are students writing these posts on a sentence level?  How many are declarative statements?  How many are complex or compound sentences?  And do the thoughts they are joining warrant such a structure?  Most likely, students are not thinking about the connection of form and content here, which parallels their lack of concern for it in the classroom.  If they lack in both areas, what is transferable?  To begin, it is their care for and approach to it.  Communicating well in academics is for a grade, but writing well in social media is for a specific purpose or effect, usually not a grade.  Also, if they depend on declarative statements so often on social media, does this contribute and explain choppy writing in essays?  Do these students have an awareness of audience in either context?  Do they feel their writing in the social media context is accomplishing something?  I have a few questions running through my head, but my hope is that the answer to one of these might lead to a better understanding of Basic Writing and the Basic Writer.

Being a scholar of Basic Writing is not any more valuable than being a scholar in another area, but the context of this work might have more immediate relevance in the justification and stability of Basic Writing compared to others.  Reducing Basic Writers to simply those who need more assistance due to inability and/or traditionally poor instruction in the K-12 setting perpetuates marginalization of an often far more complex and misunderstood group of students.  The axiological concerns are vested in not just preventing the ouster of Basic Writing from the university setting, but it is embedded in the idea that stabilizing the importance of this subject might provide some of the same for the larger field of composition.  It also gives more identity for and understanding of a group of students needing more than just a little assistance before FYC.  They just need their voice heard, and I believe my studies into how we can make them aware of their voice outside academia can transfer to an awareness within it.

References

Adler-Kassner, L., & Harrington, S. (2006). In the Here and Now: Public Policy and Basic Writing. Journal Of Basic Writing (CUNY), 25(2), 27-48.  Retrieved from http://www.asu.edu/clas/english/composition/cbw/jbw.html

Adler-Kassner, L., & Harrington, S. (2012). Creation Myths and Flash Points: Understanding Basic Writing through Conflicted Stories.  In K. Ritter & P. Kei Matsuda (Eds.), Exploring Composition Studies (pp. 13-35). Boulder, CO: UP of Colorado.

Anson, C. M. (2016). The Pop Warner Chronicles: A Case Study in Contextual Adaptation and the Transfer of Writing Ability. College Composition and Communication, 67(4), 518-549. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1798722905?accountid=12085

Bartholomae, D. (1986). INVENTING THE UNIVERSITY. Journal of Basic Writing, 5(1), 4-23. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43443456

Clay-Buck, H., & Tuberville, B. (2015). Going off the grid: Re-examining technology in the basic writing classroom. Research & Teaching in Developmental Education, 31(2), 20-25. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1684790445?accountid=12085

Donahue, C.  (2012). Transfer, Portability, Generalization: (How) Does Composition Expertise “Carry”?.  In K. Ritter & P. Kei Matsuda (Eds.), Exploring Composition Studies (pp. 145-166). Boulder, CO: UP of Colorado.

Hindman, J. (1993). REINVENTING THE UNIVERSITY: FINDING THE PLACE FOR BASIC WRITERS. Journal of Basic Writing, 12(2), 55-76. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43443613

Pigg, S., Grabill, J. T., Brunk-Chavez, B., Moore, J. L., Rosinski, P., & Curran, P. G. (2014). Ubiquitous writing, technologies, and the social practice of literacies of coordination. Written Communication, 31(1), 91-117.  doi: 10.1177/0741088313514023

Pozorski, A. (2013). Podcast paralysis: Inventing the university in the twenty-first century. Writing & Pedagogy, 5(2), 189.

Ritter, K. (2008). Before Mina Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale, 1920-1960. College Composition And Communication, 60(1), 12-45. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20457043

Shaughnessy, M.  (1977).  Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing. New York: Oxford UP.

Vie, S. (2015). What’s going on?: Challenges and opportunities for social media use in the writing classroom. The Journal of Faculty Development, 29(2), 33-44. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1776597451?accountid=12085

 

Paper #5 Objects of Study

Examining the Objects of Study
Examining the Objects of Study

As mentioned in previous posts, my studies have focused on Basic Writing and transfer theory.  My affinity for transfer theory emanates from my desire to not just further research for the field, but to examine the ways some of our current pedagogies might have marginalized this group of students, unintentionally of course, and how we might improve our practices to avoid this and empower basic writers using familiar literacies and knowledge from other parts of their lives.  However, as I am writing this post, I am reminded of how complex such a study using transfer theory might be considering what might be of particular interest as an object of study, or better yet, objects of study (OoSes).

With transfer theory, at least two or more objects of study need attention in order to assess whether transfer is actually occurring.  One object needs to exist in the academic context since this is where I would want to see if literacies or knowledge transfers, and then the social context, most likely a social media platform, would be the other.  Some OoSes in the academic context commonly include student papers, emails, prewriting, or drafts while the objects of study in the social context would be “short-form digital writing” (Pigg, Grabill, Brunk-Chavez, Moore, Rosinski & Curran, 2014, p. 108) dealing with posts and messaging, construction of online profiles, or emoticons.  Student papers are common OoSes in Composition and Rhetoric research studies because they are primarily what students produce in the classroom and should reveal not only the way they think and communicate that understanding, but also how they do or do not showcase the skills they are learning and developing in class, and social media posts are a current “hot” topic because of their frequency and the way students navigate rhetorical situations in a public and social sphere.  Yet, this is still just a broad view of typical OoSes in the field, and the reason social media has become fairly common in current studies is because of its prevalence and consistent usage by basic writers and FYC students.  It is the form they communicate most in, which provides a possible wealth of information for researchers to sift through.

When examining these text-based OoSes, I might use a linguistic approach to observe how students construct identity socially through the reuse of particular words such as first person pronouns or culturally homogenous diction and then analyze their academic works to see if they construct identity similarly.  Is there a disconnect?  If so, what explains the disconnect in how they create identity?  Is it pedagogy or curriculum that causes this?  Another textual analysis approach could be student use of emoticons in conveying tone and voice in social media posts compared to how students can, or cannot, convey the same emotion in strictly text-based, academic writing. In both scenarios, text-based OoSes serve as the foci for the studies.

Transfer theory and these OoSes have roots in previous calls for improving student literacies and basic writing curriculum.  Bartholomae (1986) noted the struggle for basic writers does not necessarily lie in their skills as writers, but it is the unfamiliarity of the context of academics itself and the assignments we ask students to complete within that environment. Specifically, a curriculum that focuses on Standard Written English as the accepted communication marginalizes basic writers who lack comfort with it, but this does not mean they are incapable of coherent, organized, and effective communication altogether.  And this is why Bizzell (2000) felt that Social Media, a familiar area of communication for them, should be included in the classroom as traditional curriculum “too often ignores or suppresses the real linguistic resources that all students bring to school” (p. 6).  Other scholars documented the resources available in social media such as how instructors can help students examine user profiles and audience identification on Facebook by making them aware of the “filter bubble.”  Facebook algorithms restrict posts that appear on feeds to those that are more frequently liked and shared by a user, creating a particular, interested audience or community for that user, which can theoretically transfer to the academic setting in helping students become more aware of discourse communities and audiences (Head, 2016).  Yet, others suggested that social media can complicate, not solve, some of the issues of transfer.

Pozorski (2013) argued that using technology in the composition classroom actually “disempowers” the students (p. 190).  The difficulty is not in the technology alone, but in the contrast of cultures, “academic and youth/social,” (p.197) that the technology exists in.  Vie’s (2015) research echoed this sentiment—though she acknowledged the growing interest in social media as viable and warranted—as  her survey of faculty revealed concerns about crossing the professional and personal boundary when including social media in the academic curriculum.  Looking at transfer of skills between the two contexts is important, but what cannot be overlooked is the risk of students not understanding that though skills transfer, boundaries with expected behaviors are still present between those contexts.

The abundance of Social Media is clear, but the boundaries often blur when trying to connect to the academic context.
The abundance of Social Media is clear, but the boundaries often blur when trying to connect to the academic context.

While social media continues to be an increasingly common topic and an OoS in research, it fits in the context of the history of basic writing.  Since Shaugnessy’s coining of “basic writer” and the open admissions at colleges and universities during the 1970s has fostered a focus on marginalized students and their ability to “navigate” (Bartholomae, 1986) the academic setting.  Examining how to tap into their preexisting skills to foster growth in academia directly ties into the current situation where social media is the most common form of communication in the social setting and the subsequent popularity of transfer theory.

Such research studies will not be simple or easy as evidenced by the concerns of scholars regarding social media in the academic context and the complexities of social media itself (its multimodal composition, multiple OoSes within it, changing platforms, and popularity shelf-life among students).  Questions that arise might be what specific part of social media should become the OoS of my study?  How can this research remain relevant if the social media platform will most likely disappear or change drastically in a short of time span, possibly before the research is complete?  However, the importance of establishing the connection between academic and social contexts and the possibility of empowering basic writers through this is too valuable to overlook.

 

References

Bartholomae, D. (1986). Inventing The University. Journal of Basic Writing, 5(1), 4-23. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43443456

Bizzell, P. (2000). Basic Writing and the Issue of Correctness, or, What to Do with “Mixed” Forms of Academic Discourse. Journal of Basic Writing, 19(1), 4-12. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43739259

Head, S. L. (2016). Teaching grounded audiences: Burke’s identification in facebook and composition. Computers and Composition: An International Journal for Teachers of Writing, 39, 27-40. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2015.11.006

Pigg, S., Grabill, J. T., Brunk-Chavez, B., Moore, J. L., Rosinski, P., & Curran, P. G. (2014). Ubiquitous writing, technologies, and the social practice of literacies of coordination. Written Communication, 31(1), 91-117.  doi: 10.1177/0741088313514023

Pozorski, A. (2013). Podcast paralysis: Inventing the university in the twenty-first century. Writing & Pedagogy, 5(2), 189.  doi: 10.1558/wap.v5i2.189

Vie, S. (2015). What’s Going on?: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Media Use in the Writing Classroom. The Journal of Faculty Development, 29(2), 33-44. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1776597451?accountid=12085

Paper #4: Theories and Methods Used

While it may be easier to examine Objects of Study in a vacuum-like

Methods
Almost as essential as data itself is the theory and methodologies used during research.

scenario, such an approach removes the intricacies of what actually happens in the field.  Much of the complexity of research in composition and rhetoric is how closely it is tied with pedagogy, which includes consideration of multiple stakeholders and other components that interact with one another, and Basic Writing is most likely a discipline where this complexity might be greatest.  Not only do basic writers have unique experiences they bring to the classroom, but the actual definition of basic writer remains localized to each institution.  Scholars cannot just focus student writing without acknowledging what contributes to its formation; identity, access, agency, technology, and demographics are some of the factors that must be examined in connection to other parts of the study.

Some common theories in scholarship that try to account for these complexities are transfer theory and grounded theory.  One reason for transfer theory’s current popularity is its perceived effectiveness with social media, a popular object of study in composition.  By examining the student writing habits in social media sites and their writing in the classroom setting, scholars look for similarities to see if their success in one area translates to the other.  While transfer theory takes on many forms, it takes into consideration the social context that contributes to student identity outside and inside the classroom, and this, initially, leads to a heavier preference for qualitative methods in scholarship.  A noticeable trend is scholars using case studies, personal accounts of instructors, interviews, and questionnaires to identify patterns that might inform more quantitative data later (Anson, 2016; Clay-Buck & Tuberville, 2015Vie, 2015).    Moore (2012) noted that for quantitative data, researchers typically follow a small group of students over the course of their degree though a longitudinal study or a much larger group for a more limited amount of time.  Because transfer theory focuses on the movement, or transference, of skills from one  context to another, or lack thereof (Anson, 2016), scholars appear to prefer the longitudinal studies because the student’s initial performance must be noted and then measured over the course of time.

Grounded research follows a similar pattern of using qualitative data to establish a groundwork for quantitative data later, but the actual theory used to generate knowledge emerges from the qualitative data gathered.  Vie (2015) followed this approach when researching views and uses of social media in the classroom.  Through qualitative data, she established the benefits and challenges of using social media in the classroom.  The purpose was to “assess” the status of this subject in the field amidst “burgeoning interest in social media” (p.41).  Yet, this structure of gathering qualitative data in one study with the purpose of it leading to more quantitative studies in a separate or later study is not new.

As Dr. Richards (2016, September 21) noted in an interview, after Kathleen Blakely became editor for CCC in 2011 and made a call for more empirical research in the field, there has been more of a push for quantitative data in connection to qualitative data.  MacArthur and Philippako (2013) use several forms of qualitative research through interviews, participant observations, and questionnaires to establish changes in writing curriculum.  They then use quantitative statistics to measure student writing quality on tests and writing samples to reflect whether the curriculum changes produced positive results in the quality of student writing.  The efforts to replicate data and show consistent patterns and truths help establish the field and discipline in the context of the research university (Richards, 2016, September 21).

And while Yancey’s call for more empirical research has led to the increase in quantitative studies, the need for validation already connected to the history of composition in the university.  Originally created at Harvard University as a result of expanding admission to more students from public schools and in an effort to bridge the gap between those institutions and higher education, composition and rhetoric remained limited to general education.  It was a core course, but it did not necessarily have the renown of other disciplines in the academic setting.  Even substantial work and growth in the field over the next century remained constrained by the lack of replicable quantitative data, or the empirical data, that the rest of academia sought.

Data sets
The abundance of data sets is not in question, but the theories and methods to generate knowledge is.

It appears composition and rhetoric is still trying to establish and identify itself, moving more towards empirical data to do so, and with no lack of abundance of data sets, the important focus now is the best theories and methods to use in analyzing this information.  With so many variables present in the writing classroom, this will be no easy task, but with the ever-shifting preferences of students regarding different social media, is there a particular theory or method that best captures what is happening here?  Will transfer theory continue to be a popular choice when examining how students move from one discourse to another, or will there be a new adaptation or new theory altogether that measures this better?

References

Anson, C. M. (2016). The Pop Warner Chronicles: A Case Study in Contextual Adaptation and the Transfer of Writing Ability. College Composition and Communication, 67(4), 518-549. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1798722905?accountid=12085

Clay-Buck, H., & Tuberville, B. (2015). Going off the grid: Re-examining technology in the basic writing classroom. Research & Teaching in Developmental Education, 31(2), 20-25. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1684790445?accountid=12085

MacArthur, C. A., & Philippakos, Z. A. (2013). Self-Regulated Strategy Instruction in Developmental Writing: A Design Research Project. Community College Review, 41(2), 176-195.  http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1177/0091552113484580

Moore, J. (2012). Mapping the Questions: The State of Writing-Related Transfer Research. Composition Forum, 26   Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ985810

Vie, S. (2015). What’s going on?: Challenges and opportunities for social media use in the writing classroom. The Journal of Faculty Development, 29(2), 33-44. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1776597451?accountid=12085

PAB 4b

Pop Warner
The focus of Martin’s review was Pop Warner, but what he was not prepared for was the community of discourse this review needed to inhabit.

Much of the discussion about transfer focuses on beginning writers working to improve, especially in the academic setting.  For example, we might examine transfer as it pertains to a FYC student, her writing skills developed in informal situations such as social media, and how awareness of audience there might help her develop awareness of audience in the academic setting.  Anson (2016), on the other hand, documented a different perspective of transfer as evidenced by Martin, a college professor, and his struggle to write a weekly recap of his son’s Pop Warner football games.    While his writing for work was often highly successful in multiple genres and modes, which exemplified his ability to write well in various situations and often at the highest levels of academics, the new task of writing a simple review posed a significant challenge.  Anson (2016) stated, “Clearly, Martin’s summaries demonstrated a high level of writing competence independent of their context: the resources of a sophisticated vocabulary, expert control of syntax, a penchant for smart phrasing, organizational skills, rhetorical savvy, impeccable grammar. But in this context, such ability was beside the point: writing is deemed successful by the standards of a particular community of practice or group of readers” (p.531).  The definition of “writing expertise” is localized to particular discourses, and Martin struggled with a far more simplistic discourse than he was accustomed.  Using Beaufort’s (2007) framework of writing expertise, Anson (2016) breaks down Martin’s “expertise” in five areas and discussed where it did or did not overlap in the unfamiliar context, essentially explaining why he struggled to transfer his prior skills and knowledge to a rather simple task.

 

While Anson’s (2016) study does not focus on Basic or first-year writers, which will probably be who I choose to follow in my research, I found his article to be quite informative of how transfer is not necessarily difficult because of the novice status of writers.  Any writer can feel comfortable and entrenched in a certain discourse, no matter their awareness of the rhetorical situation or their writing abilities.  I have noticed the trend for researchers to focus on transfer at the introductory level, largely because the students are learning something new, but understanding the struggle to be more universal and less limited gives more insight to where transfer can and does exist.

Community of Practice
Martin struggled in a new Community of Practice context, which can be true for any level of writer.

The primary difficulty in Martin’s case was the community of practice, not his ability to write, which is true for many.  Anson (2016) commented that there is increasing “scholarship [looking] to explore how writers conceptualize transient, overlapping, unstable communities. And it is just starting to account for the degree of unity and fragmentation within such communities and the extent to which their actors are situated within multiply configured spaces, each with its own shared assumptions and knowledge. (p. 537).  I have often perceived the academic classroom as a more stable environment with clear expectations laid out for student writing; however, perhaps I should revisit this view.  Is the classroom environment stable with familiar and easy to read structures, especially as the students bring knowledge of K-12 academic settings to the university atmosphere? Or is there a degree of negative transfer that occurs because the students perceive the community of practice to be more unstable?

 

This case study not only examines transfer, but it provides me with some ideas of more OoSes I might use.  In addition, the perception of why students struggle with transfer is more about context than what might have been apparent before.

References

Anson, C. M. (2016). The Pop Warner Chronicles: A Case Study in Contextual Adaptation and the Transfer of Writing Ability. College Composition and Communication, 67(4), 518-549. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1798722905?accountid=12085

Beaufort, Anne. (2007).  College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction. Logan: Utah State UP.

PAB 4a

Transfer theory, though not new, remains a current discussion in Rhetoric and Composition, especially with ESL, first year, and basic writers.  In their article, DePalma and Ringer (2011) discussed transfer theory in the ESL context but argued for a new conceptualization of transfer.  They termed it “adaptive transfer,” one that is “the conscious or intuitive process of applying or reshaping learned writing knowledge in order to help students negotiate new and potentially unfamiliar writing situations” (DePalma and Ringer, 2011, p.135).  They identified most transfer theories as focusing on a “reuse” of “static” skills and knowledge, moving from one context to another without any real change apart from the environment itself, which is too reductive, a similar argument Kincheloe (2006) made about traditionalist views of pedagogy and research in the classroom.  The static view removes the writer authority; whatever changes or adaptations the writer makes in the process of transfer are not recognized, which leads to the other problem of static view, which is reader context.  The cultural discourse of the person(s) determining whether transfer occurred often do not reflect the native discourse of the writer; thus, this essentially narrows the reader’s view of how the writer may have transferred knowledge or skills from one context to the other.  Essentially, DePalma and Ringer (2011) argued that the focus of transfer theory needs to shift from what “doesn’t happen to what does happen” (p.141).

Adapt or Fail
Reductive transfer theories focus more on what is not happening while adaptive transfer looks at what does.

I agree with Depalma and Ringer’s (2011) argument against the more reductive transfer theories that many scholars have used in their research and methodologies.  This approach often leads to an overly simplified examination of a text as indicative of successful transfer or not while ignoring the process of how that text came to be.  Their “adaptive transfer theory” aligns more with the constructivist views I discussed in the Epistemological Paper, giving more weight to the outside factors that contribute to rhetorical choices made by students in the formation of texts.  Yet, while their article puts more focus on L2 writers, the theory can easily apply to Basic Writers, who share the difficulties in navigating new environments (academic) with L2 students.  By extrapolating the premise of the theory, I can solidify what my objects of study might be in future research.

 

The popularity of transfer theory is not surprising because of the growing number of technological advancements in addition to greater recognition of disparities between student backgrounds.  One remark made by DePalma and Ringer (2011) that resonated with me is “texts become spaces of negotiation” rather than stable (p. 142).  This encapsulates the purpose of using adaptive transfer theory when conducting case studies because of the importance to recognize how writers negotiate the situation, bring some knowledge and skills from previous writing contexts influenced by various political, social, and cultural factors, to a new setting that also includes its own varying factors of influence.   Too often we have viewed texts as disconnected from writer and reader, missing the complexity of the formation and interpretation of such it.  While it might contain evidence of transfer, it does not necessarily mean it is objectively present at the surface; it might require a little more digging.

Limiting Transfer
Limiting successful transfer to reductive criteria will also limit our understanding of it.

While this article is more theoretical than evidence of methodology in practice, it provides a framework of how I can interpret other case studies and the types of transfer they use when producing data.

References

DePalma, J. & J. Ringer. (2011).  Toward a Theory of Adaptive Transfer: Expanding Disciplinary Discussions of “Transfer” in Second-language Writing and Composition Studies. Journal of Second Language Writing, 20(2), 134-147.  Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1016/j.jslw.2011.02.003

Kincheloe, J. (2011). A Critical Complex Epistemology of Practice. Counterpoints, 352, 219-230. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42980820

ENGL 810 Paper #3 Epistemological Alignment

Aligning with a certain position, essentially choosing sides, is not difficult to do:  I root for the Boston Red Sox (i.e. my side).    Yet, when considering the implications of identifying my epistemological alignment, I am hesitant, though paralyzed would probably be a better word.  It is not as easy as merely choosing a side, picking a team to root for, or buying memorabilia and becoming a part of the crowd watching the game.  In academia, such a choice does not create a passive existence in the stands, merely there to watch the spectacle that is scholarship; this choice is my identification with a particular view with specific people and identified values, and it is a marker of not only who I am as a person, but also who I am as a pedagogue and a scholar.  So essentially, this paper is about identifying an essential part of who I am.

With this question of identity in mind, I thought about the studies I am most drawn to, and the principles that those studies emanate from, which was social constructivism, recognizing how we create knowledge socially.  To be clear, I do believe in absolute knowledge though some social constructivists would cringe at the term, but I perceive this as only partially revealed at times, obstructed by the complexities of political,

Constructivism- making meaning through interaction with other entities
Constructivism- making meaning through interaction with other entities

social, and cultural factors.  The knowledge that is socially constructed, one that changes as the external factors change and what constructivists consider “new knowledge” is a different view or understanding of the absolute knowledge we thirst for.  Essentially, it is not necessarily “new,” but it is new to us.  It exists beyond our measure or complete understanding at any one point in time; however, the parts revealed through scholarship are accessible and allow us to piece together the absolute knowledge we seek.

Social constructivism allows for a thorough analytical approach to the complex situations created in classes.  Joe Kincheloe (2006) criticized the reductionist approaches that exist in the K-12 setting, which uses standardized testing models that limit knowledge to a package moving from theorists to educators to students; he argued for more reciprocity between educators and researchers in an effort to recognize the political, social, and cultural factors at play in the classroom.  Leigh Jonaitis (2012) discussed the importance of recognizing Computer Mediated Technologies in the classroom through a transactional view, essentially seeing the interconnectivity of Basic Writers and CMT:  “Consideration of technology in the basic writing classroom, then, is not a luxury, but instead a crucial part of considering the constantly evolving literacy practices that are such a large part of basic writers’ lives” (p.51).  Both Kincheloe (2006) and Jonaitis (2012) suggested that approaching any of these components as though they are autonomous would be counterproductive to pedagogical practices and understanding what is actually occurring in the classroom; thus, their constructivist approaches are informing their views of pedagogy.

 

Limiting any component—human, technological, geographical—in this equation without recognizing the complexities would hinder the “educational growth” Dewey (1916) defined in his literature. Also, without recognizing the political implications of our own institutional practices and structures such as classifying Basic Writers, we create scenarios where students struggle to navigate the university, an unfamiliar terrain and discourse for them (Bartholomae, 1986; Hindman, 1993; Pozorski, 2013).  The university, the faculty member, the students, and the technology all merge in a classroom setting, creating a situation where scholars must recognize not only the complexity this produces, but how those individual factors influence each other.

David Bartholomae-author of "Inventing the University"
David Bartholomae-author of “Inventing the University”

My earlier post (Paper #2) highlights the question of transfer in the university setting, especially with Basic Writers, which leads me to possible Objects of Study being student writing and technology (i.e. social media).  I have considered examining student communication on Twitter and how they navigate the rhetorical situations existing there and if this same practice occurs in the classroom, an academic setting.  Are students constructing knowledge in the classroom as different from the knowledge on Twitter? Why or why not?  What factors—social, cultural, political—creates the rift between their writing in two settings and how could literacies from one successfully transfer to the other.  Pozorski (2013) suggested that the incorporation of common and familiar technologies for students into the classroom would create more confusion and resistance because the academic setting influenced student perception of podcasts.  While this is one particular study, I think more research is necessary.

In establishing an epistemological alignment, I am establishing a key foundation for future scholarship and pedagogical theories.  To be blunt, this choice is incredibly important; however, it is not limiting. Richard Fulkerson (1990) stated, “Axiological commitments set up goals for pedagogy, but do not prescribe how best to reach them, and one’s decision about how to reach the goal will be guided but not determined by views of writing as a process, just as both procedural and pedagogical theories will be based on whatever research or experience one’s epistemology allows to constitute knowledge” (p.418).   Fulkerson’s statement reveals just how epistemology serves as a core component of my profession and future studies, informing my practices as a teacher and later leading to the results I value as a result of my practices.  I feel that a social constructivist approach is best when approaching the objects of study previously mentioned.  It creates a focused view on the individual components while also recognizing the complexities resulting from their interaction.  And while I may share this view with others, my pedagogical philosophies and axiological considerations will still create disparities, those which are common in the discourse of the field in the pursuit of knowledge.

References

Bartholomae, D. (1986). INVENTING THE UNIVERSITY. Journal of Basic Writing, 5(1), 4-23. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43443456

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan.

Fulkerson, R. (1990). Composition Theory in the Eighties: Axiological Consensus and Paradigmatic Diversity. College Composition and Communication, 41(4), 409-429. doi:1. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/357931

Hindman, J. (1993). REINVENTING THE UNIVERSITY: FINDING THE PLACE FOR BASIC WRITERS. Journal of Basic Writing, 12(2), 55-76. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43443613

Jonaitis, L. (2012). Troubling Discourse: Basic Writing and Computer-Mediated Technologies. Journal of Basic Writing, 31(1), 36-58. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43741085

Kincheloe, J. (2011). A Critical Complex Epistemology of Practice. Counterpoints, 352, 219-230. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42980820

Pozorski, A. (2013). Podcast paralysis: Inventing the university in the twenty-first century. Writing & Pedagogy, 5(2), 189.

PAB #3b

While Kincheloe (2006) does not specifically focus on Basic Writing, Jonaitis (2012) does.  Her article focused on the multiple views practitioners and scholars have had using computer-mediated technology (CMT) in the Basic Writing setting.   She utilized Bruce Horner’s (1996) “Discoursing Basic Writing” as a frame for discussing the shifting perspectives on CMT that occurred over the past thirty years. Of Horner’s (1996) discourses, Jonaitis (2012) describes five stances: oppositional, skeptical, utilitarian, transformational, and transactional.  The more negative of the stances, oppositional and skeptical, regarded CMT as more harmful than standard practices (oppositional) or too forced for use in the classroom as some regarded it as a significantly impressive tool (skeptical).  In contrast, the rest are more positive views with the utilitarian stance on CMT as more of a means to fulfill student “needs,” the transformational as possibly altering student understanding of her own abilities, and transactional as the consistent reshaping of literacies as “social practices and technology” are connected.   Jonaitis (2012) focused on the transactional view and how scholars must recognize the interconnectivity between technology and social practice: “Consideration of technology in the basic writing classroom, then, is not a luxury, but instead a crucial part of considering the constantly evolving literacy practices that are such a large part of basic writers’ lives” (p.51). CMT should not be viewed as an autonomous entity, isolated from student and teacher interaction with it.

CMT's influence needs to be seen in its entirety.
CMT’s influence needs to be seen in its entirety.

Like Kincheloe (2006), Jonaitis (2012) follows more of a constructivist epistemology, one that highlights that knowledge exists in understanding how the different entities involved relate to and shape one another.  My specific interest in this article is the focus on technology and student literacies.  Jonaitis argued that we must “. . . consider the wealth of literacy practices that our basic writers bring to the classroom” (p.45).  How might the literacies basic writers already possess transfer to the academic setting?  How might our choice of CMT in the classroom affect whether those literacies transfer or not?  How does the educational setting possibly mute those literacies though the CMT is the same?  Any question of whether transfer occurs between social media communication and academic writing must include a thorough examination of the specific CMT, its political, social, and cultural implications as it connects to students in and out of the classroom.    Additionally, what are the implications of this continuously evolving relationship for our pedagogies?  Any choice made in the educational setting should not be perceived as creating a single effect, but it should be viewed as influencing any entity within that context.

How does our interaction with technology shapes our perceptions of education?
How does our interaction with technology shapes our perceptions of everything, including education?

We can study students, CMT, personal pedagogy, institutional setting, or any other component; however, viewing these as autonomous objects will also limit any results we may produce as both Kincheloe (2006) and Jonaitis (2012) suggested.  And like Jonaitis (2012) noted, as technology continues to evolve and become more accessible, especially for children from lower-income families, we should question how this changes our pedagogical practices once that generation arrives at the university setting? A high number of basic writers come from lower-income families; however, increased digital literacies among this student population could alter how the sociocultural identity of basic writers is formed.  We must move towards a more comprehensive understanding of basic writers amidst the technological advancements, so following a constructivist approach is most likely the best choice when examining transfer with basic writing and social media.  This could change as my research interests mature, but I see a better understanding of basic writers outside of the formalist, simple reductionist points of view.

References

Jonaitis, L. (2012). Troubling Discourse: Basic Writing and Computer-Mediated Technologies. Journal of Basic Writing, 31(1), 36-58. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43741085

Kincheloe, J. (2011). A Critical Complex Epistemology of Practice. Counterpoints, 352, 219-230. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42980820

PAB #3a

Kincheloe: Advocate for Critical Pedagogy
Joe Kincheloe (1950-2008)

First, I did not select this article just because it said “Epistemology” in the title; rather, I identify with Kincheloe’s approach to pedagogy and how it ties into my research interests.  Kincheloe’s notoriety stems from his work in education, specifically connecting with constructivism.  In “A Critical Complex Epistemology of Practice,” he defined and explained the Critical Complex Pedagogy, one that follows the constructivist principles of knowledge that exists in the constructs we create.  The issue he addressed is one that is not uncommon for many disciplinary fields, including English Studies: the division that has and still exists between practitioners/educators and researchers.  He criticized the formalist model, one that resembled more of a linear assembly line-type of movement where scholarship from researchers informed institutions and its educators, who then implemented the theories in the classrooms for the students to receive.  Lacking the reciprocity that would have informed and benefited both educators and researchers, this reductionist approach oversimplified the sociocultural complexities, those presented by the students, educators, institution, and technology, within the classroom and essentially “deprofessionalized the teachers” (Kincheloe, 2006, p.222).  Researchers only provided “solutions disassociated from the perils of professional practice” (Kincheloe, 2006, p.225) in an effort to find the most effective way to improve test scores and make this process appear “successful.” Thus, Kincheloe (2006) called for more awareness of how research, knowledge, and practice intersect in what he terms the “bricolage” (p.225), where educators and scholars could work together to identify issues present that may have been disguised previously with the normalcy of the system.

While this article does not specifically discuss English Studies, Basic Writing, or any specific discipline, the importance lies in constructivism, recognizing the complexities that exist in the classroom and the importance of social contextualization.  In my own research, I must consider the contextual factors of any Objects of Study I might focus on. Moreover, the definition of basic writers is local, meaning across the academy there is not a clear, universal method of defining them, yet our definition of them derives from particular sociocultural factors present.  Simply overlooking these complexities would be the oversimplification Kincheloe (2006) warned against.  He also stressed how isolating each part—student, class, curriculum, teacher, researcher—may generate numbers that appear to indicate success, but they actually show an epistemological issue where the knowledge generated appears to be “true” but is removed from the full context and thus misleading as to whether any changes to curriculum and practice is efficacious.  Kincheloe (2006) commented on why oversimplification happens: “Simplicity sells, complexity doesn’t” (p.228).  The language of administration is that of numbers, but more concern should be given as to how we generate those numbers.

I agree with Kincheloe’s (2006) views regarding how scholars should view the educational setting and the many contributing factors—social, political, cultural—that shape it.  As we change, it changes, and without acknowledging this, we create, at the very least, incomplete truths.  If I am examining if transfer occurs between social media and classroom writing for basic writers, then I must begin with the factors that contribute to a definition of each but also how the interaction between them affects those identities.  Basic writers alone reveal the web of sociocultural complexities in order to reach a definition, but a social media site such as Facebook would also include additional complexities; thus, the interaction of the two, inside and outside of the classroom, creates new identities for each.  Limiting my OoSes will make this more manageable, but it will not be simple.

Interview with Joe Kincheloe by Freire Project:

Reference

Kincheloe, J. (2011). A Critical Complex Epistemology of Practice. Counterpoints, 352, 219-230. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42980820

ENGL 810 Paper 2

Does Basic Writing fit?
Where is Basic Writing’s place in higher education?
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Basic Writing has worked to establish not only its legitimacy in the academy since the 1970s (M. Shaughnessy, 1977), it has had to fight for its place in the four year university setting as well.  Threatened by administrative decisions emanating from funding concerns as well as the desire to prevent “the erosion of standards,” Basic Writing has been pushed to technical and community college campuses (Otte & Mlynarczyk, 2010, p.9), a process of “mainstreaming” where the removal of Basic Writing supposedly removes the hierarchies created by its inclusion. While this fight is nothing new, it does prompt questions.  In an interview with D. Richards, he discussed the call in Rhetoric and Composition, led by Kathleen Blake Yancey early in her editorship with CCC, for empirical-based research with intended replicable findings (personal communication, September 21, 2016).  Likewise, what empirical research can we do to establish the purpose, need, and success of Basic Writing, not just in our own views, but those of the administrators and politicians who have sought to eliminate remedial subjects?    Much of this question originated for Composition and Rhetoric at its beginning, fighting for more recognition than just a FYC in the early 1900s.  But for Basic Writing, it is less about where it exists, but if it should.  In order to convince the “decision-makers” of the need for such courses, scholars must use the language of administration, which is that of empirical evidence showing the positive effects of keeping remedial programs.

However, DeGenaro & White (2000) noted that before any designs of empirical research begin, Basic Writing scholars must establish a methodological consensus, a statement later echoed by Adler-Kassner & Harrington (2006) when they called for a “time to move beyond academic discussion.  We need to take our perspectives and our programs public: it’s time to take data in hand, with rhetorical fierceness” (p.44) because without it, “those strategies are hollow—we might even say ‘empty rhetoric’ unless they are supported by data” (p.43).  Much of the work completed before has been theoretical, a “professional dialectic” (DeGenaro & White, 2000) that provides a wealth of ideas but little hard evidence.

One area that Basic Writing has looked to for possible longitudinal studies to justify Basic Writing’s inclusion is transfer theory.  If researchers could provide data showing the skills and knowledge in Basic Writing allows for horizontal and/or vertical transfer, it would justify the inclusion of the discipline in post-secondary education.  Yet, much of the recent studies in transfer reveal just how difficult it is due to the varying requirements that need to be in place in order for transfer to be successful and thus measureable. Bergmann and Zepernick (2007) commented that students did not view writing in the FYC as the same as writing in other academic disciplines.  While students might display adaptive practices where they recognize the type of writing asked for in a particular discipline, they see this as case by case and not interconnected where skills in one will contribute to success in another.  Additionally, Wardle (2009) documented how students encountered less writing assignments that required more involved research which their FYC prepared them for.  So the ability to adapt to different contexts within each discipline does not seem to be the issue, but it is the student’s overall awareness of transfer, where skills connect across disciplines, that should be recognized.

As technological advancements continue to shape and reshape the field of education (Luke, 2004), altering how students encounter and interact with the curricula (Whitney, 2011), the need for further studies of transfer increase, especially since students build literacies in so many areas outside of the education setting.  Moore (2012) drew attention to this issue and questions, “How do complementary, parallel, and intersecting activity systems impact students’ shifts among concurrent activity systems, as well as from school to professional activity systems?”  Moore’s (2012) question eluded to “boundary-crossing,” as Donahue (2012) described as “[b]ringing ideas, concepts, or instruments from one domain into another, apparently unrelated one. . .” (p. 165). If my students actively participate in social media, how does their involvement there help them understand how to recognize audience in a composition classroom?  How do students navigate rhetorical situations in a non-academic setting, and how can educators use that knowledge in a formal academic setting?

Social Media and the Classroom
Can students’ abilities in using social media transfer to the classroom?
Photo Credit: LoboStudioHamburg

One big question in Basic Writing (should it exist and how to prove it is necessary?) has led to many investigations into transfer theory, which in turn has led to its own questions regarding what is necessary for it to take place if it happens at all.  But as more scholars study transfer theory in the classroom and understand how students successfully or unsuccessfully navigate multiple contexts that require similar, if not identical, skills and literacies,  it will begin to provide the research needed to justify Basic Writing in higher education.  More questions will certainly arise from these studies, but any living, thriving field cannot be stagnant or settled.

References

Adler-Kassner, L., & Harrington, S. (2006). In the Here and Now: Public Policy and Basic Writing. Journal Of Basic Writing (CUNY), 25(2), 27-48.  Retrieved from http://www.asu.edu/clas/english/composition/cbw/jbw.html

Bergmann, L.S. & J. Zepernick. (2007). Disciplinarity and Transfer: Students’ Perceptions of Learning to Write. Writing Program Administration 31(1-2), 124-49.  Retrieved from http://p2048-ezproxy.liberty.edu.ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=vic_liberty&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA242454181&sid=summon&asid=18038729db155c3ea2a7a3f615a65dc9

DeGenaro, W., & White, E. (2000). Going Around in Circles: Methodological Issues in Basic Writing Research. Journal of Basic Writing, 19(1), 22-35. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43739261

Donahue, C.  (2012). Transfer, Portability, Generalization: (How) Does Composition Expertise “Carry”?.  In K. Ritter & P. Kei Matsuda (Eds.), Exploring Composition Studies (pp. 145-166). Boulder, CO: UP of Colorado.

Luke, A.  (2004).  At Last: The Trouble with English. Research in the Teaching of English, 39(1), 85-95.

Moore, J. (2012). Mapping the Questions: The State of Writing-Related Transfer Research. Composition Forum, 26   Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ985810 

Otte, G., & Mlynarczyk, R. W. (2010). The Future of Basic Writing. Journal Of Basic Writing (CUNY), 29(1), 5-32. Retrieved from http://orgs.tamu-commerce.edu/cbw/cbw/JBW.html

Shaughnessy, M.  (1977).  Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing. New York: Oxford UP.

Wardle, E. (2009). “Mutt Genres” and the Goal of FYC: Can We Help Students Write the Genres of the University? College Composition and Communication, 60(4), 765-789. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40593429

Whitney, A.  (2011).  In Search of the Authentic English Classroom: Facing the Schoolishness of School.  English Education, 44(1), 51-62.

 

ENGL 810 PAB 2b

The struggle to establish and define Basic Writing has been evident for some time, and as DeGenaro and White (2000) noted in their article that Basic Writing—like the larger field of English Studies—needed more methodological common ground to create a more established place in the academy.  The field does not lack in discussion nor “professional dialectic,” but where it does fall short is a methodological consensus with clearly defined evidence that supports the ideological discussions and claims scholars are making (DeGenaro and White, 2000).   In this article, the authors focused on one of the more critical issues of the discipline: is the Basic Writing class hurting the student population by “perpetuat[ing] a hierarchy of dialects and linguistic differences” in the university? (DeGenaro and White, 2000, p. 24). This does not refer to the curriculum specifically; rather, it is the influence remedial education has on the university setting itself.  The example they provided was an exchange between Sharon Crowley and Howard Tinberg, and despite holding opposing views on “mainstreaming,” they both lack the evidence needed to “appeal to audiences—[university administration and political figures]—outside our discourse community” (DeGenaro and White, 2000, p. 27), but more importantly, they lack the methodological commonplace to make progress.  DeGenaro and White (2000) examined how this discussion had three different methodological backings, but none were the same (philosophical, experimental, historical) and could not align with one another to make progress in the conversation.  Without a clear unified methodological approach to proving the necessity of Basic Writing, the field, as their title suggested, is “going in circles.”

While “mainstreaming” itself is a current topic for Basic Writing, this article addressed the larger issue, one that is connected to the field of Composition and Rhetoric as a whole, and that is establishing consistent and thorough methodological practices to legitimize the field.  English Studies has seemingly existed apart from the STEM courses largely due to the scientific, research model most universities follow, so not only finding ways to produce quantitative research, but to replicate it, is where the field needs to be.  It needs Big Data.   Additionally, Basic Writing is not only facing the pressures of trying to establish itself as a subdiscipline through methodological consistency (DeGenaro and White, 2000), it is also trying to fight for survival amidst current discussions to move it to two-year institutions only.

Big Data
Basic Writing needs more Big Data for evidence rather than anecdotal discussion.

Though Donahue’s (2012) work was more focused on clarifying what transfer is and entails, her discussion pairs well with DeGenaro and White (2000) because the theory of transfer could potentially lead to more quantitative data in the future.  Some questions that could be addressed are how are basic writers identified?; is it because they lack certain composition skills, or do they have those skills already and cannot “transfer” them into an academic context?; do basic writers lack a metacognitive awareness of agency in multiple contexts, or is it just one?; do basic writers struggle with a particular form of transfer?  These and other questions could potentially foster some of the consistency in research DeGenaro and White (2000) called for.

References

DeGenaro, W., & White, E. (2000). Going Around in Circles: Methodological Issues in Basic Writing Research. Journal of Basic Writing, 19(1), 22-35. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43739261

Donahue, C.  (2012). Transfer, Portability, Generalization: (How) Does Composition Expertise “Carry”?.  In K. Ritter & P. Kei Matsuda (Eds.), Exploring Composition Studies (pp. 145-166). Boulder, CO: UP of Colorado.