A Political Administration: Pedagogy, Location, and Teaching Assistant Preparation

by Kinney, Kelly A

Abstract (Summary)
KINNEY, KELLY A. Ph.D. November 2005. English Language and Literature. A Political Administration: Pedagogy,Location, and Teaching assistant preparation. (300 pp.) Director of Dissertation: Sherrie L. Gradin This qualitative, participant-observation study examines the political dynamics that affect the preparation of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) by writing program administrators (WPAs) at a mid-sized public research institution, “Ridge University.” As my primary source of data, I recorded, observed, and participated in a teaching assistant preparation (TAP) seminar that prepared new teachers to teach college composition and that met twice weekly during the fall term of 2000. I also rely on data gathered in participant interviews and during GTA orientation, department meetings, graduate program colloquia, and public functions throughout the twelve-week data collection phase of this study. Building most centrally on the scholarship of James Berlin, Bruce Horner, Margaret Himley, and Laura Micciche, I represent the experiences of graduate teaching assistants and writing program administrators and analyze their material, local, political, and emotional contexts. Examining formative events that took place in the teaching assistant preparation seminar I studied, I not only interpret the different ways GTAs and WPAs responded to political approaches to writing instruction, I explore how GTAs’ and WPAs’ respective institutional political locations affected their work. Through an investigation of research data and pertinent scholarship, I argue that GTAs’ lack of institutional authority, teaching experience, and familiarity with political discourse negatively influenced their perceptions about their work. I also demonstrate the ways WPAs inhabited a split subjectivity, one that positioned them to be both disciplinary-activists and manager-disciplinarians and, as a result, caused tensions in their work. In order to combat the disaffection associated with teaching assistant preparation, I suggest that preparation initiatives proactively surface the pressures that erupt in work surrounding the teaching of writing by historicizing relationships among cultural, institutional, disciplinary, and pedagogical politics.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:teaching assistant preparation writing program administration political approaches to instruction pedagogy institutional location critique split subjectivity rhetoric and composition college g


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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