Lori Beth Baker

Collaboration and gender communication traits: The negotiation of authority in a composition class

Lori Beth Baker

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1999 pp: 231
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice
  • Source: DAI-A 62/06, p. 2096, Dec 2001
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Language And Literature (0279); Education, Sociology Of (0340); Speech Communication (0459)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-493-27871-0
  • UMI Number: AAT 3017570

Abstract:

    • This dissertation studies two types of authority in collaboration — sociocultural authority and writing authority — in two contexts, the pedagogical and rhetorical approaches being forwarded by a writing instructor. Each framework implicates different roles and emphases of the students’ and teacher’s sociocultural and writing authority. A case study examined gender communication traits in the interactions between three members of a peer group and their instructor throughout a semester of a first year composition course. Collaboration on individual work was studied through the first four paper cycles, and shared-document collaboration was studied during the final paper. Each participant’s traits of connection (feminine) and status (masculine) were noted in both spoken and written collaboration throughout the writing process. The female instructor used more connection traits than status ones during collaborative time, but her total traits declined across each paper cycle as she attempted to increase the students’ senses of writing authority while decreasing her own sociocultural authority as teacher. The female instructor and female student tended to use more masculine traits of status in their written feedback to the male group members. The two male students displayed more feminine traits during the spoken collaboration than masculine ones, downplaying traditional displays of sociocultural authority attributed to males. The male student for whom English was a second language asked more questions (a feminine trait) than any one else.