Nancy Uber-Kellogg

Moments of encounter, modes of engagement: a multiple case study of four colleges and four composition instructors

Nancy Elizabeth Uber-Kellogg

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1999 pp: 527
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice
  • Source: DAI-A 60/11, p. 3995, May 2000
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Bilingual And Multicultural (0282); Education, Language And Literature (0279)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304523898
  • ISBN: 0-599-54014-1
  • UMI Number: AAT 9952046


    • Various models for empowering students through writing instruction have been offered in composition studies, yet research has shown that Native American students are among the most likely to have difficulty completing first-year writing courses. This project explored possible connections between empowerment and cross-cultural negotiation by investigating two tribal colleges, two state-run research universities that offered special sections of first-year composition courses for Native American students, and an Anglo composition instructor who taught Native Americans at each school. A relationship was found between an institution’s adoption of some Native American cultural practices and empowerment efforts that teachers deemed successful. Among these adjustments were flexibility regarding attendance and deadlines, and recognition of Native American rhetorics as they manifested in discursive practices. Similarly, a relationship was found between the teachers’ willingness to adapt their pedagogies to their students’ culturally-based guidelines for subject matter and rhetorical practices, and the teachers’ view of the students’ commitment to a class. For example, one teacher changed a writing project that asked students to write about people who had influenced them when he learned that it was forbidden to speak of those who had died. Another teacher saw that her students were steeped in the practice of storytelling, and incorporated into her classes the reading aloud of required texts. The instructors at all institutions recognized that their students continued to use the rhetorics of their cultures, so they wanted to develop their pedagogies to include instruction in Native American rhetorical practices. The teachers were resistant, however, to allowing Native Americans to participate discursively in ways that were not based on the democratic ideal of individual expression, such as deferring to elders or focusing on consensus. The teachers indicated that both they and their students were sometimes frustrated by this cultural difference, which suggested that further research into Native American rhetorics and Anglo American attachment to individual expression would be valuable.