Creating a networked subjectivity for the middle school English classroom: a rhizoanalysis of writing plateaus




Wilson, Troy Allen

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Teachers have been legislatively mandated to provide "scientifically-based research" practices in schools (NCLB, 2001). As a middle school English teacher, this has proven difficult to do for many reasons, including 1) a lack of research (Reyna, 2002); 2) the field of writing is studied in a "micro way", while teachers need both a micro and a macro understanding of the field (Shuy, 1981; Moffet, 1968), and 3) the research available is difficult for teacher's to access due to it being housed in journals spread across multiple disciplinary fields. This study used Rhizoanalysis (Alvermann, 2000; Bowles, 2001; Dufresne, 2002; Eakle, 2007; Leander & Rowe, 2006; Waterhouse, 2011) to create a personalized "Networked Subjectivity" to counteract this feeling of "contemporary alienation" that can develop when instructors are unable to "cognitively map" and situate themselves within their field (Foster, 2007, p. 70), with a goal of using the knowledge gained to better inform the researcher's operational practices within the classroom. The study created the following assemblages connected to the a) act of writing and b) writing instruction: The Recursive Writing Process; The Craft of Writing: Negotiating Open and Closed Capacities Across Multiple Genres; Writer's Identity: Issues of Agency, Voice, Courage, and Psychological Development; The Writing-Reading Connection; Writing As a Social Experience; and The Role of Empathy. The findings describe the connectedness between the assemblages and offer new areas of research and classroom focus in the areas of The Writing-Reading Connection, Writing as a Social Experience, and The Role of Empathy.


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Education, Middle school, English, Writing plateaus



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching