Dissertation Abstract




An Analysis of Talk in

Four First-Year Composition Cooperative Learning Groups


Everett, Justin Edward



Degree:†††††††† Ph.D.

Year:†††††††††††† 2001

Pages:†††††††††† 265

Institution:†††† University of Oklahoma; 0169

Advisor:††††††††Michael Angelotti


Source:†††††††††† DAI, 61, no. 11A (2001): p. 4313

Standard No:††††† ISBN:0-493-01237-0


This dissertation considers the question, "in what ways do students in cooperative learning groups in First-year Composition courses create social contexts that allow positive, constructive criticism to take place?" Social constructivism assumes that meanings are created in social contexts. The semiotic systems of C. S. Peirce and F. Saussure provide an effective model for understanding such a context. Each group makes up a semiotic community in which "Social Interpretants" are formed. These are collectively-understood meanings which are generated within the group context. In this study, the Social Dynamicóthe changing context created within four CL groupsówas studied. For the purpose of this study, interviews were conducted both before and after the revision session conversations were held. In addition, the rough drafts and the final versions of the students' papers were collected. Most importantly, the revision conversations themselves were recorded and transcribed according to the Conversation Analysis methodology. The data revealed that most of the participants had prior experience with revision, and that the experience did not greatly affect their attitudes toward CL. Those that had positive group experiences in their lives generally had positive attitudes toward revision, and those who had little such experience in their personal lives responded in a negative way. Generally, participants avoided making negative comments about the work of others, and those that did tended to receive negative responses from the writers. Critical comments were typically followed by strings of negotiation and explanation. One interesting result of this study was the role that the revision sheet had on the groups. It acted as a "ghost member" and seemed to function in the place of the Authorrity of the teacher. Students also took on various roles in these groups. Many times, the roles tended to rotate, and were dictated by the revision sheet as it was passed from one group member to another. Among other things, this study demonstrated the importance of allowing CL groups to form their own identities apart from the teacher. If groups are formed early and allowed to meet together frequently, they can form their own Authorrity structures. One advantage of this is that it allows participants to become active players in the educational process.






Accession No:†††† AAI9994075

Provider:††††††† OCLC

Database:†††††††† Dissertations