This page features sample proposals from previous undergraduate researcher presenters. Keep in mind that we revise the proposal guidelines each year, so always check the most recent call for proposals for current submission parameters.
York College of Pennsylvania
CCCC Undergraduate Poster Proposal for 2014 CCCC
In peer writing tutorials, writers and tutors come together to develop compositions skills. In this interaction of drafts, strategies, and encouragement, students elicit concerns about their writing. Some concerns are simple; a writer may ask with help organizing a research paper, and the tutor can provide feedback as the writer guides the session. However, some elicited concerns sneak their way into sessions that are specifically tied to self-efficacy. As a peer writing tutor, I often hear phrases such as “I’m a horrible writer” and “I suck at using commas.” In response to these statements, it does not seem enough to give empty answers such as, “Don’t worry, you’re a good writer.” How can tutors respond to these elicited concerns, keeping in mind the importance of writer self-efficacy?
At the York College of Pennsylvania Writing Center, I am conducting a research study to correlate peer tutoring strategies with specific aspects of writer self-efficacy. Each Writing Fellow at YCP has been trained to identify self-deprecating statements, and when they hear them in sessions, the tutors and their writers complete end-of-session surveys. Students answer a five-question measure of self-efficacy, ranging from confidence in grammatical skills to being recognized as a good writer. Next, tutors complete thorough descriptions of self-deprecation in their tutoring sessions, including their strategies and reflections. Data collection will end on December 17, 2013. Through patterns and correlations in these surveys, I hope to lay a foundation of practical tools for tutors to use in response to self-deprecating writers.
In “Self-Deprecation in the Writing Center: Talking Back to ‘Bad Writers,’” I hope to share my completed research through a poster presentation. The goal of my presentation is to start a conversation about self-deprecation in connection to self-efficacy in writing centers. I hope CCCC attendees can take away the strategies I develop to their own writing centers, writing tutors, and colleagues in Rhetoric and Composition. Personally, I am interested in sharing what I have learned and pursuing graduate studies in Rhetoric and Composition. Presenting undergraduate research at the CCCC will be an invaluable educational experience within this discipline. I will be able to grow as a researcher, conversing with attendees about methods and theories, and as an educator, learning from undergraduate posters of my peers and CCCC sessions.
Proposal for 2014 CCCC
For English language learners (ELLs) to achieve success and agency in learning in mainstream classrooms, teachers must establish strategies for inclusion and support. Inclusion in learning environments is not created through eradicating ELLs’ native language; rather, it happens through equitable teaching methods that allow students to reach their full potential. Engaging students in critical thinking activities, such as higher-order questioning and specific forms of class discussion and group work, can empower ELLs to speak and write about what is important to them (Cary, 2007; Faltis & Coulter, 2008; Nagappan, 2001). These activities stimulate critical thinking because they require students to think about “how” and “why,” justify their opinions to peers, and demonstrate learning in creative contexts (McNeil, 2010). Through these activities, students are intrinsically motivated to learn English to promote their own self-expression (Marinova-Todd, Marshall, & Snow, 2000; Huie & Yahya, 2003). However, teachers often struggle to implement these activities within a standardized curricular structure. How can teachers best utilize critical thinking to enhance ELLs’ English language acquisition in mainstream classrooms?
To answer this question, I conducted participant-observer case studies with three fifth-grade ELLs and their teacher. These case studies consist of observing questioning patterns in the classroom, interviewing participants, and evaluating student language development in the four domains – reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Data collection will conclude in December, but early results demonstrate how one student’s writing process uniquely represents critical thinking skills in an ELL struggling with a language barrier. Within the stages of this student’s writing process, he synthesizes information, draws connection to the real world or to abstract concepts, and applies skills learned in one writing assignment to other subject areas; however, his final writing output rarely evidences the deeper thinking he demonstrates in the process. Implications of these discrepancies will be discussed in this poster session. By March 2014, this case study, as well as other results will be fully coded and compiled into my larger thesis project.
I am interested in presenting this research at CCCC because the theme, “Open,” directly speaks to the outcomes I hope this project will have for the stakeholders involved. By working with the students on their language learning skills, they will be better able to communicate in a mainstream classroom and gain agency in their learning. By discussing these results with other researchers and scholars, education pedagogy can become progressively more open to discussion and change.