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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


Grounded in theory that views language and writing as inextricable from the social event within which it occurs, the purpose of this ethnographic study was to explore how the dialogue produced within the context of a detracked English Language Arts (ELA) classroom contributed to students’ perceptions of their writing identity. The class consisted of a racially, socioeconomically, and academically diverse group of 12th-grade students enrolled in a suburban, public high school. Findings illustrated that writing identity was enacted through multiple iterations of literacy processes embedded in a curriculum that was culturally responsive and implemented through dialogic methods. The analysis of the data from macro, meso, and micro perspectives uncovered two predominant aspects of writing identity. First, students developed understandings of their unique individuality over time that deepened their awareness of writing identity in the writing process, or “who you are on paper.” Second, and interwoven into the first finding, the role of the teacher-student and student-student dialogue through instructional tools, particularly the writer’s notebook and peer review, played an integral role in students’ literacy learning and became another important aspect of writing identity, or “the way you write.” Although research on effective writing methodologies is prolific and valuable, there is less empirical data supporting how students’ cultural backgrounds and educational histories shape their unique writing identities. Implications of this study’s findings suggest that writing identity is a fundamental element in writing development and should be included in existing curricula for the purpose of providing all students with access to effective and equitable writing instruction.

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