Thesis

"You can't sit with us": an exploration of micro communities in English 30

This thesis takes a case study approach to acknowledge the existence of micro communities in classrooms and to highlight the many purposes these communities serve for students as an important part of their learning experience. The term micro community is an adaptation of the term community of practice, which has been studied extensively by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger. By observing the micro community formed by three students in a section of English 30, we can better understand the kinds of support that students need from each other and how we, as teachers, can build practices into our classrooms that allow for such beneficial peer-to-peer interactions. In the introduction, I will introduce the three students whose micro community I observed and in the following chapter I will review the scholarship on concepts like identity construction, participation, and the underlife phenomenon in order to develop my definition for the term micro community. Chapter 3 will outline my methods for conducting my research, as well as my methods for recording data and Chapter 4 includes my interpretations of that data. Using the terms and concepts discussed in the review of the literature, I draw connections between the theories of learning discussed in Chapter 2 and the practices that I witnessed students engaging in throughout the semester. My final chapter serves as a space where I imagine ways in which micro communities can be built and maintained with intention in college writing classrooms.

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