How emotion works for both instructors and students in first year composition

Traditionally, emotion was viewed as something occurring only within individuals with those emotions being expressed outwards. Emotion is now being recognized as having relational and embodied components outside of the individual. Emotion as multifaceted contributes to meaning making in first year composition because students bring with them all of the emotions they feel concerning the class as well the emotions they feel about their other classes and their lives outside of school. This results in emotion being very present in the first year composition classroom. When the instructor acknowledges and has students use emotion in a productive way, rather than ignoring or suppressing it, students’ academic writing will improve because they will know how to correctly use emotion. The purpose of this research study was to examine the use of emotion on a teaching level in first year composition (FYC) by working with instructors. The importance of how instructors understand emotion in the composition classroom space was focused on by having the participating instructors complete open-ended questionnaires and participate in focus group interviews. Results suggest instructors are aware of the many ways in which emotion is present in the FYC classroom. The participating instructors viewed emotion as a way for them to make connections with students in order for them to create an environment where students are comfortable enough to learn, experiment, and engage. Moreover, emotion was seen as a way to ensure student engagement and interest in their writing and, therefore, help improve their overall writing skills.