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Wednesday, June 18 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
PSD.32 – Is Expressive Writing Transformative?

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This session invites discussion on transformative learning around writing and writing pedagogies. The presenter will provide prompts so as to invite participation. Participants will leave having shared insights on methodology, theory, pedagogy and student experiences.

For years I’ve witnessed students reporting transformation in their writing and in their perceptions of themselves as writers upon taking a foundational expressive writing course. The course assumes no prior writing experience and attracts students of all disciplines. Through weekly writing practice students acquire communications fundamentals of economy, directness, detail, voice and clarity through composing and revising creative nonfiction narratives.

My in-progress research looks at three former students’ reflections on their learning experiences and at texts they wrote, in view of their frames of reference around their self-perceptions as writers, applying Mezirow’s (1997) criteria. Two students achieved high grades and one scored below average.

I found that student experiences vary and transformative learning carries different hues. As well, the teacher must be as open to transformation themselves as to searching it out. For Fenwick (2003), this is the unpredictable nature of learning. Reflecting on these cases brought me to reflect upon my role as a teacher, considering what O’Reilley (1993) calls helping a student “find her ‘sacred center,’ the place where she stands at the crossroads of human experience.”


Wednesday June 18, 2014 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
A240 McArthur Hall

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