Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Learning Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details


Instructions not included: How student- teacher writing conferences as naturalized practicies create barriers for first generation college students

Michelle Trim.

Teacher educators who train new writing teachers for the university level writing class tend to assume their graduate students know how to “do school.” The cultural scripts for classroom behavior, location of the teacher during a lecture and the conducting of a student-teacher writing conference are all assumed to have been internalized by the time these new recruits entered graduate studies (postgraduate in the UK). For first generation university students, what exactly has been internalized about how to “do school” will be different from their colleagues who are part of legacies of university education. There are two main points here. First, most first generation university students do not come to writing class with a genetic literacy of the classroom. Second, they do come with valuable literacies of their own that can provide them with important insights into composition pedagogy as graduate students. By seeking to denaturalize conventional teaching practices, writing teachers and teacher educators can develop literacies of the writing classroom that are both accessible to and inclusive of first-generation university students.

My presentation will include an overview of some current pedagogical rationales for the writing conference, work done on the politics of conversation between students and teachers, and suggestions of practical ways writing teachers and teacher educators may reduce barriers to success for their first generation university students.


Michelle Trim  (United States)
PhD Candidate & GTI
Humanities Dept

3rd year Ph D student in Rhetoric and Composition.

President of Graduate Student Council

  • Composition
  • Writing instruction
  • Non-traditional students
  • Multiliteracies
  • Teacher education

(30 min Conference Paper, English)