Personal experience pedagogy : renewing the purpose, reviving the passion /

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Watkins, Stacia
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Middle Tennessee State University
First-year composition (FYC) standards typically encourage personal reflection and very little research in the first-semester course; however, English department instructors who are required to teach these courses are often more familiar with research writing or with their areas of research in literature, folklore, or cultural studies. This division often leaves professors feeling trapped by the required teaching of FYC or, perhaps, feeling like they are not being utilized appropriately by their department. Personal Experience Pedagogy (PEP) can bridge the gap between teaching personal writing and doing research writing.
This dissertation, an instructional design, is founded in Martin E. Ford's Motivational Systems Theory (MST) and several theories within the field of composition and rhetoric including Liberatory Pedagogy (Pablo Freire), Process Pedagogy (Peter Elbow), Audience Studies (Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford), Interpretive Communities (Stanley Fish), and Modeling (Donald Murray). The most basic principle of PEP is the instructor's ability to adapt the goals of FYC to his or her own interests.
The use of PEP encourages professors of literature, cultural studies, or any field within the English curriculum to find their comfort zone in FYC. The PEP curriculum allows professors to bring their interests---ranging from songs or poems to intriguing mathematical formulas---into the classroom as a theme.
In Chapter One, I outline the methodology of Personal Experience Pedagogy. Chapter Two, a review of the literature that inspired PEP, is divided into two sections: composition theory and education theory. Chapter Three provides a justification for the use of Personal Experience Pedagogy, outlining the course design that is applied in Chapters Four through Six. Chapters Four (popular culture), Chapter Five (literature), and Chapter Six (politics) are given as broad examples of how PEP can be applied in the classroom. Chapter Seven is a discussion of the desired results of using Personal Experience Pedagogy, based on experiences in my own FYC classes and its future implications for encouraging English Department instructors to be enthusiastic about the teaching of FYC.