This thesis describes and analyzes the how and why behind first-year college composition (FYC) instructors' practices for choosing and using examples for teaching writing at UCF. In educational research, developments related to cognitive load theory, analogical transfer, and worked examples reject discovery learning pedagogy, instead advocating for providing examples to aid in problem-solving. Scholars in ill-structured disciplines have studied the use of worked examples (Kyun et al.; Ondrusek et al; Rourke and Sweller), paving the way for fields such as composition studies to apply this concept in new contexts. Although composition scholarship recommends the use of models or sample texts in the practices of imitation, modeling, and genre-based pedagogies (D'Angelo; Pemberton; Dean; Dethier; Derewianka), examples have yet to be either the focus of research in the field or connected to research on learning by example or worked examples. Grounding composition instructors' current practices for using examples in theories of learning and writing instruction, my research theorizes UCF FYC instructors' purposes and practices for choosing and using examples, begins characterizing and defining worked examples in composition classrooms, and considers how they work for solving the ill-structured problem of writing. To examine these instructors' purposes and practices, I collected data through a survey, classroom observations, interviews, and course documents. When choosing and using examples, instructors' practices of providing multiple examples, noting specific elements of these examples, and revisiting and comparing examples, directly connected to their most common purposes of demonstrating assignment expectations, illustrating a genre or writing process in action, presenting possibilities of what students can do, and practicing reader response. Ultimately, I argue that, rather than simply providing students with worked examples, FYC instructors engage students in the process of "working" examples for these purposes, as their practices guide students' learning to problem-solve for upcoming assignments and future writing tasks.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Writing and Rhetoric
English; Rhetoric and Composition
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Perez, Rena, ""You Tell Me How They Work": First-Year College Composition Instructors' Purposes and Practices for Choosing and Using Worked Examples" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 115.