Research Paper Proposal

05May14

Though the profession of Teacher has largely and historically been dominated by women, there is a struggle against patriarchal, hegemonic control in the classroom for female teachers of writing and composition. Struggle against masculine pedagogy and against conceptions of teaching norms are just two examples of the power conflicts female teachers encounter in their academic institutions.

As a female writing student planning to teach later on, I anticipate these issues to arise in my future. My identity as a student now, a teacher later, and a writer always is prone to crisis without insight into the topic. This paper will draw on teaching and composition theory to explore the identity and power of females in the classroom.

“Matters surrounding gender identification are complicated, fluctuating, and ripe territory for the rhetorical critic,” say Donna M. Nudd and Kristan L. Whalen in Why Feminism? (Kuypers, 258). Gender concerns the socially constructed ideas we attach to what it means to be male or female. These ideas will come along with teaching in the classroom, and may pose the complicated matters Nudd and Whalen discuss. To understand femininity takes understanding patriarchy. Globally, societies value masculine qualities such as “competition, individualism, invulnerability, rationality, and physical strength” (Kuypers, 258). Society is male-dominated, male-identified, and male-centered. This is the patriarchy Nudd and Kristan say is “entrenched in our political and value systems” (Kupers, 257).

On the other end of the gender binary patriarchy creates, femininity is made invisible and marginalized. However, in the classroom, the “connected knowing” of feministic teaching is widely promoted by theorists such as Donald A. McAndrew and Thomas J. Reigstad (McAndrew, 6). According to McAndrew and Reigstad, feminist teaching entails a collaborative relationship where caring guides tutor and writer as they work toward a common goal. Growth is the byproduct of nurturing, feminist teaching. Rather than being oppressed by a patriarchal authority that dictates the right way of writing, or the right way of teaching, authority resides in negotiation and consensus between writer and teacher.

Why theory is typically in favor of feministic teaching brings up questions about women and writing in general. Is composition study in need of a feminine revolution? Do the romanticized perception of writers and writing have to do with a feminist approach? What constrains (or develops) the role of a female tutor or teacher? How significant is power, communication, or rhetoric in the female’s classroom?

This paper attempts to answer questions such as these. It forms a theory-based argument while giving insight into an issue that writing students and teachers must address before finding success in the classroom.

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