Responding to writing fluency: An activity theory analysis of teacher preparation and practices

Daliborka Crnkovic Padon, University of Texas at El Paso


This case study examines eight first-year writing teachers’ practices, philosophies, and preparation with a specific focus on responding to students’ writing fluency. The data is illustrated through the theoretical framework of Activity Theory (Engeström, 1987, 2005), showing various contradictions between the expectations of the Composition Studies field and the actual responding practices. To understand these contradictions, I also examine the position statements issued by the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), as well as the bestselling writing teacher preparation books and first-year writing student textbooks. I discuss these results through the theoretical lens of Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998) in order to explain how the field of Composition Studies as a community of practice has affected the aforementioned contradictions. The results show that the shift from product ideologies to process ideologies in the field of Composition Studies has caused a shift from one extreme (focusing almost strictly on grammatically sound products) to another extreme (focusing almost strictly on idea development). Consequently, the examined writing teacher preparation materials show a significant lack of models for teachers to assist students in the development of their writing fluency rhetorically and in the context of writing. I conclude the project by proposing three basic principles that writing teachers and writing teacher preparation programs should follow in order to facilitate and enhance responding to writing fluency issues in our linguistically diverse college composition classrooms.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Rhetoric

Recommended Citation

Crnkovic Padon, Daliborka, "Responding to writing fluency: An activity theory analysis of teacher preparation and practices" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10151173.