Collaboration and Communication in the College Composition Classroom

Date of Graduation

Summer 1999


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

George Jensen


Using teacher-research methods combined with ethnography, Jeff Krakow and I observed our classrooms for one semester to understand how the ways in which we communicate with our classes affects classroom performance and student attitudes about learning. We noticed that teachers often bring their theories into the classroom, but rarely share with the students what principles inform their classroom practice. Using a combination of composition and psychological theories, I explored my students' reaction to my assignments and comments. This allowed the students to look at their own attitudes about the writing classroom and helped them to see ways their negative attitudes about themselves and their writing hindered their progress in the classroom. I also used student feedback for reflection on my own practices, seeking to become a reflective practitioner and develop my own teaching skills to better benefit the students. When I looked at my classroom through the comments of Jeff and my students, I began to understand that the ways that I presented my theories and materials to my classes were not necessarily how they were received. By looking at ways in which communication and collaboration benefited and failed in my classroom, I will be able to open up even more channels of communication in my future classes, leading to a healthier, less threatening classroom environment conducive to honest, cooperative learning.

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Heidi Ann Skurat