A study of basic writers and their use of word processing within a holistic classroom

Donna S Armstrong, University of Pennsylvania


This study describes the process of change which occurred over the course of a semester when basic writing students began to integrate word processing into their writing processes. The study was conducted in a remedial writing course at a two year college. The study took place over the course of a fifteen week semester. Using qualitative research, this learning environment was examined through the lens of the teacher as well as through the lens of individual students. The data includes audio tapes of classroom experiences, teacher and student journals, audio taped interviews with students, and surveys of student attitudes. Several bodies of literature were consulted in relationship to this study. The literature on basic writers contributed to identifying this group of students. The literature related to computers and writing instruction illuminated the positive and negative aspects of integrating technology into the learning environment, and the literature on teacher research contributed to the research design by explaining the validity of a classroom teacher engaging in an examination of her own practice. The study revealed that these basic writing students valued using word processing for writing instruction largely because computer use was an emblem of access to the dominant culture. The nature of the holistic learning environment provided students with the ability to explore issues within their own individual writing processes. The study further revealed that the teacher's perceptions of a holistic environment expanded over the course of the semester, and a holistic environment was redefined by the teacher as a flexible learning environment which meets student needs, even if those needs call for some emphasis on direct instruction.

Subject Area

Community colleges|Language arts|Educational software

Recommended Citation

Armstrong, Donna S, "A study of basic writers and their use of word processing within a holistic classroom" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9712886.