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Teachers' written responses to students about their writing

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Teachers' written responses to students about their writing an analysis through a motivational framework
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Garrett, B. Denise
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English language -- Composition and exercises ( lcsh )
English language -- Composition and exercises ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
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Writing is a complex endeavor, and motivating students to persist in the writing process can be difficult. Teachers' written responses to student writing is a practice that has the potential to either discourage students or motivate them to persist in the writing process. Because of their potential to discourage, it is important for teachers to consider how their written responses affect their students. The scholarship on written responses acknowledges this need and offers pertinent and valuable suggestions for framing effective written responses. Nevertheless, the suggestions only implicitly address the motivational potential of written responses. This project explores the motivational qualities and potentials of two samples of teachers' written responses through rhetorical analysis using a framework from motivational theories and discusses how the explicit application of educational motivation theories might influence teachers' written responses. The analyses find evidence illustrating how teachers' written responses might either support or frustrate students' motivation to develop their writing skills. On the basis of this evidence, I discuss the evident intersections between motivational theories and the scholarship concerning teachers' written responses, address what this implies for teachers and their responding practices, and suggest avenues for further research.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility:
by B. Denise Garrett.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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University of Colorado Denver

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Full Text
TEACHERS WRITTEN RESPONSES TO STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR WRITING:
AN ANALYSIS THROUGH A MOTIVATIONAL FRAMEWORK
by
B. Denise Garrett
B.A., University of Colorado Colorado Springs 2008
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing
2012


2012 by B. Denise Garrett
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
B. Denise Garrett
has been approved for the
Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing
by
Amy Vidali, Co-Chair
Michelle Comstock, Co-Chair
Rodney Herring
Date November 2. 2012


Garrett, B. Denise (M.A., Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing)
Teachers Written Responses to Students about Their Writing: An Analysis through a
Motivational Framework
Thesis co-directed by Assistant Professor Amy Vidali and Associate Professor Michelle
Comstock
ABSTRACT
Writing is a complex endeavor, and motivating students to persist in the writing process
can be difficult. Teachers written responses to student writing is a practice that has the
potential to either discourage students or motivate them to persist in the writing process.
Because of their potential to discourage, it is important for teachers to consider how their
written responses affect their students. The scholarship on written responses
acknowledges this need and offers pertinent and valuable suggestions for framing
effective written responses. Nevertheless, the suggestions only implicitly address the
motivational potential of written responses. This project explores the motivational
qualities and potentials of two samples of teachers written responses through rhetorical
analysis using a framework from motivational theories and discusses how the explicit
application of educational motivation theories might influence teachers written
responses. The analyses find evidence illustrating how teachers written responses might
either support or frustrate students motivation to develop their writing skills. On the
basis of this evidence, I discuss the evident intersections between motivational theories
and the scholarship concerning teachers written responses, address what this implies for
teachers and their responding practices, and suggest avenues for further research.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Michelle Comstock
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work to my husband, Gary, who has always believed in me
and whose invaluable support and encouragement made this achievement possible and to
my children for their love and encouragement.
v


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank my Chair, Amy Vidali, for her patience and support as I
worked through this project and Michelle Comstock for stepping in and providing the
help I needed to finish. I would also like to thank Rodney Herring, another member of my
committee, for his help as a reader.
My thanks also go to Traci Freeman and Debra Dew, their teaching over the years
at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs inspired me to pursue a goal to teach
writing and provided me with a strong foundation on which to stand.
vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION............................................................1
II. LITERATURE REVIEW.....................................................13
Concepts of Control.................................................14
Appraisal of Teachers Written Responses............................20
The Students Perspective...........................................26
Motivation and Teachers Written Responses..........................33
Conclusion..........................................................35
III. PRINCIPLES OF MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES..................................37
Definition of Motivation............................................39
Theoretical Perspectives of Motivation..............................45
Behaviorist Approaches..........................................46
Humanist Approaches.............................................48
Cognitive Approaches............................................53
Attribution..................................................54
Goal Orientations............................................55
Social Cognitive and Sociocultural..............................57
Conclusion..........................................................60
IV. METHODOLOGY...........................................................62
The Value of Rhetorical Analysis....................................62
Motivational Framework..............................................67
Recognized Modes of Teachers Written Responses.....................69
Rationale of Chosen Texts...........................................70
vii


Outline of Analyses.....................................................72
V. RHETORICAL ANALYSES........................................................74
Rhetorical Analysis of Sample A.........................................74
Description of Text.................................................75
Support for Goal Orientations.......................................79
Support for Self-Efficacy Beliefs...................................81
Support for Student Attributions....................................82
Support for Psychological Needs.....................................88
Support for Relatedness Needs....................................89
Support for Competence Needs.....................................91
Support for Autonomy Needs.......................................93
Conclusion..............................................................97
Rhetorical Analysis of Sample B.........................................99
Description of Text................................................100
Support for Autonomy Needs.........................................103
Support for Relatedness Needs......................................108
Support for Competence Needs and Self-Efficacy Beliefs.............110
Support for Student Attributions...................................Ill
Support for Goal Orientations......................................112
Conclusion.............................................................116
VI. DISCUSSION...............................................................118
Autonomy...............................................................123
Relatedness............................................................125
Competence, Self-Efficacy Beliefs, and Goal Orientations...............126
Implications...........................................................129
viii


Implications for Teachers and Students........................129
Implications for Practice.....................................130
Implications for Further Research.............................133
VII. CONCLUSION........................................................135
WORKS CITED............................................................137
ix


LIST OF TABLES
Table
III. 1 Types of Motivation (adapted from Ryan and Deci 72)........................43
III. 2 Motivational Theories......................................................60
IV. 3 Motivational Supports......................................................68
IV. 4 Modes of Response..........................................................70
VI. 5 Intersections Between Theories and Practice................................122
x


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
V. 1 Sample Text A (Straub Practice 139-142 reprinted with permission)..........77
V. 2 Sample Text B (Straub Practice 202-204 reprinted with permission)..........101
xi


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
SDT
ZPD
Self-Determination Theory
Zone of Proximal Development


CHAPTERI
INTRODUCTION
The essays collected in [Key Works on Teacher Response:
An Anthology] represent the dedicated efforts of two generations
of composition specialists, over the course of half a century,
to make the case that response to student writing is a meaningful
pedagogical activity. . .and the results are inconclusive.
(Knoblauch and Brannon Introduction 1)
Teacher response ... is integral to effective writing instruction
as important as any other activity or responsibility we take up
as writing teachers. (Straub Practice 245)
Students write and teachers respond: a deceptively simple formula. When students
write in the process of learning to write and teachers respond in kindthrough writing
whole life experiences from both sides meet and engage in the limited white spaces that
circumscribe the text. Students juggleor struggle withsubject matter, previous
writing experiences, and new writing experiences and expectations, and teachers enter the
game as collaborators who help students keep all the balls in the air, so to speak. The
collaboration between teacher and students that happens in the white margins of students
texts, however, as evidenced by the disparity in perspective of the above scholars, is
marked by tension. Many teachers question the value of the practice of writing responses,
especially given the amount of time required in responding to students texts. Others,
however, find writing responses to be a vital pedagogical practice, and then there are
those who are ambivalent, wondering if they are wasting their time by writing responses
or if they are cheating their students by not writing responses. Students write and teachers
respond: a complex formula indeed.
The complexity surrounding the practice of teachers writing responses to student
writing has guaranteed significant scholarly attention into the what, when, where, and
1


how of teachers responding practices. Nevertheless, the ever-changing educational
canvas requires continual study, in part because, as Richard H. Haswell reasons, the
narrow margins and narrower interlinear spaces of a student paper can expand to
encompass a large and complex arena of writer-reader interaction, an image of
incredible interactive possibility validating continued academic curiosity and focus
(Higher Education 408). Yes, as Cy Knoblauch and Lil Brannon lament, results are
inconclusive about the instructional efficacy of teachers written responses, but Nancy
Sommers reminds us that teachers written responses are students most personal, most
intimate and direct interaction with their college writing culture (Across 253). I agree
with Sommers assessment of writing responses being a practice that provides personal,
intimate, direct interactions with students and hold that writing responses to students
about their texts and their writing development is rich with powerful pedagogical
possibilities. Yet, I also know that teachers practice of writing responses1 is a study in
contrasts, at once fraught with tension, and even conflict, while at the same time rich with
pedagogical promise. Ultimately, the potential promise of pedagogical possibilities
demands continuing research, and I argue that the space surrounding the contrasts
between conflict and promise provides significant research potential to investigate the
what, when, where, and how of teachers written responses.
As a student myself, and as a teacher new to writing instruction, I have had
personal experiences with both sides of the student writing-teacher responding formula
1 There is a confusing tension in the language referring to teachers responses. Many directly state that
teachers written responses are aimed at student texts. My project assumes that teachers written responses
are a part of human interaction between teachers and students. Consequently, my references to teachers
written responses will assume that they are written to students about their writing to avoid repetition of the
long, cumbersome phrase, teachers written responses to students about their texts and their writing
development.
2


that have stimulated my interest in the tensions and motivations inherent in the practice of
writing responses. Interestingly, I have found some disquiet in the moment of putting my
pen to anothers textHow can I most effectively respond in the limited time I have with
each students paper? How can I create responses that convey clear meaning in the
limited boundaries of the page? What is the meaning I want to convey: fix this text or be
motivated to improve as a writer? Will the student understand my intention? And even,
what is my intention as I respond? This moment of disquiet prompted me to think of my
personal experiences with teachers written responses. I remember with significant
dismay my junior year of high school and the large C scrawled over my essay on The
Great Gatsby, with the teachers disdainful remark across the top: Fitzgerald ran all over
you in this essay, not understanding at all what she meant aside, this response
undermined any feelings of competence and motivated me to avoid writing as much as
possible.
The demands of school, however, kept me writing, and now I keep in a file a
paper with a response from the other end of the spectrum. This teacherwhose
reputation as a harsh critic was intimidatingwrote at the end of my essay, The kind of
paper that makes reading all of them worthwhile. I only wish Id saved it for last, as the
rest are likely to be anticlimactic. Thank you for it. His expression of praise made me
feel powerful! Yet I still wonder exactly what characteristics made the paper work so
well. My own experiences as a teacher writing responses to students echo the above
contrasts, for example, one student turned in a revised paper that showed no attention to
issues I had marked, making me wonder if he had read my responses at all. Yet another
student turned in a revision that showed significant engagement with the issues my
3


responses addressed. These contrasts piqued my interest in the rhetorical relationship that
embodies teachers intentions for their written responses and students motivation to
apply the concepts therein.
The purpose of my project, then, is to explore teachers written responses as a site
of interaction with motivational potentials. Becoming aware of motivational potentials is
a step toward teachers being able to develop responding practices that prioritize the
student through cultivating an awareness of students motivational needs. Additionally, if
one purpose of writing responses is to motivate students, then it is vital for teachers to
understand what features of written responses affect student motivation and how written
responses can support student motivation. While understanding motivational qualities of
teachers written responses is important, I cannot ignore the tensions inherent in the
practice of response.
The tension teachers feel about the efficacy and value of their written responses is
powerfully related to the students perspective of those responses. Sandra Murphy
highlights the tension in her article A Sociocultural Perspective on Teacher Response: Is
There a Student in the Room? when she notes that in the literature on teacher response,
the pervasive focus has been on what teachers say and do. Less attention has been paid to
the students' perspective and role in the processto how they react to, and what sense
they make of, their teachers' comments (79). Research abounds on how teachers
respond, what they respond to, and where teachers write their comments on the text (if at
all), but there is relatively little research on students perspectives. Some early research
did explore how students perceive written responses: for example, Richard Straub, in
Student Reactions to Teacher Comments asked what students appreciated or found
4


useful and what they found of little use and found that students appreciate specific, clear
responses that offer advice for addressing issues. More recently, however, Ann Poulos
and Mary Jane Mahoney, in Effectiveness of Feedback: The Students Perspective,
investigated student perceptions of feedback. They note that the wide range of student
comments suggests that students do not hold a homogenous view of what effective
feedback is and how it could be used, the disparity of student perceptions showing that
the definition of effective feedback needs more exploration itself (145). So, given that
written responses to student writing as feedback is vital to their writing development,
students may, in general, appreciate particular types of feedback, but their definition of
and understanding of its application is problematically varied. Even though research into
the students perspective of teachers written responses is limited, it does show that
teachers and students are both feeling tension around teachers intentions for their
responses and students understanding of those intentions, tensions that threaten the
overall efficacy of teachers written responses.
Teachers intend their responses to be meaningfulto serve intended purposes
but the variable of student understanding interferes with those purposes; nevertheless
written responses that have supportive qualities increase the possibilities of greater
student engagement with those responses. Teachers purposes for responding are
multifaceted, but ideally, the main purpose of writing responses seems perfectly clear, as
Richard Beach and Tom Friedrich, in Response to Writing from the Handbook of
Writing Research, purport: A primary purpose for responding to students writing is to
help students improve the quality of their writing, an obvious and commendable purpose
(222). Yet, as Knoblauch and Brannon observe, there is scant evidence that students
5


routinely use comments on one draft to make rhetorically important, and in the end
qualitatively superior, changes in a subsequent draft (Introduction 1). Knoblauch and
Brannon, however, also argue that responding supportively to student writing is indeed
central to enlightened instruction (Teacher Commentary 71). Obviously, focusing on
written responses ability to inspire measureable writing improvement in students texts
is problematic, but responses with a supportive purpose may have positive potential for
students and teachers. The concept that I expand on is how responding supportively can
be central to enlightened instruction. Written responses whose purpose includes support
for student efforts have the potential to ease pedagogical tensions because, even if a
student does not understand the principle the comment addresses, a written response with
supportive purpose can encourage the student to persist in revision and in developing
writing skills.
Responding to students supportively, however, is a broad concept. Consequently,
I identify one characteristic of supportive responses to explore: support for student
motivation to persist in developing writing skills. Student motivation in relation to
teachers written responses, however, is an area where there are significant gaps in
research. Interestingly, much of the research into written responses often simply assumes
they are motivating. For example, in her seminal article, Responding to Student
Writing, Sommers declares that [cjomments create the motive for doing something
different in the next draft; thoughtful comments create the motive for revising (149).
Although Sommers article was published some thirty years ago, the sentiment is still
attached to the practice of writing responsesan assumption of motivation, that
somehow comments motivate. More recently, when Straub describes the value of
6


comments at their best, he lists qualities, such as [t]hey bring key principles of the
course to life by grounding them in the students own writing, that he has illustrated
through example and analysis in his book, The Practice of Response (243). However,
toward the end of this list, Straub simply states that, [t]hey motivate (243). This brief,
declarative sentence merely makes an assumption that teachers written responses, if
created in a thoughtful, constructive manner, motivate. Problematic in both of these
declarations is the absence of the student in the actual language of sentences. Scholars
assert that teachers written responses motivate, but these statements only infer that
responses motivate students, a telling mode of expression mirroring a troubling
assumption of teachers written responses motivational qualities.
The absence of the student in Sommers and Staubs statements and the
assumption of teachers written responses as motivational reflect some of the reasons for
the disjunctions in the efficacy of teachers written responses. Todays written responses
are an evolution from early current-traditional practices of markingtypicallythe
wrong aspects of a text, and their communicative purpose was to indicate correctness of a
text, not to necessarily interact with the student. Students texts now, however, are
considered a site of teacher-student interaction, yet the student and text are often
conflated into one, a move that prioritizes the text and masks the students presence. The
titles of two representative articles illustrate this concept: Sommers Responding to
Student Writing and Haswells The Complexities of Responding to Student Writing; or
Looking for Shortcuts via the Road of Excess. If responses are written to the students
writing, then the responses are communicating with an inanimate entity. Disjunction may
occur because the teacher-student interaction is indirect, with the student left to decipher
7


the teachers meaning in her response to the text. Adding to this complexity is the
assumption that written responses serve a motivating function without an understanding
of students motivational needs. Disjunction may occur here because the assumption of
motivation ignores the fact that student motivation is affected by communicative
qualitieswritten responses can be positive, negative, commanding, supportive and
more, and these qualities affect whether the responses support student motivation or not.
These perspectives of written responses are problematic because they obscure both the
student and the students motivational needs. I resist these perspectives and hold that
students need to be prioritized and present as teachers create responses. Understanding
students motivational needs and applying that understanding in the development of
written responses can keep the student close because the responses are written in
awareness of the students needs rather than to the text.
Additionally, assuming that written responses are motivating for students is also
problematic because this lack of awareness can interfere with teachers abilities to
effectively develop motivationally productive responses. This disjunction is evident in
Summer Smiths analysis of teachers end comments through a generic lens in The
Genre of the End Comment: Conventions in Teacher Responses to Student Writing.
Like Sommers and Straub, Smith pulls an assumption of teachers written responses as
motivating into this generic perspective when she observes that a teacher can use
comments to motivate, educate, or chastise her students (250). Admittedly Smith is
analyzing generic conventions in teachers end comments, not studying the comments
motivational qualities; however, her observation shows that motivation is an assumed
power that teachers can wield through their written responses. Imbuing teachers written
8


responses with the power of motivation lends them gravity and intensity, but simply
assuming motivational potential leaves open the questions of what are students
motivational needs and what qualities of written responses have motivationally
productive potentials. One premise of my argument is that understanding how best to
wield motivational power means gaining awareness of the variables in students
motivation to learn to write and the role teachers written responses can potentially play
in supporting that motivation.
Accordingly, I advocate for gaining a greater awareness of the relationship
between teachers written responses, students, and their motivational needs. This
awareness is important, in part, because of the potential for written responses to be
students most personal, most intimate and direct interaction with their college writing
culture; however, they are also important because teachers written responses become a
lasting physical artifact representing students abilities and achievements (Sommers
Across 253). The responses teachers write in the limited margins and spaces surround a
students text can only accomplish limited purposes. Other feedback students receive
about their writingas in peer feedback and personal consultations with the teacher
offers greater opportunity for direct interaction and meaningful discussion about students
writing development that can help students address deficiencies in their writing abilities.
The responses teachers leave on students texts, however, persist over timeat least over
the semester (if the teacher requires them to keep their assignments)and provide
students with a physical artifact to which they can return for reminders and confirmation
of their developing abilities. This physical persistence combined with the limited
boundaries of students texts makes it vital for teachers to develop a strong awareness of
9


their written responses potentials in their students writing development. Developing
written responses that keep the student present by having an awareness of motivational
needs and supports offers possibilities for those responses to serve valuable purposes for
their students over time rather than just over one text.
My exploration of the motivational potentials of teachers written responses led
me to scholars who have contributed to my personal understanding of responding
practices and who have made significant contributions to the disciplines understanding
of how teachers written responses integrate into writing instruction as a whole. The
views of Brannon, Knoblauch, and Richard Straubthe scholars with whom I open this
projectbriefly illustrate two essential characteristics that drive study: an intense
dedication to improving the knowledge that underlies practice and the ability to recognize
the shortcomings that demand further investigation. Brannon and Knoblauchs research
and insight clearly point to tensions in responding practices and provide important
considerations for study. Straubs passionate insistence that writing responses is a
valuable instructional practice supported by his rigorous research and instructional works
provide a deep understanding of efficacious practices in responding. The many other
scholars who inform my work have laid a foundation of research and insight over decades
of study and practice that provides my project with a sound basis from which to inquire
into teachers responding practices and expand understanding of their potentials. Further,
the work of the scholars I refer to offer important insights into the junctions of the
teacher-student-text relationships resident in teachers written responses. While these
scholars research involves questioning, investigating, and looking for gaps in others
work, they all work toward the same goal: increasing the knowledge underlying
10


pedagogical practices toward the benefit of students and the development of their writing
abilities. My project joins this task and uses their work as support for my inquiry into the
motivational potentials of teachers responding practices.
Students write and teachers respond: simple yet complex, a juggling partnership
marked by pedagogical and research tensionsuncertainty in the value of written
responses, disjuncture between teacher intention and student perception, and limited
student perspective; yet as the most personal, most intimate and direct interaction with
college writing culture, the practice of teachers written responses, this large and
complex arena of writer-reader interaction, is open to significant pedagogical potential
(Sommers Across 253; Haswell Higher Education 408). My project investigating the
motivational potentials of teachers written responses offers possibilities of easing some
pedagogical tension. If written responses are supportive of student motivation, then they
become a valuable instructional practice; as a consciously added aspect of teachers
purpose for writing responses, motivationally supportive responses can bridge the
disjuncture between teacher intention and student perceptioneven if the student does
not understand the instructive intention, a written response framed with motivational
qualities can encourage the student to persist in trying to understand. Finally, although
my project does not empirically investigate the student perspective, it does begin a
foundation for greater involvement of the student perspective. Framing written responses
with human motivational purpose changes responding practice from an act of correcting
an inanimate text into a process that invites the presence of the student into teachers
responding moments.
11


In order to begin my exploration into the motivational potentials of teachers
written responses, I interrogate two examples of a teachers written response through a
motivational framework. This rhetorical analysis of the evident motivational qualities in
teachers written responses works to answer the following research questions: What
motivational qualities are evident in the language of specific types of teachers written
responses? And how can a motivational purpose help teachers frame written responses? I
begin my inquiry with a literature review of the scholarship addressing concerns about
teachers written responses, and then move to a discussion of principles of motivational
theories from the field of educational psychology. The method I use to analyze two
samples of teachers written responses is rhetorical analysis; however, because I use a
motivational framework developed from the discipline of educational psychology, I wait
to provide my methodology until after the literature review and the discussion of
motivational theories in order to establish concepts and vocabulary needed for the
analyses. My project will then move into the analysis of two separate responses by
teachers, not necessarily for comparison, but to provide a richer perspective of
motivational potentials in differing responding practices. I close my project by discussing
the evident intersections between theories and practice, addressing implications for
practice and suggestions for further research, and presenting my conclusions.
12


CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
Pedagogical complexities in teachers practice of writing responses to students
about their texts are evident in some of the major themes that run through the scholarship,
and my research identifies four main themes that relate to my project. The first theme
addresses multifaceted concepts of control evident in how the textual layers of student
writing and teachers comments vie for control of what the text isor is supposed to
bedoing and whether the student or the teacher is in control of the development of the
text. The next theme results from scholars interest in working to gain a greater
understanding of the rhetorical relationship between teachers written responses to
students about their writing and the complex writer-reader relationship that occurs in the
margins of student texts. Accordingly, the second theme recognized in the scholarship is
the appraisal of the characteristics of teachers written responses. Concepts of control in
and the appraisal of teachers written responses to students about their writing address the
teachers point of view, so the third theme that this literature review explores changes
perspective and attends to the students perception of teachers written responses
to/on/about their writing. The final theme of this literature review concerns research on
teachers written responses and student motivation. Finally, I acknowledge that even
though I have separated these four themes into discrete areas, in truth, concepts of control
in teachers written responses, the appraisal of teachers written responses, students
perception of teachers written comments, and the role of motivation in writing
development intertwine and are often interdependent. My research seeks to gain a greater
13


understanding of teachers written responses to student writing through exploring these
four themes independently.
Concepts of Control
The evident features in the theme of control deal with, one, the teachers role as a
responder and the amount of control teachers desire to and are expected to wield; and,
two, the responsibility of students to exercise control over their texts through applying the
guidance received from teachers written responses. Research reveals a complex
rhetorical writer-reader relationship at work between student texts and teachers written
responses, so their work strongly informs my project. The inherency of power relations in
the teacher-student relationship underlies the concepts of control that pervade the practice
of teachers writing responses to students about their texts. James Berlin acknowledges the
essential relationship between teaching practices resultant from pedagogical ideology and
the apportionment of power in the classroom, arguing that a way of teaching is never
innocent. Every pedagogy is imbricated in ideology, in a set of tacit assumptions about
what is real, what is good, what is possible, and how power ought to be distributed (23).
Teachers written response practices reflect a pedagogical ideology that underlies how a
teacher reads and responds to a student text, what aspects of writing she notices and calls
attention to, what ideas he accepts as valuable, and how much power she or he allows the
individual student to have over the text. Research and scholarship delves into the
concerns of how power relations underlie teachers written responses and the control they
exert over the students handling of their texts. This literature review traces the following
perspectives of the issues of control in teachers written responses to students about their
writing: 1) How teachers written responses appropriate student texts 2) The development
14


of strategies that moderate exertion of control over students handling of their texts 3)
How the responsibilities of teacher control necessitate reflective practice and 4) The
encouragement for students to take more control of their writing process and the
development of their writing skills.
Early response literature focuses on how teachers written responses exert control
by appropriating the students texts. In Responding to Student Writing, Nancy
Sommers recognizes that the physical intermixing of comments directed at error
correction with comments concerning idea development, organization, and other higher
order concerns complicates the priority of tasks, ultimately confusing the student and
causing her or him to lose a sense of control over the text. When the teacher
appropriates the text for the student in this way, the students perception of the text
changes from a work the student is developing into a product that the teacher recognizes
as correct (Sommers Responding 151). As Brannon and Knoblauch observe,
correcting also tends to show students that the teacher's agenda is more important than
their own, which leads students to see writing as either wrongas evidenced by the
teachers responses that over-write their text, or rightwhich is the teachers response
that over-writes their textand discourages students from investing deeper personal
effort into developing their own writing skills (On Students Rights 158). Brannon and
Knoblauch warn that allowing our own Ideal Texts to dictate choices that properly
belong to the writers compromises teachers ability to effectively help students (157).
The concept of teachers operating from an Ideal Text highlights a hierarchal divide
between teachers and students where teachers are superior and know what is right,
15


which emphasizes the teachers role while subordinating the student and usurping their
control of their texts.
The scholarship on the dangers of teachers responses appropriating student texts
prompted calls for practices that would soften overt control by teachers responses and
re-situate teachers and students roles. Chris Anson advises teachers to adopt a
reflective practice, both in the way we read students writing and of the conditions,
nature, and sources of their response to error in students' texts so as to unite response
practices with consciousness-raising and realistic, context-based instruction in the
classroom (Reflective Reading 375; Response and Social Construction 17).
Reflective practice helps teachers be aware of biases and situations that affect how they
read student texts and how they write responses to students, an awareness that allows
them to respond in more careful, productive ways for the student. Reflective practice also
brings the needs of the student to the fore and frustrates established classroom power
hierarchies. Another concept that encourages a re-situation of established classroom
hierarchies suggests that teachers equate their written responses with classroom dialogue
or with conversation. As Nina Ziv explains, comments can only be helpful if teachers
respond to student writing as a part of an ongoing dialogue, and Straub echoes, teachers
should use . comments to create a give-and-take discussion with the studenta
conversation (107; Teacher Response as Conversation 359). In this light, teachers
written comments exert less control over the student because they mimic the give-and-
take of interactive dialogue, a concept that encourages cooperation between teachers and
students and allows the student more power over what happens in her or his writing.
16


Nevertheless, scholars continue to feel that teachers written responses are
intrusive of student writing. As Straub acknowledges, [in] all comments, a teacher
intervenes in the writing and, however directly or indirectly, indicates that something
needs to be attended to (247). As a result of the understanding of teachers comments
intervening in the students writing, a pragmatic perspective emerged that inspired the
nominally intrusive concepts of minimal marking and minimal grading. Developed in
part to help teachers manage the grading workload, minimal marking and minimal
grading suggest that responses become brief marginal marks that indicate a pass or fail or
that merely identify places that need attention. Interestingly, however, both Richard
Haswellwho promotes minimal markingand Peter Elbowwho suggests minimal
gradingcontend that these minimal marks also inspire students to take more control
over the text because a less explicit response from the teacher requires more effort from
students in addressing issues in their writing. Considering these concepts togetherthe
recognition of control tensions and of response as conversation, along with the
development of minimal marking and grading strategiesreveals how teachers written
comments to student texts represent the complex push-and-pull relationship of control in
the writer-reader arena existing between teachers and students in writing instruction.
Scholars, however, do not completely suggest that teacher control over student
texts is necessarily undesirable. Inherently, teachers have authority and control in the
classroom learning situation because they have a responsibility to guide and direct
learning experiences. What is at issue in the teacher-student relationship is the amount
and type of control teachers and students individually need to wield over the text in order
for teachers to guide and students to learn. Consequently, scholars call for teachers to
17


take responsibility and make conscious and reflective choices. Cheryl Glenn and Melissa
A. Goldthwaite, in The St. Martins Guide to Teaching Writing, contend that because
they are the basis of a teachers relationship with a student, [teachers] responses to
students writing [need to] be part of a respectful conversation (115). Teachers written
responses framed as respectful conversation allows both teachers and students to have
the control they need to accomplish their tasks of guiding and learning in students
writing process. In addition, the concept of responses as conversation or dialogue
extended scholarships perspective of teachers written responses, moving to include
them as a part of the greater classroom learning situation and as an extension of teacher-
student dialogue. Carol Rutz notes, in Recovering the Conversation: A Response to
Responding to Student Writing via Across the Drafts," that Without that context,
both the atmospherics of the classroom and the local meanings established in that climate
vanish, leaving textual artifacts that reveal only part of the communicative story (257).
Teachers responses function as a part of the communication between teachers and
students in the classroom learning situation as a whole. In essence, the control exerted by
teachers written comments is one aspect in the entirety of the teacher-student
relationship, the recognition of which requires teachers to consider the potential effect of
their responses, and, equally, to recognize the students perspective as vital in the
relationship.
The vital student perspective, however, is complex, and teachers simply
relinquishing controleven through interactive, encouraging practices such as framing
responses as conversationdoes not guarantee that students will automatically reach out
and take firm control of their texts. Sommers revisits her early article Responding to
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Student Writing from just this perspective in Across the Drafts. Sommers study
concludes that even the most carefully framed feedback doesnt move students forward
as writers if they are not open to its instruction and critique, or if they dont understand
how to use their instructors comments as bridges to future writing assignments (257).
Students have responsibility in the learning process, a responsibility to be open to
instruction and to work to gain understanding for future writing requirements. The
entrenched and inherent power relations permeating the teacher-student relationship,
however, can prevent students from taking active control of their writing, so scholars,
including Straub, Elbow, and Glenn and Goldthwaite, suggest strategiessuch as having
students respond to the teachers commentsencouraging students to actively engage
with the teachers response to their writing. This serves both to help teachers see more
clearly how students are interpreting (and sometimes misinterpreting) the comments
[they] make, while also explicitly encouraging students take on the responsibilities of
being open to instruction and working to gain understanding of what is happening in their
writing (Glenn and Goldthwaite 115). The scholarship addressing control issues in
teachers written responses is valuable because it reveals how inherent teacher-student
power relations create control issues in the writer-reader arena and interrupts students
participation in control of their texts. Because of this, teachers need to not only relinquish
control through using mediating responding strategies, they also need to actively
encourage students to accept and apply control over their texts and over their own writing
development.
The above scholarship reveals the multifaceted aspects of control that permeate
teachers written responses to student writing. The physical and rhetorical features of
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teachers written comments wield controlboth undesirable and desirableover student
texts and students actions in relation to their texts. As an integral part of the teacher-
student relationship, teachers written comments to student writing need to be a part of a
thoughtful and reflective practice. Further, the inherent power dynamics that inform
teachers written responses may also be moderated by responses crafted carefully in ways
that allow and even encourage students to take beneficial power and control in the
development of their writing process. Consequently, in relation to teachers written
responses, the control teachers wield in writing instruction needs to be control of their
own responding practices in ways that encourage students to take control of their own
texts and writing skill development.
Appraisal of Teachers Written Responses
Although the appraisal of teachers written responses may seem like an academic
exercise, in truth this scholarship supports my project because modes of response
abbreviations, one word or phrasal comments, questions, and moreare, as Straub notes,
a way of talking with students about their writing and engaging them in the work as
learning writers (.Practice 71). Straub further observes that to do it well, we have to pay
attention to the ways we talk to students in our commentsthe voices we take on, the
images we create for ourselves and our students on the page (.Practice 71). Examining
how the scholarship appraises teachers written responses provides a structure for
analysis of the different ways of talking with students and the different voices and images
that teachers responses create and reveals how the different types of responses may work
to engage students in their work as learning writers.
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Efforts to understand the rhetorical effect of teachers written responses has led
researchers to appraise different modes of response through identification and
classification, a practice that inspires conflicting views. On one hand, Peggy ONeill and
Jane Mathison Fife, in Listening to Students, warn that a primary focus on the written
text in teacher response research is inadequate in explaining how the studentsthe
intended audience for those commentsread them because written comments function
within a larger contextual framework (199). The problem with de-contextualized study
of teachers written responses is that it ignores the classroom conversation surrounding
the comments and removes the student audience perspective from consideration, resulting
in an incomplete understanding of how teachers written comments are truly perceived.
On the other hand, however, Anson points to a pervasive discrepancy that makes
connecting teachers written responses with classroom context problematic: Our stated
beliefs about teaching and our descriptions of our response styles are not always reflected
in what we write on students papers (Reflective Reading 374). While written
comments may be a part of the classroom conversation, often, how teachers actually
write responses is in conflict with the teaching philosophy that underlies teachers
classroom practice.
Accordingly, teachers written comments are an aspect of the classroom
conversation, and as such need to be studied within that context; nevertheless, teachers
written comments often do not reflect teachers underlying teaching philosophy. Other
situations and contexts affect how teachers respond in a specific moment; thus a teacher
with a facilitative philosophy may sound authoritative, or a teacher who is directive in
classroom situations may offer little specific direction on paper. Consequently, the
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appraisal of how teachers written responses are identified and classified is valuable
because it provides an opportunity to inquire about the possibilities of how those
responses function rhetorically, the results of which supply a foundation for future
research that includes classroom context. This section of the literature review discusses
how the appraisal of teachers written responses reveals teachers purposes that are
evident in their response styles, how the understanding of writing as a socially
constructed, collaborative process influenced written response research, and finally
explores the move from teacher-centered comments to student-centered comments.
The appraisal of the rhetorical function of teachers written responses classifies
them by how they look on the pagefrom checks and circles to fully articulated
paragraphsand how they interact with the students text. Robert J. Connors and Andrea
A. Lunsford, in Teachers Rhetorical Comments on Students Papers, classify
comments by whether they deal with global, rhetorical, or formal issues in student
writing. Sommers and Connors and Lunsford identify the circles, lines, arrows, and
abbreviations of sp, frag, awk, that overwrite student text as typically corrective
while higher order concerns of idea development, organization, and purpose are typically
addressed through narrative responses. Straubs work takes this early identification even
further and connects a teachers focus of evaluation with a specific responding mode:
Focus Mode
Correctness Corrections
Criticism
Style Qualified Criticism
Praise
Organization Commands
Advice
Content Closed Questions
Open Questions
Context Reflective Statements (.Practice 76)
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Straubs work is important because it explicitly connects the mode of a teachers written
responses with a teachers purpose or focus of evaluation. Teacher purpose cannot be
removed from the classification of types of responses because, as Connors and Lunsford
contend rhetorical forms can tell us [much] about the purposes and attitudes of those
using them (209). How responses look on the page and how they interact with student
texts reveal teacher purposeand research that classifies teachers written responses
offers teachers an opportunity for self-reflection about their responding practices that can
ensure that their responses align with their purposes.
The work of classification, however, over-simplifies perceptions of what teachers
written responses are and what they do, in essence viewing them in binary terms, for if
they are one thing, then they must not be another. Written responses are either directive
or facilitative, negative or positive, praise or criticism, or global or local. Lunsford and
Straub do frustrate these binaries in Twelve Readers Reading, their study showing that
characterizing written responses so strictly obscures the complexities of the many factors
involved in writing responses. Lunsford and Straubs work offers the following
characterization of responses as existing on a continuum between authoritarian and
detached:
Authoritarian-------Authoritative-------Interactive-----Nondirective-------Detached
Teacher-Centered------------------------Student-Centered (188)
Lunsford and Straubs work reveals greater complexity of teachers written responses, yet
it still focuses on how teachers written responses represent the teacher on the page,
which obscures the students perspective of teachers written responses.
As research perspectives in writing instruction have responded to the
understanding of writing as a socially constructed, collaborative process, the
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identifications and characterizations of teachers written responses have also expanded
with greater inclusion of the students role, a move that more clearly reflects the teacher-
student contextual relationship. In Genre of the End Comment, Summer Smith
examines teachers written responses from a generic standpoint, identifying judging
genres that evaluate students writing and justifies grades, reader response genres that
note experience and identification, and coaching genres offering suggestions and
assistance. These characterizations of teachers written responses are significant because
they recognize that responses echo the teacher-student relationship. Part of the teachers
role is to evaluate and grade student work, so characterizing some responses as judging
genres acknowledges the context of teachers and students roles. Characterizing some
responses as reader response genres acknowledges the communicative writer-reader
context in which student texts and teachers responses reside. Finally, characterizing
some teachers written responses as coaching genres creates imagery of a working,
learning teacher-student context. The appraisal of teachers written responses from a
generic perspective expands the vision of those responses in the teacher-student
relationship dynamic from a narrow, binary view to one that includes the complexities of
the teacher-student, writer-reader relationship.
Another perspective that expands the appraisal of how teachers written responses
to student writing are identified and classified involves research in the area of general
feedback. Research on feedback encompasses all aspects of feedback, including teachers
verbal responses in the classroom, individual conferencing, and peer review. This
literature review will focus on research that deals specifically with written feedback.
Written responses as feedback are characterized by what information they provide for the
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student which emphasizes the role and needs of the student and are characterized as
formative feedback and task-oriented feedback.
Formative feedback and facilitative feedback may seem similar, but there are
some significant differences. Early response literature identifies supportive written
responses as facilitative feedback. Formative feedback differs from facilitative feedback
in that it actually offers strategies to help improve performance, whereas facilitative
feedback typically just offers encouragement. Ursula Wingate, in The Impact of
Formative Feedback on the Development of Academic Writing, states that the purpose
of formative feedback is to guide and accelerate students learning by providing them
with information about the gap between their current and the desired performance (520).
For example, formative feedback written to a student struggling to create a strong thesis
statement would be Right now the thesis statement is unclear. Develop a sentence that
clearly states your argument, (and might also ask some open-ended questions that would
help the student clarify her or his argument). Facilitative feedback might say, Continue
to work on creating a stronger thesis statement, and corrective feedback might say
Unclear thesis. Wingates study showed that formative feedback led to writing
improvement in students who attended to and applied tutors comments. Formative
feedback is student-centered, with the teachers purpose focused on providing clear
information of where the student is, where the student needs to be, and providing the
student with specific tasks that might help them bridge the gap. Scholars work to
appraise teachers written responses illustrates how identifying and classifying modes of
response increases insight into their efficacy for students.
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The work of appraisal of teachers written responses has clearly influenced the
development of understanding how responses function for students. Research expanded
the vision of responses from simple binariespositive or negative, directive or
facilitative, etc.to complex, contextualized aspects the teacher-student relationship.
Effective teachers responses are identified as those that recognize the students role in
developing their writing abilities by offering them information about their performance
and specific tasks for improvement. The theme of appraisal in the research concerning
teachers written responses has provided significant insight into how modes of response
rhetorically portray and promote the role of the teacher and the role of the student and has
led to increased understanding for support of a more active student role.
The Students Perspective
As noted above, research appraising teachers written responses has evolved from
a teacher-centered perspective to a student-centered perspective of response. However,
there is relatively limited research that deals specifically with students perspective of
teachers written responses. The literature concerned with both themes of control and
appraisal recognizes that unless students actively engage with teachers written
responses, they are not effective, no matter how carefully reflective and student-centered
they are. This section of the literature review provides insight from both research on the
students perspectives of teachers written responses and from students themselves and
addresses students desire for feedback, students desire to improve as writers, and how
the complexities of classroom power relationships influence how teachers and students
perceive and interpret textsincluding teachers responses.
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Historically there has been some effort to understand students perceptions of
teachers written responses about their texts. Thomas C. Gee found that students need
acknowledgement of improvements that the student makes, (44) and Straub conducted
a survey asking students what kind of comments they prefer and appreciatefinding that
students appreciate detailed responses that either asked open-ended questions or offered
specific strategies for revision. More recently, however, Sandra Murphy, in A
Sociocultural Perspective on Teacher Response: Is There a Student in the Room?,
recognizes that the majority of the scholarship on teachers written responses to student
writing focuses on responses from the teachers point of view, and she calls for more
research into the students reactions to teachers responses because [we] cannot make
sense of an interaction if we only hear one half of the conversation (89). Studies such as
Nina D. Zivs The Effect of Teacher Comments on the Writing of Four College
Freshman, are an example of trying to understand interaction through only hearing half
of the conversation. In an effort to establish a model for effective teacher commentary,
Ziv studied the relationship between teachers written comments and what actions
students took in revision. While she listened to the students perspective of her specific
comments, she focused on determining if the student understood the comment and was
able to apply the teachers response in revision. Understanding what students actually
do with teacher comments is valuable, but a study of this design hides students
perceptions of teachers comments what they find helpful and how the responses make
them feel about their writing efforts; in truth, students have no voice in this research.
Murphy expresses concern about studies intended to focus on the students perspective
but that in actuality silence students because their reactions are measured by the results of
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tests or by developments in their texts rather than through their voices. Nevertheless,
studies that include interviews with students show that students desire and value written
feedback about their texts.
The research showing students desire for and value of feedback about their
writing also shows that their desire and value is related both to learning engagement and
to the teacher-student relationship. Students wanting to learn about writing and about
themselves as writers value explicit, direct comments that help the students engage with
their texts in a deep manner. A student in Straubs study expresses his appreciation for a
comment showing that the teacher was deeply involved in the students subject by stating
This comment shows the teacher really had to think about what was written and didn't
just jot down a few spelling errors" (Students Reactions 100). This student,
unconsciously perhaps, recognizes that just jotting down a few spelling errorsor
corrective feedbackdeals with surface level issues and is, in ways, easier and less time
consuming than thinking about what was writtenor formulating carefully thought out
responses. Students seem more willing to engage with their subject through writing when
the teacher shows a deep interest in what the student is talking about. Yet, students do not
prefer comments that they perceive as controlling, as one student offered in response to a
directive comment: This statement shows me that the teacher won't let a student write
about his own views (Straub 103). Implicit in the students perspective is that being able
to write about his own views is important to him, suggesting that controlling comments
interfere with what this student finds important.
This is not to say, however, that students do not want to be challenged. Sommers
notes that students find critical comments valuable as long as they are able to use the
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comments to forward their writing. Criticism that mocks or scolds alienates students and
interferes with the writer-reader relationship in the complex arena of teachers written
responses. Yet, students find critical feedback that challenges them to develop their
writing skills valuable, for, as one of Sommers students observes Its tough getting
better as a writer when nobody is showing you how (Across 254). This students
comment shows that she sees teachers written comments as a guide to show her what
being a better writer means, not, necessarily, that she wants the teacher to show her how
to write by correcting a specific text. Her acknowledgement that Its tough getting better
as a writer suggests that she wants critical feedback that will help her develop as a
writer, not just to write a correct paper. Teachers written responses that challenge
students to work in the writing process and that guide students in that process create a
partnership between the teacher and the student. Sommers recognizes that the interaction
between teachers and students through written comments is rooted in partnership. When
teachers write critical comments that urge students to engage with their subject and their
writing more intensely, they engage students in a more intense relationshipas Sommers
notesin a partnership in learning that develops a student into a better writer.
Scholarship also shows that students have strong expectations about what they
need from this partnership that will guide them to be a better writer. Richard Higgins,
Peter Hartley, and Alan Skeltons study, The Conscientious Consumer: Reconsidering
the Role of Assessment Feedback in Student Learning, suggests that students are
invested in learning to write and wanteven expectcomprehensive, critical feedback.
As one of the students in their study asserts,
The minimum I think you should get is a grade and at least
three or four comments on why you got that grade, how you
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can improve ... you get little comments in the margin but I
expect to get them more fully explained at the bottom so you
can look down and see that youve done something that they
dont agree with or they think isnt very good, then you can
look at the back and see that theyve explained it a bit more,
and, like, the overall idea of where youre at really and how
you can get better. (58)
This students comment shows that he expects a certain level of response when he states
that there is at least a minimum requirement that includes not only brief marginal
comments, but also more substantive summative comments. He expects this range of
feedback so that he has the information he needs to develop as a writerto know where
youre at really and how you can get betterI could not phrase this more eloquently.
This students perspective of expecting a certain form and amount of feedback shows that
when students want to learn to write, they want guidance from a knowledgeable source
their teacherand teachers written responses to students about their writing have
powerful potential to provide that guidance.
The students perspective of the teacher-student relationship is important to
consider because the power dynamics of the classroom affect not only what teachers
write, but also how students perceive those comments. In their study of teachers
rhetorical comments on student papers, Connors and Lunsford express a disturbing
finding: Many of the comments seemed to speak to the student from empyrean heights,
delivering judgments in an apparently disinterested way (214). Comments that seem
condescending and disinterested discourage a learning partnership as described by
Sommers, but, more importantly, this type of response reinforces classroom power
relations that put the teacherholding all knowledgeabove the students, stripping them
of control and engagement in the process of learning to write. Consequently, how a
30


teachers ethos is represented in her written responses is vital to student interpretation and
perception of those responses. A student in ONeill and Fifes study describes the
comments of a teacher whose classroom ethos illustrates the other end of the spectrum:
Shes not like on the teaching level up here. She tries to be a lot closer to you to tell you
how to get into it more. . She tries to put confidence into you that youre a good writer
and that you have some writing ability in there somewhere (195). This students
perception of her teachers ethos is that she is close to the students. Obviously the student
feels that this teacher has writing authoritythe teacher as the ability to tell the student
how to get into it more, and the perception to determine writing ability in others.
However, the teachers authority in her written responses does not create an image of her
standing at empyrean heights, delivering judgments to a lowly student. This student
feels that this teacher is a knowledgeable writer in partnership with her students, and the
teachers responses reflect that ethos.
What makes student perception problematic, however, is how students are
allowed, by power relations maintained by the language of teachers written comments,
to perceive and react to those comments. In Moving beyond the Written Comment:
Narrowing the Gap between Response Practice and Research Fife and ONeill warn that
even comments that purport to be conversational can contain patterns of teacher talk
with the teacher knowing the right answer all alongreminiscent of the teachers ideal
text that Brannon and Knoblauch argue against, patterns of talk that reinforce classroom
hierarchies, subordinating students and discouraging personal engagement (312). Zivs
study offers an example of teacher talk that overrides a students voice. The student
writes, The budget crunch was felt by my school so they cut certain activities one of
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which was the track team (108). Zivs response was Rewrite this sentence intending
that he change the sentence into the active voice (108). Zivs pattern of talk is more than
simply directive; it is a pattern of command that expects obedience without discussion.
Rewrite this sentence sends the message that the teacher knows better than the student
how to express his ideas. Ziv notes that [in] retrospect it was evident that Vincents
intention in the sentence was to emphasize the words budget crunch, so the passive
voice was appropriate there, her acknowledgment revealing how teacher talk can
silence students perspectives (108). Students perspectives are voiced in their texts, so
teachers written responses need to speak back to students in conversational patterns that
invite a reply. Fife and ONeill assert that [tjeachers who choose to model writing and
response on real conversational practices instead of discourse practices that exist only in
school settings can create opportunities for students and teacher to engage in discussions
that encourage students to take an active role in establishing and reaching their
pedagogical goals (313). Teachers need to consciously frame their written response
conversations in ways that level involvement in the teacher-student, writer-reader arena
of the white spaces circumscribing students texts and allow students to participate in a
productive give-and-take situation.
Research reveals a final problematic facet of student perception: students and
teachersin part because of their inherent classroom rolesmay interpret written
responses differently, so there is potential for misunderstanding. Richard Haswell, in
The Complexities of Responding to Student Writing; or Looking for Shortcuts via the
Road to Excess, identifies the problematic situation when he observes that students and
teachers tend to consume writing quite differently. They have trouble speaking the same
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language of response because their responses to the writing itself are so far apart (n.
pag.). Haswell offers an extended paragraph of comparisons of how teachers and
students approach to writing are so far apart, a few of which follow:
Students think of writing as a maze or an obligation over
which they have no control, teachers as an activity creatively
in the hands of the writer (Tobin, 1989). Students look on
writing options as right or wrong or else an endless shelf of
choices with no way to choose, teachers as rhetorical choices
leading to the best strategy (Anson, 1989). Students take a
first interpretation as the only one, teachers as a first position
to be revised upon consideration of other interpretations
(Earthman, 1992). Students place the most importance on
vocabulary, teachers on substance (Yorio, 1989). (n. pag.)
Such significant, distant, and conflicting underlying approaches to and understanding of
the writing process interferes with teachers and students ability to communicate
effectivelyin short, students see what we write but may not hear what we say. These
conflicting approaches give cause for clear written responses that invite conversation and
that are a part of a strong classroom dialogue, practices which can moderate conflict and
bring teachers and students into closer understanding of what writing is. Although issues
of power relations and conflicts may seem insurmountable, they are not. Recognizing
problematic dynamics does not negate the positive potential of teachers written
responses to student writing; this recognition actually allows us a richer understanding of
the practice, offers greater research paradigms, and reminds us of the importance of the
student perspective.
Motivation and Teachers Written Responses
Attention to students perspective also requires addressing the relationships
between teachers written responses, students, and students motivation to persist in
33


developing writing skills. However, as noted in the Introduction, the role motivation
plays in teachers written responses has often been assumed and has not been the subject
of much research. The research that has been performed has inquired into student-
centered performance feedback and has expanded the understanding of what feedback
does for students by not just measuring whether students use the feedback or whether
their writing improves, but by also assessing how these modes of feedback affect student
self-efficacy beliefs and motivation to persist in developing writing skills. Performance
feedback describes process and progress feedback which informs students of the learning
progress they have made. Hendrien Duijnhouwers work in Feedback Effects on
Students Writing Motivation, Process and Performance shows that progress feedback
increases students self-efficacy beliefs. John Hattie and Helen Timperely, in The Power
of Feedback, explore how feedback that offers progress information, feedback that is
task oriented, and praise affects student performance and student beliefs and attitudes.
Their findings are complex, but show that these types of feedback can be effective in
specific situations for distinct goals. These studies are important for my project, not only
for the insight they give into the effectiveness of specific types of student-centered
feedback, but also because they show that student beliefs and attitudes are an important
dynamic in the effectiveness of feedback. Teachers written responses interact with
students on many levels, and student beliefs and attitudes are as important to consider as
writing achievement and performance. The research from this student-centered point of
view reveals important understanding of the quality of the student-teacher interactions
that take place in the marginal spaces surrounding student texts.
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Conclusion
The scholarship addressing teachers written response is abundant and offers
valuable perspectives that enrich this pedagogical practice. Nevertheless, there are still
pervading issues that plague our understanding of what constitutes effective written
response practices. The scholarship shows that teachers need to frame responses in a
careful, reflective, conversational manner that encourages students to accept and exert
control over their writing. It shows that teachers purposes are evident in their responses
practices, and that student-centered modes of commenting are more beneficial for
students. The scholarship also recognizes that the students perspective of teachers
written responses is vital to their value, and that performance feedback can influence
students in motivationally productive ways. What we are searching for is how to meld
these concepts in ways that are productive and beneficial for both the teacher and the
student. Research needs to address the efficacy of teachers written responses from a
broader perspective to include the environment of teacher-student relationships,
classroom dialogue, writer-reader interaction and conversation, and pedagogical concerns
and how they interface within the finite confines of the narrow margins and interlinear
spaces that circumscribe students texts, a crowded juggling game-floor, indeed.
Research into this broadened response situation needs to be focused on the
complex human relationships that are enacted in the few words and phrases of teachers
written responses. My project explores how to better enable a two-way reflective
conversation about writing between teachers and students. As noted before, teachers and
students are involved in an intricate juggling game, a process that requires purposeful
trading of perceptions and awareness. Many scholars call for one of the many purposes of
35


response to be the encouragement of students to persist in developing their writing skills.
Encouraging students can be equated with motivating them, and I argue that creating
written responses with motivational purpose can enhance and better enable the two-way
conversation between teachers and students that learning to write entails. A better
understanding of the motivational aspects of the teacher-student relationship requires
knowledge of human motivational needs, which the focus of the next chapter.
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CHAPTER III
PRINCIPLES OF MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES
Educational motivation theories are a subject of study within the broader
discipline of educational psychology. Paul R. Pintrich, at the end of his tenure as editor of
Educational Psychologist, considers the future of educational psychology and argues that
educational psychology offers value in two ways: because it improves both our
understanding of complex issues as well as offers important applications that can improve
the lives of many individuals (225). Educational psychology values research and study
of teaching and learning to advance knowledge of their complexities; however, it also
values research and study of teaching and learning toward practical applications in the
classroom. Research and study in educational psychology typically focuses on children
and adolescents in K-12 educational settings, which may complicate my application of its
findings in motivation to post-secondary composition and writing contexts. Fife and
ONeill assert, however, that researchers in composition studies need to include the
work done in K-12 education instead of isolating college writing teachers from their K-12
counterparts (Moving Beyond 315). Isolation prevents the productive exchange of
research findings and insights that leads, at the least, to duplicated efforts and, at the
worst, to limited perspectives. I further argue that teaching-learning/teacher-student
contexts and relationships requiring understanding of unique characteristics and
principles are also informed by shared human needs, beliefs, and goalswhether they
occur at elementary, secondary, or post-secondary levelwhich supports the application
of educational psychologys understanding of human motivation to the interrogation of
teachers written response practices.
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Educational psychology values empirical study located in a specific educational
context and divides its focus into differing areas, one of which is the study of student
motivation. The educational context for scientific inquiry by educational psychology
most commonly takes place in the intersections of educational commonplaces identified
by the philosopher Joseph Schwab: someone teaches something to someone else in a
setting, or the intersections of teachers, tasks, students, and settings. The study of the
psychological interplay within these commonplaces inquires into development,
difference, cognition, cognitive process, educational context, societal and cultural
perspectives, educational contexts, assessments, and most importantly for my project,
student motivation (see Handbook of Educational Psychology Second Edition).
Remembering Haswells compelling image in which the narrow margins and narrower
interlinear spaces of a student paper can expand to encompass a large and complex arena
of writer-reader interaction, reveals intersections of educational commonplaces fertile
for inquiry (Higher Education 408). Narrow margins and narrower interlinear spaces
are the setting where teachers and students interact in the task of teaching and learning
academic writing, this large and complex arena offering a rich place for inquiry into the
motivational potentials of teachers written responses.
Because I am importing concepts from a discipline outside my own, this literature
review of motivation in educational psychology will necessarily need to provide a more
comprehensive perspective. I begin by reviewing the definition of motivation in the
literature. I then briefly overview the historical development of five major theoretical
perspectives on motivation: behaviorist, humanist, cognitive, social-cognitive, and
sociocultural. I conclude with a summary of the perspectives and identification of
38


motivational constructs that provide a valuable framework for examining the
motivational potentials of teachers written responses.
Definition of Motivation
The concept of motivation is defined through multiple characteristics. Individuals
motivation to act has long been thought to derive from the meaningfulness of activities
related to daily life and society as well as to . active, rather than passive, engagement
(Perry, Turner, and Meyer 333). Active engagement with activities individuals find
meaningful is realized through internal processes, by external products, and through
contextual variables including motivational contexts in the classroom that include the
supportiveness of social and institutional structures, individual attributionsthe efforts,
perceptions of task difficulty, and effects of chance to which individuals attribute their
personal success and failure and students goal expectations and structures (see Perry,
Turner, and Meyer). A contextualized view of motivation is valuable because it
recognizes that motivation is a complex construct that is best understood within
contextual combinations of featuresboth of individuals and of external influences.
Understanding motivational variables of processes, products, and contextual
influences necessitates determining the origin of individual motivation. The origin of
individual motivationor its locus of causalityis generally distinguished between
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In Educational Psychology, Anita Woolfolk defines
intrinsic motivation as the natural human tendency to seek out and conquer challenges
as we pursue personal interests and exercise our capabilities (431). Intrinsic motivation
is associated with internal satisfaction and rewards in the pursuit of a task or activity
which an individual values and in which an individual has interest. Extrinsic motivation
39


is often characterized as the opposite of intrinsic motivation. Woolfolk defines extrinsic
motivation as externally exerted factors, such as the desire to earn a grade, avoid
punishment, [or] please the teacher . that [have] little to do with the task itself (431).
Extrinsic motivation, then, is associated with rewards and/or punishments that originate
from external sources and is not necessarily related to interest in or valuing of the activity
or task. The internal or external origination of motivation is also associated with positive
and negative responses to learning situations, with intrinsic motivation being linked to
increased academic achievement and extrinsic motivation being linked to poorer
academic achievement.
Of course, no task or activity is completely informed by intrinsic or extrinsic
motivation exclusively, so this review describes how two differing points of view
illustrate the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The first is that
motivation exists on a continuum from completely extrinsic motivation through varying
combinations of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations to completely intrinsic motivation,
with the motivation to accomplish most tasks originating both extrinsically and
intrinsically in differing levels. In Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of
Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being, Richard M. Ryan and
Edward L. Deci describe motivation through self-determined behaviors. Ryan and Deci
maintain that The fullest representations of humanity show people to be curious, vital,
and self-motivated. . .Yet it is also clear that the human spirit can be diminished or
crushed and that individuals sometimes reject growth and responsibility (68). Ryan and
Decis description of human qualities suggests that to be curious, vital, and self-
motivated is a natural state of humanityfor humans to be suggests the qualities are
40


innatebut the human spirit can be diminished or crushed by outside forcesthe
passive voice can be diminished suggesting external influence. The curious, vital, and
self-motivated qualities of humanity inspire self-determined behaviorspeople take
initiative to pursue experiences, even difficult or painful experiences, to fulfill these
intrinsic desires. Self-determined behaviors, however, can be frustrated through social
experiences that inhibit certain psychological needs, resulting in people approaching life
experiences passively, responding only to extrinsic pressures in anticipation of a reward
or in avoidance of punishment, or, in the extreme, actively shunning emotional and
physical engagement in social experiences.
Classrooms are intense social environments where extrinsic pressuressocietal,
social, and familialjuggle, or sometimes struggle, with individual intrinsic motivations
of various intensities. Teachers mediate these extrinsic pressures and intrinsic
motivations. Writing instruction adds to the complexities of the classroom environment
because it is, in itself, an activity that asks students to articulate intrinsic thoughts and
feelings and to put them on paper for extrinsic evaluation. Consequently, teachers who
teach writing need a thorough understanding of the intricate relationship between
extrinsic pressures and intrinsic needs and desires. Self-determination theory (SDT)
brings significant insights into necessary psychological supports for intrinsic motivation
amidst extrinsic pressures that are valuable for teachers, especially teachers of writing, so
a more detailed explanation of SDT is included in this definition of motivation to support
the basis of the framework used to interrogate the motivational qualities of teachers
written responses.
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In SDT, Ryan and Deci offer a model of motivation that exists on a continuum
from amotivation to intrinsic motivation. A state of amotivation is characterized by no
participation or simply going through the motions, but not valuing the activity or its
outcomes. People in a state of amotivation do not feel a sense of control or competency
and show no regulation of behavior. Next on the continuum, extrinsic motivation
provides external stimulus for action. Outside forces offer rewards and punishments for
behavior that are not necessarily connected to the value of the activity. In the educational
system, grades are a type of extrinsic motivation. While they are ostensibly an evaluative
tool, they also apply significant external pressure on students through rewardssocial
status, teacher and parental approval, and increased opportunitiesfor good grades,
and punishmentswhich are typically the converse of rewardsfor bad grades.
Extrinsic pressures, however, can be moderated through supports for intrinsic
motivational needs. As students intrinsic motivation needs are supported, external
regulations are evaluated and brought into congruence with ones other values and
needs, which leads to increased intrinsic regulation (73). Ryan and Deci identify this
state as integrated motivation. Students in this state of motivation may appreciate the
rewards that come with good grades, but they are also aware that learning to write well,
for example, will help them achieve educational or work-related goals that have an
intrinsic origin. Integrated regulation manifests many of the same processesinterest,
enjoyment, and self-satisfactionof intrinsic regulation, or self-determined behavior.
Last on the continuum is intrinsic motivation which is characterized by intrinsic
regulation of behavior, internal locus of causality, and regulatory processes of interest,
enjoyment, and self-satisfaction in activities.
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Ryan and Deci offer a visual representation that helps convey, in brief, the
complexity of the intrinsic to extrinsic motivational continuum:
T able 1 Types of Motivation (adapted from Ryan and Deci 72)
The Self-Determination Continuum Showing Types of Motivation With Their Regulatory
Styles, Loci of Causality, and Corresponding Processes
Regulatory
Styles
Perceived
Locus of
Causality
Relevant
Regulatory
Processes
Impersonal
Nonintentional
Nonvaluing,
Incompetence,
Lack of
Control
Compliance,
External
Rewards
and
Punishments
Congruence,
Awareness,
Synthesis
With Self
While Ryan and Decis model offers valuable insight into motivational processes, SDT
places intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in adversarial positions where intrinsic
motivation relates to positive regulatory processes and outcomes and extrinsic motivation
relates to negative regulatory processes and outcomes.
Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, however, do not necessarily have to
be viewed as adversarial. In Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Motivation: An
Approach/Avoidance Reformulation, Marvin V. Covington and Kimberly J. Mueller
argue for a perspective of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation as coexisting
43


independent variables that can support or undermine student achievement. In Covington
and Muellers report on their study, they note an example of a supportive relationship:
Although virtually all of our students focus on the prospects of getting a good grade,
they are also more likely to invest greater time and energy (beyond what is necessary for
a good grade) in those assignments for which there are additional tangible, yet
intrinsically oriented payoffs such as showcasing their work and sharing the personal
significance of their achievements (171). In this view, the extrinsic reward of good grades
supports students intrinsic motivation of achievement and self-discovery, so rather than
having an adversarial relationship, it is possible that extrinsic rewards can support
intrinsic motivation. Sill, as with Ryan and Decis model, intrinsic motivation is crucial
for positive engagement in tasks and activities. This is an extremely brief accounting of a
complex construct of motivation; nevertheless, Covington and Muellers perspective of
extrinsic and intrinsic motivation as independent yet interdependent aspects of motivation
increases flexibility in the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Finally, then, motivation is defined by the cognitive processes, contextual
influences, productive actions, and the locus of causality of those processes and products
that affect individuals behaviors. In Motivation to Learn, Jere Brophy offers this general
definition of motivation: Motivation is a theoretical construct used to explain the
initiation, direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of behavior (3). The initiation of
behavior is affected by intrinsic and extrinsic influences and by individuals beliefs,
values, and expectationscognitive processeswhich then lead to productive actions
the direction, intensity, persistence and quality of behavior within specific contexts.
There are, however, many variables that affect behavior, and Eric M. Anderman and
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Christopher A. Wolters, in Goals, Values, and Affect: Influences, on Student
Motivation, caution that achievement and/or performance cannot necessarily be equated
with motivation for they are each affected substantially by nonmotivational factors, such
as ability level and prior knowledge (369). In other words, individuals may perform well
simply because of greater aptitude rather than any significant interest or effort.
Nevertheless, motivation is associated with individuals willingness to engage and persist
in difficult tasks and activities. Rarely do individuals perform simply because they can.
Motivation, therefore, is a complex theoretical construct, and as such has been studied
from differing perspectives, each of which approaches the definition of motivation from a
unique perspective, but which also contributes to a comprehensive understanding of
motivation.
Theoretical Perspectives of Motivation
The five theoretical perspectives reviewed in this sectionbehaviorism,
humanism, cognitive, social cognitive, and sociocultrualinform my research in
differing ways. Writing teachers function in a model of education based in behaviorist
principles, so a review of these principles provides information about the context in
which teachers written responses function, and which teachers need to resist as they
develop responding practices. Humanist principles provide a deeper understanding of
students psychological needs while cognitive theories address the importance of
supporting students self-efficacy beliefs, attributions, and goal orientations, and social
cognitive and sociocultural theories provide an understanding of how beliefs, attributions,
and goal orientations are affected by social relationships and contexts. This overview of
main theories provides foundational concepts and fundamental vocabulary related to
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aspects of motivation directly linked to the pedagogical choices teachers make in writing
responses to students about their writing. The categorization of these motivational
perspectives is relatively general in nature and is not meant to indicate strict divisions.
Behaviorist Approaches
Early behaviorist perspectives are based in the work of B.F. Skinner which
characterized human motivation as responses to drives or needs of the physical body
rather than results of mental processes Skinner holds that what is felt or introspectively
observed is not some nonphysical world of consciousness, mind, or mental life but the
observer's own body (18). These feelings of the body respond to reinforcements, or
consequences that preserve or increase desired behaviors. Behaviorist theories are the
foundation of systems which use reinforcements in the form of external rewards and
punishments that create incentives for behavior but exist independent of specific tasks. In
an educational setting, grades, awards, honor rolls, privilegeseven stickers and teacher
praise are used as rewards to reinforce learning behaviors such as completing homework
or staying on task in the classroom. Perry, Turner, and Meyer observe that the empirical
evidence of increase or decrease in a behavior represents learning, and it simultaneously
represents motivation because knowing individuals histories of rewards helps us
understand their actions (329). Accordingly, students who complete homework and stay
on task are learning, and those who have a record of straight As are motivated, or vice
versa. The extrinsic emphasis of the behaviorist perspective is evident in its valuing of
external evidences of learning behaviors. Behaviorism perceives human beings as 2
2 The development of behaviorist theories included research on animals in a laboratory situation. Theorists
in this perspective value research based in the scientific method of gathering and analyzing empirical and
measurable evidence; however, many motivation researchers find this method limiting because it does not
account for cognitive aspects of human behavior.
46


reactive to external stimuli and focused on achieving or receiving a reinforcing reward or
avoiding a punishment rather intentionally pursuing a task for its intrinsic reward.
While the behaviorist perspective has developed to recognize individual
intentionalityindividuals intentionally acting to reach goalsit still carries an
overarching concept of control of students actions rather than supporting students
motivation. As Brophy states, behaviorists speak of using reinforcement to bring
behavior under stimulus controlwhere a stimulus reminds participants that certain
behaviors will bring positive reinforcement and undesirable behavior is contained
through non-reinforcement or punishment (3-4, emphasis in original and applies to future
Brophy references). Control of actions from this perspective lies outside of the individual
as extrinsic pressures. The example in the preceding paragraph of how a behaviorist
perspective of motivation is evident in an educational setting shows that our current
school environment is steeped in practices that reflect a behaviorist perspective. The
behaviorist approach to motivation influences my research because extrinsic motivation
is linked with poorer academicand by extrapolation, writing achievement.
Consequently, teachers face inherent tension between applying current knowledge that
intrinsic motivation supports increased academic achievement while functioning within
an educational institution founded on extrinsic motivation, and they balance within this
tension through their pedagogical choiceswhich includes written response practices.
Additionally, behaviorism is also important to my research because other motivational
perspectives developed in resistance to behaviorist principles.
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Humanist Approaches
Early humanists argued that behaviorist perspectives in which human beings are
simply reactive to their environment did not fully explain why and how individuals are
motivated to act. Humanists hold that instead of being motivated by physical needs,
people are intrinsically motivated to progress and grow. They strive to reach potentials
and interact purposefully in their environments, both to benefit themselves and others.
Humanist theories see human motivation as response to felt needs, but, nevertheless, they
do face significant critiques. Brophy notes that one major critique of needs theories is that
their reasoning is circular: students who work hard in school are said to do so because
they are high in need for achievement, and the evidence that they are high in need for
achievement is that they work hard in school (4). Behavior herestudents who work
hardis labeled but not explained, which is problematic because it does not offer any
insight into meeting needs. Nonetheless, humanist theories receive relatively widespread
support, perhaps because their emphasis on support for intrinsic needs provides insight
deemed valuable for those invested in developing and expanding human potential.
Ryan and Decis self-determination theory3 4 (SDT) is one prominent theory based
in psychological needs. Because SDT is influential in education, a study of its tenets
positively informs my research. In addition, the main concepts of SDT are echoed and
supported in other motivational perspectives, so an introduction to them at this point will
reinforce later literature.
3 Early humanist theories were developed philosophically rather than through research findings, so some
motivational theorists lend them little credence. However, there has been empirical study of the work of
Carl Rogers, an influential psychologist and leader in humanist psychology, and empirical study of the
application of his person-centered theories in educational settings.
4 Perry, Turner, and Meyer place self-determination theory within a cognitive perspective of motivation
because of their similar view of individuals as inherently self-motivated and their emphasis on intrinsic
motivation.
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SDT focuses on specific human needs and their relationship with intrinsic and
extrinsic motivation. Ryan and Deci center their research in motivation on the premise
that human beings are motivated by natural, intrinsic factors. They hold people to be
curious, vital, and self-motivated, a view of human beings as inherently motivated to be
actively engaged their environment (Ryan and Deci 68). SDT is based on the concept that
self-motivation, or motivation from an intrinsic source, is related to increased interest and
engagement and results in higher performance and persistence levels. Nevertheless,
human nature has a vulnerability to passivity, so, even though self-motivation is
natural, it needs to be supported extrinsically in order for it to flourish (Ryan and Deci
76). SDTs recognition of the interplay between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
provides valuable insight for teachers who function in educational systems based in
extrinsic motivation, but who also understand and want to maximize the benefits of
intrinsic motivation for academic achievement. Ryan and Decis theory addresses this
tension by arguing that social environments can facilitate or forestall intrinsic
motivation by supporting versus thwarting peoples innate psychological needs (71).
The social environment of the writing classroomincluding teacher-student relationships
within institutional, societal, and cultural contextscan facilitate or forestall students
intrinsic motivation to persist in the writing process by supporting versus thwarting
students innate psychological needs, which Ryan and Deci define as needs for
autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
Psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness are not necessarily
hierarchical, but there is evidence that competencerelated to self-efficacy beliefs
discussed laterand autonomy support are most effective for intrinsic motivation.
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Autonomy supportive practices allow students to have choice and control in activities.
Johnmarshall Reeve et al., in their study of Enhancing Students Engagement by
Increasing Teachers Autonomy Support found that the more teachers used autonomy
support during instruction, the more engaged were their students (147). Engagement
the intensity and quality of active involvementis an aspect of motivation, so the more
that students were allowed to make choices, the greater was their intensity and quality of
active involvement in the activities. These findings parallel the literature on teachers
written response showing that teachers written responses need to be crafted carefully in
ways that allow and even encourage students to take beneficial power and control in the
development of their writing process. Allowing choices is one way to encourage students
to take control of their writing development, so autonomy supportive responding
practices mediate the power and control issues inherent in teachers written responses
practices.
In addition to autonomy support, Ryan and Deci hold that feedback that
contributes to feelings of competencean individuals belief in their abilities increases
students motivation for action. Frank Pajares, in Self-Efficacy Beliefs, Motivation, and
Achievement in Writing: A Review of the Literature, confirms this and observes that
there is an assumption that the beliefs that students create, develop, and hold to be true
about themselves are vital forces in their success or failure in school, which can either
facilitate or forestall their intrinsic motivation to persist in learning activities (140).
Beliefs that students create, develop, and hold to be true about their ability to write, or
about their ability to address issues in their writing, are vital forces in their success or
failure in developing writing skills. Support for feelings of competencesuch as that
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given in progress or process feedback when a teacher uses written responses to inform
students of the progress they have made in developing a writing skillprovides students
with needed support for belief in their writing competency.
Competence is related to ability, but it is more than just the ability to take action;
competence includes individuals beliefs that their abilities will allow them to act
effectively in social situations. In discussing competence, Ryan and Deci maintain that
people tend to act when they feel efficacious with respect to those activities (73). This
observation connects an internal feeling of having the ability to act effectively with the
aspect of competence. Albert Bandura discusses this feeling, or internal belief, as self-
efficacy. Having self-efficacy allows people to actively make choices, regulating their
own actions rather than simply reacting to biological or environmental factors. Bandura
contends that self-efficacy is at the center of the actions people take in their lives because
people need to believe they can produce desired effects by their actions (2). Ryan and
Decis observation that the need to feel efficacious with respect to those activities
echoes Banduras contention that people need to believe they can produce desired
effects by their actionsan agreement that connects individuals internal beliefs about
their abilities with the ability to act effectively in an external, social manner.
Competence, or self-efficacy belief, is internal belief by individuals about their ability to
produce external outcomes which then influence those individuals in the actions they
choose to take.
The definition of competency, however, might be more clearly understood
through its evident outcomes. Bandura asserts that efficacy beliefs have wide-ranging
effects: Such beliefs influence the course of action people choose to pursue, how much
51


effort they put forth in given endeavors, [and] how long they will persevere in the face of
obstacles and failures (3). Self-efficacy beliefs determine how much effort students will
put into a writing assignment, and, if problems arise, self-efficacy beliefs affect students
desire to persist in trying to develop writing skills. In general, the outcomes of
individuals beliefs in their abilities to act effectively in social arenas are apparent in the
activities they choose to pursue, the amount of effort they expend in the pursuit of the
activity, and the amount of time they will dedicate to the activity in the face of problems.
Accordingly, support of students competence beliefs and autonomy is vital, but SDT
identifies students need to socially relate to others as another important aspect of
individual motivation.
The needs for autonomy and competence put emphasis on the individualthe
individual needs to be able to make choices and to feel that she or he has the ability to act
efficaciously in a social situation. The social situation, however, plays a role in individual
motivation. SDT postulates that people have a need to fit in with the group, to relate to
others in social situations. Ryan and Deci contend that people are more motivated to
pursue activities they find uninteresting or difficult if the activities are prompted,
modeled, or valued by significant others to whom they feel (or want to feel) attached or
related (73). Thus, if there are frustrating factors about an activity, significant others
parents, coaches, role models (in any field), religious leaders, counselors, and teachers
provide emotional supports through direct interaction or through modeling that facilitate
individuals intrinsic motivation to continue to engage in that activity. For example,
watching a respected athlete push through pain and exhaustion to achieve a goal can
encourage an aspiring athlete to persist in training, or desiring to emulate a valued teacher
52


can encourage a struggling student to persist in completing a difficult assignment. These
interpersonal relationships contribute to relatedness needs and individual motivation
because intrinsic motivation [is] more likely to flourish in contexts characterized by a
sense of security and relatedness (Ryan and Deci 71). In the context of writing
instruction, pedagogical practices that contribute to students sense of relatednessfor
example, respectful feedback offering students encouragement and strategies for
addressing writing issuescan provide students with a feeling of security and relatedness
to the teacher, the classroom, and the discipline of academic writing. Self-determination
theory is one example of a motivational perspective that reflects human-need centered
humanism. Other contemporary theories, however, view motivation as behaviors filtered
through thoughts rather than needs.
Cognitive Approaches
Cognitive theories of motivation, like humanist perspectives, view people as
naturally intrinsically motivated to achieve perceived potentials in many areas, including
intellectual and physical. This intrinsic motivation, however, is situated in the
individuals perceptions and information processing through wishes, urges,
expectancies, and thoughts (Perry, Turner, and Meyer 329). Again in response to
behaviorist perspectives, cognitive theorists view individuals acting in response to
internal thoughts, plans, and goals rather than, as Woolfolk notes, in whether we have
been rewarded or punished for the behavior (433). Reinforcement does play a role in
cognitive perspectives, but the effectiveness of a reinforcement is connected more to an
individuals expectations and valuing of that reinforcement rather than reacting to past
experiences with the reinforcement. From this perspective, even though a student may be
53


motivated to complete homework in anticipation of a grade reward, that student
experiences stronger intrinsic motivation to complete homework in a subject which he or
she values and in which she or he holds interest. Consequently, attaining valued
knowledge and working toward internally perceived goals reinforces the completion of
homework. Cognitive perspectives have inspired the development of theories in many
areas, but for the purposes of my project, I focus on two areas that offer principles
directly applicable to the practice of teachers written responses: attribution and goal
orientation.
Attribution. Attribution theories center around the ways people make sense of
their situations and behaviors. Eric M. Anderman and Lynley H. Anderman identify
attribution theories in Motivating Children and Adolescents in Schools, and define their
perspective of motivation as understanding how the individuals explanations,
justifications, and excuses influence motivation (Woolfolk 444). A student receiving a
failing grade on a paper may attribute the failure to his lack of effort or to his lack of
intellect, or she may attribute the failure to an adversarial relationship with the teacher or
to not being interested in the topic. Bernard Weiner characterizes three facets of
attribution theories: 1) Locus, whether the cause is internal or external to the person. For
example, attributing a successful paper to personal effort or ability is internal, while
attributing a successful paper to the instruction of the teacher is external. 2) Stability, if
the cause is stable across time and situation. For example, having a talent for writing is
stable, but writing effort is variable. 3) Controllability, the control a person has over the
cause. For example, writing effort is controllable but writing talent is not. Dale H. Schunk
and Barry J. Zimmerman maintain that [attributions are important because they have
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motivational consequences (355). When facing a writing assignment, students who feel
internally that they have the skill to meet the assignment, that they have the ability to put
effort into the assignment, and that the control they have will result in a successful paper
will be more motivated to complete the assignment and persist through revision.
Goal Orientations. While attribution accounts for the reasoning students use to
explain or justify successes and failures, goal orientations explain the reasoning students
use for pursuing achievement. Brophy notes that \i\mpliedgoals are built into activity
settingsthus, the implied goal of a class teaching writing is that students will work on
learning to write (5). Students, however, also bring their own goal orientations to the
classroom. Goal taxonomies involved specifically with education generally break goal
orientations into four categories:
1) Mastery goals: Goals students set to master abilities or tasks no matter what it
takes.
Students who set mastery goals engage more intensely with
the task, tend to have a more positive affect about
themselves, and will solicit help and use deeper learning
strategies.
2) Performance goals: Goals students set that demonstrate their abilities publicly.
Students who set performance goals are more concerned
with what the teacher and students think than with what
they are learning.
3) Work-avoidance goals: Students who have work-avoidance goals have no
personal
55


investment in pleasing others or in learning. Their goal is to
simply finish the work with as little effort as possible.
Goals students have that involve the social aspect of their lives.
goalssuch as athletics, clubs, and social status
concernscan enhance or hinder learning. Some social
goals take extra time that interfere with school work or have
agendas unrelated to learning, while otherssuch as
working in tandem with a peer group to achieve academic
goalssupport learning goals, (adapted from Schunk,
Pintrich, and Meese)
Students goal orientation has been shown to correlate with achievement outcomes,
illustrating the importance of personal goals in student motivation to learn. For my
project, however, goal orientation theories are important because teachers can directly
support students goal orientations. Brophy explains that teachers can support students
goal orientation by (a) establishing supportive relationships and collaborative learning
arrangements that encourage students to adopt learning goals and (b) minimizing the sorts
of pressures that dispose students toward performance goals or work-avoidance goals
(7). As Nancy Sommers reminds us, teachers written responses are students most
personal, most intimate and direct interaction with their college writing culture, and as
such, this intimate, direct interaction has the potential to foster supportive relationships
and collaborative arrangements toward establishing and reaching learning mastery goals
(Across 253).
4) Social goals:
Social
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Social Cognitive and Sociocultural
Social cognitive and sociocultural approaches to motivation center on how
context affects individuals motivation. While attribution and goal orientation theories are
considered cognitive motivational approaches, in truth, researchers have expanded their
understanding of these theories to include social dynamics and contexts that characterize
social cognitive and sociocultural approaches to motivation. In studying goal theory,
Lynley H. Anderman, Helen Patrick, Ludmila Z. Hruda, and Elizabeth A Linnenbrink
contend that A central tenet of goal theories is that students adoption of personal goals
is influenced, at least in part by the goal structures present in and promoted by the
classroom and broader school environment (244). Students develop goals in response to
personal needs and desires that are also affected by the social situations in which they
operate. Students in the writing classroom develop academic writing goals in part
because the activities and assignments in class are focused on academic writing outcomes
and in part because they function in an academic system that values certain writing
conventions; thus social contexts influence students goal orientations.
Social cognitive and sociocultural understandings of motivation are vital to the
basis of my project; teachers operate in and mediate among educational social contexts
and communities, and teachers written responses are a vital pedagogical practice that
reflects those contexts. Social cognitive and sociocultural theories apply contextual
dynamics to the constructs reviewed above, including self-efficacy beliefs and cognitive
motivational understanding. Consequently, I only briefly review the basic tenets of each
approach but acknowledge that my argumentunderstanding educational motivation
concepts can help teachers frame written responses that support students motivational
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needsis based on the premise that social contexts and communities are vital dynamics
in student motivation to learn to write.
Social cognitive approaches to motivation assume that interactions between
individuals, their thoughts, and their social environment are reciprocal. Dale H. Schunk
and Paul R. Pintrich note that social cognitive theorists study the development of
knowledge and the experience of affect through individuals interactions and observation
of others. In the writing classroom, individuals develop knowledge and reconcile
personal beliefs about themselves as writers and about writing as they interact with the
teacher and with peers. Self-efficacy beliefs, attributions, and goal orientations are all
moderated through the social interactions in the classroom. Social cognitive theories
emphasize the perspective of the individual, whereas sociocultural theories emphasize the
contextfor example the activities in the classroom (see Perry, Turner, and Meyer).
Sociocultural approaches to motivation reflect Vygotskys perspective of learning that
highlight individuals development of knowledge as they interact in and are supported by
communities. Perry, Turner, and Meyer explain that Participation and appropriation are
key constructs in sociocultural theories of learning and motivation, and people are not
merely products of their environments, but through their participation, create, or co-
construct, environments (332). As students participate in the writing classroom, and as
they appropriate academic writing skills, they create, or co-construct, the writing
classroom environment. Understanding student motivation to learn to write as an aspect
of their involvement with teacher and students in the classroom and as a part of a writing
community situates motivation as an aspect of the educational setting, making it less
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about intrinsic and extrinsic desires and pressures and more about the social construction
of communal beliefs, values, and expectations (see Hickey).
One highly influential motivational construct associated with sociocultural theory
is Vygotskys zone of proximal development (ZPD). Vygotsky asserts that [t]he zone of
proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the
process of maturation (33). ZPD is the opening between what students know and can
apply independently and what they can accomplish with the help of a more
knowledgeable member of the community. From a motivational standpoint, teachers must
not only provide cognitive scaffolding, but must also help students appreciate the value of
persisting in learning the targeted skills. Student motivation to continue to persist in
learning to write includes both support for learning skills and for appreciating how those
skills may transfer to other educational situations and to future contexts. ZPD is an
important concept in examining teachers written responses. Part of a teachers
responsibility in supporting students motivation to persist in the writing process is to
mediate frustration by acting in co-regulation with students and scaffolding their
learning (see McCaslin and Hickey). While brief teachers written responses may not
necessarily help students understand the value of working to bridge the gap between what
they are able to do and what they need to be able to do, they can provide students with
strategies and information that helps them actually bridge that gap; thus the narrow
margins and narrower interlinear spaces of student texts becomes a motivationally vital
site of intersections between setting, teacher, student, and task.
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Conclusion
Educational psychologys research into motivation traces motivational
perspectives from behavioral responses to physical drives, through human needs,
cognitive development and beliefs, socially constructed environments, and the
importance of sociocultural contexts. The following table illustrates these motivational
perspectives:
Table 2 Motivational Theories
Motivational Approach Behaviorist Humanist Cognitive Social Cognitive Sociocultural
Locus of Causality Extrinsic Intrinsic Intrinsic Intrinsic & Extrinsic Intrinsic
Basic Tenets People are driven by physical reactions. People are motivated by physical and emotional needs. People act in response to internal thoughts, plans, beliefs, and goals. Motivation is a part of reciprocal intrinsic qualities and extrinsic contexts. Motivation is an aspect of the educational setting.
Important Constructs Reinforcement through rewards, incentives, and punishments SDTs needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness Attributions Goal orientations Self-efficacy beliefs Social construction of attributions, goals, and beliefs ZPD
These perspectives are each important to the development of a motivational framework
from which to rhetorically examine teachers written responses. The behaviorist approach
is evident in the educational system within which composition instructors function. The
education system is based on extrinsic rewards, incentives, and punishments in the form
of grades and evaluations. Subsequent motivational approaches resist behaviorist tenets
and offer perspectives that help teachers develop pedagogical interventions to mediate the
extrinsic centricity of our education system. Consequently, the tenets of humanism,
cognitivism, social cognitivism, and socioculturalism provide specific motivational
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constructs through which to examine the motivational potentials of teachers written
responses.
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CHAPTER IV
METHODOLOGY
My project employs rhetorical analysis of two teachers written response samples
using a framework based on theories of motivational needs and supports from the field
from educational psychology. Charles Bazerman, in Standpoints: The Disciplined
Interdisciplinarity of Writing Studies, argues that one can continue to evolve a
disciplinary core problematic while engaging with the learning and perspectives of other
disciplines (19). Teachers written responses occupy a multifaceted space between
teachers and students, at once evaluative, instructive, supportive, and motivational, so
these brief marks and comments function in differing ways on various levels and have
great potential for communicative disjunction. A framework based on motivational
theories allows this rhetorical analysis to evolve the problematic teacher-text-student
disjunctions that mar the practice of writing responses through engagement with the
learning and perspectives of motivational theories. This section discusses the value of
rhetorical analysis as a means of discovering communicative potentials. It then presents
the motivational framework used to interrogate two samples of teachers written
responses and a description of general modes of written responses that inform the
analysis, provides a rationale for using the chosen texts, and concludes with an outline of
the following rhetorical analysis.
The Value of Rhetorical Analysis
Rhetorical analysis of teachers written responses is a valuable research method as
it helps us to "better understand human behavior and experience. . [and] grasp the
processes by which people construct meaning and to describe what those meanings are"
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(Bogdan and Biklen as qtd. in Castellan 5). Human behavior and experience is evident in
students texts and in teachers written responses, and together they interact rhetorically
to construct meaning, for as Haswell observes the narrow margins and narrower
interlinear spaces of a student paper can expand to encompass a large and complex arena
of writer-reader interaction (Higher Education 408). The interaction in this complex
arena is rhetorical, but rhetorical interaction, as a focus of study, is perceived from
multiple viewpoints. Sonja K. Foss, in Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration & Practice,
describes the function of rhetorical interaction as language produced through a medium
of symbols that functions in a variety of ways to allow humans to communicate with one
another, for persuasion, encouragement to action, as an opening to mutual
understanding, and for self-discovery (6). While teachers written responses are a form of
persuasion and, as this project argues, encouragement or motivation for students to take
action in their writing development, they are also a complex social interaction through
written language in which students and teachers construe and construct the meaning of
what it is to write academically. Students texts communicate a students current
understanding of what it is to write academically. Teachers written responses interact
with both the students text and the student in ways that persuade, model, invite, or that
command, correct, or even criticize in attempts to communicate the reality of what it is to
write academically. Whether the communication is successful or not, this rhetorical
interaction is a site of communicative endeavor between students and teachers to convey
and understand the meaning of what it is to write academically. Accordingly, my project
uses rhetorical analysis to investigate teachers written responses because it situates my
research directly at a site of meaning making between teachers and students.
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Rhetorical analysis of teachers written responses at the site of meaning making
between teachers and students is valuable because it prioritizes the human aspect of the
writer-reader interaction occurring in the white spaces circumscribing students texts. The
responses teachers create have the potential to lose focus on the student and to become a
reaction to the text. The multiple roles that teachers juggleevaluator, assessor, guide,
coach, readercan sometimes conflict, which affects teachers responding practices. Are
the responses meant to identify error? evaluate progress? assess grade status? provide
guidance? offer a readers response? or some combination? Enacting these multiple and
sometimes conflicting roles in the narrow margins surrounding student text is a complex
task that affects how teachers respond. Further, written responses are inherently distant
and detached from the classroom conversation as both teachers and students create and
peruse them typically in isolation. Consequently, as a student of Nancy Sommers notes,
Too often comments are written to the paper, not to the student, a communicative
action that obscures the presence of the student-author (Across 250). Rhetorical
analysis, as a study of meaning making between teachers and students, is more than a
study of texts, it is a study of the human writer-reader interaction evident in those texts.
My rhetorical analysis of teachers written responses emphasizes the evident writer-
reader interaction by keeping the student presenteven prioritizedbecause it asks how
the responses teachers create might affect students and their inherently human
motivational needs.
Inquiry into how teachers written responses might affect students motivational
needs necessitates interdisciplinary researchusing understanding of students
motivational needs gained from motivational theories in educational psychology to
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interrogate teachers written responses from the perspective of the students needs.
Interdisciplinary study is inherently problematic, as the modem academys distinctive
disciplines, with different epistemologies, strategies, procedures, and literatures, have
created distance from other disciplines ways of knowing (Bazerman Standpoints 10).
Crossing disciplinary lines means reconciling rhetorical ways of knowing, strategies, and
procedures with these aspects of educational motivation. However, I agree with
Bazermans argument that interdisciplinarity deepens inquiry and makes possible a more
comprehensive understanding of ones objects of concern (19). Applying motivational
theories from the field of educational psychology to a rhetorical analysis of teachers
written comments to students about their writing deepens inquiry into the interaction of
teachers and students in the complex writer-reader arena of the margins of student texts
and makes possible a more comprehensive understanding of the motivational potentials
of teachers written responses to students about their writing.
At this point, I acknowledge that recent scholarship calls for research of teachers
written responses within the classroom context. Fife and ONeill, in Moving Beyond the
Comment: Narrowing the Gap Between Response Practice and Research, observe that
one
problem with recent response studies is the tendency to
view comments from the researchers perspective alone,
analyzing the comments as text apart from the classroom
context that gave rise to them. These research practices are
problematic because just as they tend to study teacher
comments in a vacuum, disconnected from other teaching
practices and their collective effects on student writing, they
also tend to offer advice for pedagogical practice that envisions
teachers commenting in a vacuum, separated from the rest of
what we do as writing teachers. (301)
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I counter Fife and ONeills view for my project because this rhetorical analysis is less an
analysis of text as it is an inquiry at a site of communicative, meaning making endeavor
between teachers and students. Further, while classroom context is silent in my analysis,
the teacher-student relationship within a teaching-learning context plays a significant role
in my analysis as I ask how the practice of teachers writing responses to students about
their texts melds with teachers pedagogical purposes. My rhetorical inquiry into
teachers written responses does not function in a vacuum, but is deeply connected to
student motivation to persist in learning to writea vital aspect of the classroom context
and of the human relationships that exist around and through students texts and teachers
written responses.
Finally, rhetorical analysis allows for the integration of concepts that expand
theories concerning teachers written responses. As an interaction between the context,
heuristics, intuition, and the constraints of the person and the field, rhetorical analysis is
a creative act that allows for the development of new theories (Lauer and Asher 5). My
project is an interaction between the context of the teacher-student relationships that take
place on student texts, a motivational framework, and my intuitioninfluenced by my
personal constraints and the constraints of my field of study, rhetoric and the teaching of
writingconcerning the motivational potentials of teachers written responses, an
interaction that creates possibilities of new theories to inform teachers pedagogical
choices. Foss asserts that rhetorical criticism enable[s] us to develop a cumulative body
of research and thus to improve our practice of communication (8). This analysis reveals
important awareness about the motivational qualities and potentials in the rhetorical
relationship enacted in the margins and white spaces of students texts, revelations that
66


can help inform practice, enrich research, and improve the communicative qualities of
teachers written responses.
Motivational Framework
The motivational approaches presented earlier show that intrinsic motivation
underlies strong academic achievement and that the teacher can support and influence
students intrinsic motivation through the social context of the classroom. Research into
student motivation identifies ways that teachers pedagogical choices influence students
motivation, and there are three major areas of focus that directly intersect with the
teacher-student-task interactions within the marginal settings of students texts:
1) support for student needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness
2) support for student beliefs and attributions
3) support for student goal orientations
Furthermore, teachers written responses as individual feedback provide writing teachers
opportunity to operate in a students zone of proximal development (ZPD), that space
where students ability to successfully address a task meets their need for guidance from a
more knowledgeable member of the community and to interact with them in ways that
help them develop their fledgling abilities. Feedback with positive motivational qualities
plays a vital role in support for autonomy by helping students learn to make choices
about and to take control of their writing. It plays an important role in supporting
competence needs and self-efficacy beliefs by providing students with an understanding
of what they do well and how they can improve their weaknesses. Feedback also lets
students know where they are in relation to their goals of where they need to beand
provides strategies for reaching their goals. Finally, feedback that invokes classroom
67


dialogue and conversation supports relatedness needs as it plays a role in developing and
strengthening a classroom community relationship.
As feedback, teachers written responses have motivational potential, both
positive and negative. My analyses interrogate teachers written responses through the
following motivational framework:
T able 3 Motivational Supports
Motivational Support Needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness Self-efficacy beliefs and attributions Goal Orientations
Characteristics of supportive responses Offers and encourages choices Identifies competence, offers strategies for improvement Respectful, optimistic tone Identifies and emphasizes competence over error Attributes success to internal characteristics, unstable causes, and controllable processes Identifies where a students skill is Identifies where the skill needs to be Offers strategies for bridging the gap
My analyses explore the rhetorical aspects of two samples of teachers written responses
through examining them for evidence of the above characteristics. While the two samples
represent unique qualities and practices, they both employ modes of response commonly
recognized in the scholarship concerning teachers written responses. These modes of
responsethe techniques teachers use in writing their responses ranging from shorthand
marks of checks and circles to single words, and phrases to complete sentences and
paragraphshave communicative characteristics that have the potential to either support
or frustrate students motivational needs, and as such must be considered in these
analyses.
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Recognized Modes of Teachers Written Responses
The research into teachers written responses to students about their writing has
produced multiple characterizations of response. In 1982, Sommers Responding to
Student Writing and Brannon and Knoblauchs On Students' Rights to Their Own
Texts: A Model of Teacher Response introduced a divided perspective of response as
either directiveexplicitly dictating editing or revision tasksor facilitativeoffering
feedback and support. Straub, in The Practice of Response: Strategies for Commenting on
Student Writing, breaks written responses down into seven modes, or forms: corrections,
criticism, qualified criticism, open questions, closed questions, commands, advice, praise,
and reflective statementsa mode that is further broken down into multiple categories.
Smith introduces a unique perspective and examines responses from a genre standpoint,
identifying judging, evaluative, and coaching genres. More recent research has also
affected the characterization of written response. For example, research has shown that
students find written responses offering strategies for revision more effective.
Consequently, facilitative responseswhich offer feedback and support, but not
necessarily suggestions for revisionhas shifted to formative responses which do offer
specific suggestions for addressing issues. The list could continue; however, I have
synthesized the many characterizations of written responses into specific modes valuable
for analysis through a motivation to learn framework.
First, I identify two main categories of written responses: those that evaluate and
those that offer a readers response. Evaluative modes of responses range from directive
to formative. Directive responses consist of feedback that corrects and/or makes
commands and may offer criticism. Formative responses consist of feedback that offers
69


praise, suggestions or advice, or asks questions that foster critical thinking skills. Written
comments that offer a readers response are, typically, reflective statements or questions
from a more personal point of view. The following chart offers a breakdown of the types
of written responses that I analyze through a motivational framework:
Table 4 Modes of Response
Evaluative Readers Response
Directive Formative Reflective statements Personal questions
Corrections Commands Criticism Closed questions Open questions Suggesti ons/ Advi ce Praise
Of course, these categories of response are general because a single written response can
often have multiple characteristicsfor example, a teacher wanting to encourage a
student to further develop an idea may write, Good idea but needs further development.
A comment like this uses praise to acknowledge a strong idea and to, perhaps, soften a
command for deeper development, so although it offers praise, its purpose is more
directive because the praise simply softens a command. Consequently, my analyses focus
on the dominant features of the written responses but also discuss how a motivation to
learn framework views any intersections between the types of comments.
Rationale of Chosen Texts
The two texts I analyze are texts Straub analyzes in his book, The Practice of
Response: Strategies for Commenting on Student Writing. These texts have been refitted
into a common format, placing all comments to the side of the students texts, which
means that some textual evidence has been lost (4). Nonetheless, the conformity allows
for a more equal consideration of their rhetorical features. I chose to analyze two texts,
70


not so much to compare, but for a larger perspective of the motivational qualities and
potentials of differing modes of response and practices of responding. The two texts
represent markedly different responding styles, but they both address similar issues in the
students writing. The teacher in Sample A is concerned with her student increasing the
specificity and accuracy of the students ideas and decreasing the wordiness of her
sentences. The teacher in Sample B is concerned with his student providing more specific
and robust description of her ideas. Both texts seem to be final drafts, as neither teacher
offers suggestions or opportunities for revision. These similarities combined with the
difference in responding styles provides an increased perspective of the motivational
qualities and potentials of written responses because they provide the opportunity to
explore the rhetorical features of different approaches to similar issues.
The analyses have some limits to their scope. One limiting factor is an assumption
that these students are in a functional motivational state and not in a state of amotivation
or avoidance. Each student brings unique motivational characteristics to the classroom
situation, and part of creating written responses requires some knowledge of the
individuals motivational needs. These analyses assume the students to have some
integrated motivationthat they have integrated the goals of the classroom into their own
goal orientations. Other limitations are that there are no considerations for gender, race,
culture, disability, age, or language acquisition level. These aspects play a significant role
in how students perceive teachers written responses and in how they construct and
construe meaning, but these samples do not offer that context for consideration.
Consequently, these analyses focus on evident characteristics and provide insight that
could be applied to future research including situations with greater social context.
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Further, a limitation of these texts is that they are both responses to final drafts
while I may seem to be advocating for responses that motivate students to revise.
However, my purpose is less to analyze how teachers written responses motivate
students to revise a specific text but more to analyze how teachers written responses to
students about one text can affect their motivation to continue to develop their writing
skills as a whole. Students writing abilities develop through many writing experiences,
and teachers written responses may have the potential to affect students motivation to
persist in developing their writing skills rather than to just try to improve one text. My
analysis of the motivational potentials of these two final drafts offers insight into the role
teachers written responses play in students motivation to develop as writers rather than
the role they play in motivating students to work on a specific text. This perspective is
vital to my project because I am concerned with prioritizing the student and her or his
needs over the revision of a single text. In the end, I chose to analyze these responses to
final drafts because, rather than focusing on students interaction with one text, I want to
emphasize the potentials that teachers written responses have to motivate students as
writers.
Outline of Analyses
Each analysis begins with a copy of the text being analyzed. The text is followed
by a brief description that identifies dominant modes of response and any evident
motivational purpose. The separate analyses explore evident motivational support for
psychological needs, self-efficacy beliefs and attributions, and goal orientations;
however, because this is not a comparison, the topics of analysis are not presented in the
same order but are addressed from each texts unique perspective. After the separate
72


analyses, I examine the evident intersections between response theories, motivational
theories, and the practices in these two texts and discuss what these intersections
contribute to rhetorical theories and theories of response. This is followed by a discussion
of implications for practice and for further research.
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CHAPTER V
RHETORICAL ANALYSES
Rhetorical Analysis of Sample A
Paper 3
On Truth and Fiction
Last month on the radio, KGO news broadcasted an
interesting segment reporting that more and more individ-
uals have a need to see psychologists. What is the root of
their problem? Often it is difficulties in communicating
between husband and wife, parents and children, or even
friends and friends. People find it tough verbalizing their
thoughts and emotions clearly. In recent studies, medical
professionals have declared writing as an effective means
of therapy for individuals. It reveals to others the complex
thoughts shifting through ones mind. For a piece of writing
to be successful in conveying a message, it must elicit
emotions from the audience. An effective way of writing
to achieve desired responses is through nonfiction writing
as opposed to fiction writing.
The fact that nonfiction works mirror reality, more
credibility is established. In seeing a truthful example,
audiences are more likely to believe authors readily. That
is, in Homers The Iliad, the Greek poet paints a vivid pic-
ture of the Trojan War revealing both the brutal reality and
romanticism of war. Glorifying and graphic details of
Achilles, Agamemnon, and Hector in battle fill the poem.
However, since Greek historians know it to be a fictivc
poem, they hesitate to use the work as an accurate repre-
sentation of the Trojan War times. Rather they look to fac-
tual writers, who recorded actual data, for historical com-
prehension of the Greek times. Historians accept
No -ed for the past tense
of this verb
Wordy verb phrase
Sentence organization-
no grammatical function
for this noun phrase in
this sentence (not a
subject, an object, or an
appositive).
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Thucydidess nonfiction account of the Peloponnesian War
as valid evidence of such times. By using personal anec-
dotes, proven facts, gathered data, or real problems and
consequences, authors substantiate a claim. The authors
show, not just tell the audience their ideas. In seeing tan-
gible proof, readers can accept what authors say as genuine.
Authenticity, in the sense of a complete grounding in
reality, is what many fictional works lack. Fiction writers
produce some or all the details of a piece. The possibilities
are endless, for truth is not required. Vampires can lurk
through the dark night while werewolves cautiously hunt
prey under the bright moonlit sky. Fiction conjures up
hypothetical situations and offers speculative solutions
that do not require validity. In [Michael Crichton]1*
Jurassic Park, the author writes a story based upon an
imaginary scenario. He writes of a world where dinosaurs
are capable of exisiting. Crichton describes how scientists
discover dinosaur DNA and through a complicated
process reproduce actual dinaosaurs. In real life, scientists
have yet to discover how to reconstruct dinosaurs. Since
the book is a fictional work, the authors established his
own predicaments and explanations. Critchton does not
possess scientifically accurate information nor does he
incoporate genuine scientific theories into his work. In
their writings, authors can create characters that possess
only good attributes and live perfect lives. Fiction allows
writers to fill in blanks unanswered by facts and delete
imperfections at their own discretion. Therefore, fiction
works do not convince readers of an authors message or
idea ft* A well as nonfiction works. Readers feel that the
authors may not have actually experienced what they have
written about and therefore are not as capable of accurate-
ly depicting it.
Weak to be verbas the.
main verb in a topic sen-
tence. to be leaves little
for a prgh to argue or
support.
Wordy, unnecessary
*£hat world did exist in
the past: it's not imagi-
nary.
P
Didn 't he? Mos t good
writers base their fictions
on fact in some way.
A "so
Overgeneralieations^if
one reader feels differ-
ently. your assertion is
proven false.
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In order to convince readers, writers must* stick to
portraying all the facts precisely. Authors should not cover'
up events or omit details since these truths will exist no
matter what the authors feel towards them. Writers should
present information at surface level A. making sure not to
exaggerate or undermine it. For instance, in describing
routine, spring rain showers a writers must not characterize
it as sprinkling or pouring. It is critical for writers to strike
a balance between interpreting information and distorting
it. John Edgar Wideman in his piece Our Time discuss-
es his difficulties in taking his brothers stories for face
value: I had to root my fiction-writing self out of our
exchanges. I had to teach myself to listen. Start fresh, clear
the pipes, resist too facile an identification, tame the urge
to take off with Robbys story and make it my own (667).
Wideman demonstrates that accepting details without con-
torting them is not a simple task. People often prefer to
accept what they like instead of what is the truth. When
writing accurate experiences, writers must not add details
that suit their fancy and stray from the truth.
Truth must stand valid on its own merits, something
fiction writing does not allow for. In creating fiction, writ-
ers often lose sight of reality since they are so enveloped
in their own fantasy world. Fact and fiction become
blurred. In her work Theft Joyce Carol Oates states, A
writers authentic self, she thought, lay in his writing and
not in his life; it was the landscape of the imagination that
endured, that was really real. Mere life was the husk, the
actors performance, negligible in the long run .. . (474).
With fiction, authors can distort truth because their imag-
ination is the basis of all reality. They see their truths as
the only reality through which to live. Wideman writes:
And even if I did learn to listen, wouldnt there be a point
at which Id have to take over the telling ... Do I write to
Overgeneralizationnot
all writers convince this
wag.
A "non-fictive writers pre-
fer to Ol? choose to"
Only for accuracy
satirists and humor writ-
ers routinely exaggerate.
A Odd modification
implies superficiality,
shallowness.
Wordy it is construction,
focus.
Eschew cliches.
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escape, to make a fiction of my life? (667). He struggles
to face reality since his common method of escape is
through fiction. Writers must see that in choosing to
retreat into their own fictional world, they distance them-
selves from the reality their audience lives in.
Authors can convey a story with a powerful message
and validate the messages significance by writing in a real
context. Nonfiction develops familiarity between the read-
er and the situation, because the situation is authentic. The
audience can relate to the genuineness of the episode;
therefore, they exhibit emotions for the writer and towards
the situation. Effective writing comes down to knowing
the audience and being capable of convincing them. Wide-
man, in his piece, captivates his audience by sharing his
personal story of dealing with his brother. He shows them a
human side to a criminal. After reading the story, one is
ready to embrace Robby and forgive him for what he has
done. Had it been a fictional work, readers may have
doubted the possibility of seeing a criminal as human.
focus: abstract subject +
tnhp verb.
9n all cases? What of
Crime <£ Punishment?
Great Fxnectations?
Macbeth? the Scarlet
tetter'
Christina-
Work as a peer critiquer: you did well in reminding Chris of the WTHC crite-
rion and to note the redundancies on the paper, just as you did well to note the
tack of connection between details and topic sentences for Parnell: however, in
both cases you need to curb your desire to edit the writer's workediting is
the writer's job.
Work as a writer: you can commend yourself for having a stronger thesis
and a more organized piece here than you have had in the previous two
assignments, your paragraphs also work better with their topic sentences
here than the paragraphs in previous papers. Perhaps because you were writ-
ing from a stance of greater knowledge, using information from both our class
and your Honors 11, you had greater confidence in your material. Whatever
the reason, you can commend yourself for those improvements, further, you
are reducing the wordiness in your sentences' structures and controlling the
surface features a bit better.
To continue improving your writing, you'll need to scrutinize your devetop-
mentstill, asking yourself whether the statements you make in thewordsyou
choose to make them truly are accurate or whether they're overly general.
Learning to support generalizations both specifically and accurately is a skill
you 'll find useful regardless of discipline, but youll find that skill particularly
useful in communication, your major. Keep going in this directiononwards!
Figure 1 Sample Text A (Straub Practice 139-142 reprinted with permission)
Description of Text
The above example of a teachers written responses to a student about her writing
contains multiple modes of responses. Many of the marginal comments are corrective, for
example, No -ed for the past tense of this verb, or the direct insertion of a missing
77


comma on page 141 (Straub Practice 139). Some of the marginal responses seem to be a
readers response, but are critical of the students idea development, as in this response:
Didnt he? Most good writers base their fictions on fact in some way (140). The closed-
ended question may invite the student to consider her idea, but it does not offer the
student any idea about what a reader might need to better understand the idea. Further,
the attending remark categorically disputes the students argument, a move that puts the
response into a critical mode. Even so, as the teacher moves into a summative response,
she moves away from the directive nature of her marginal responses toward a more
formative response by offering praise and suggestions for future writing tasks. Overall,
the combined modes of response function in an evaluative context that nevertheless
strives to connect the students developing skills to her future studiesyoull find that
skill particularly useful in communication, your majorand to encourage her to Keep
going (142). The teachers move to not simply evaluate, but to also encourageor
motivatethis student in future writing growth is an important pedagogical move and
illustrates the complex interweaving of a teachers coexisting purposes to fulfill
evaluative responsibilities and to motivate students to continue to work on their writing
skills.
The summative response at the end of the paper offers some context for the
marginal responses in the text of the paper, and motivation is definitely a part of the
context of this teachers purpose. The most obvious evidence of motivational purpose is
in her last line. Keep going in this directiononwards! is an expression of confidence
in the students ability to continue to progress and is emphasized by being an exclamation
rather than just a declaration (142). Motivational purpose is also evident in how the
78


teacher phrases and places her praise. By phrasing praise as encouragement of the student
to commend herself, the teacher effectively recognizes specific moves the student
made: stronger thesis, more organization, and more effective paragraphing, while placing
developmental control of these abilities on the student by encouraging the student to
attribute these successes to herself. Specific, meaningful praise and encouraging the
student to attribute her successes to processes under the students control are motivating
moves, yet the following analysis suggests that method the teacher uses for corrective
responses, in actuality, conflicts with her motivational purpose.
Support for Goal Orientations
The main conflict between the teachers marginal corrective responses and her
motivational purpose results from a lack of support for the students goal orientations. In
the teachers summative response, she states, Further, you are reducing the wordiness in
your sentences structures and controlling the surface features a bit better (142). While
this is a response of seemingly specific praise that connects with previous work the
student has done and attempts to let the student know she is doing better in reaching a
mastery goal (or perhaps a performance goal), in truth, the teacher offers no concrete
evidence of the students progress. None of the marginal responses show the student
where she has improvedevery one points to a problem: Wordy, unnecessary, Wordy
it is construction. Focus, Focus: abstract subject + to be verb, or is an overt correction
of punctuation (140, 141). Support for goal orientations requires helping students see
where they are, where they need to be, and how they can bridge the gap. This teachers
motivational purpose and her manner of responding conflictthe teachers responses
only identify the problem of the students level of skill in sentence construction. Her
79


praise for improvement is located at the end of the paper, after the student has seen only
criticism and correction of the very qualities the teacher, conflictingly, praises. This kind
of conflict is confusing, which may frustrate this students motivation to work on more
concise sentence structures.
Support for student goal orientation and motivation would not necessarily require
more work for the teacher, but rather would require the teacher to read the students text
differently. Teachers inhabit a precarious space. In one sense, as Brannon and Knoblauch
observe, teachers view themselves as the authorities, intellectually maturer, rhetorically
more experienced, technically more expert than their apprentice writers, a valid
viewpoint (Students Rights 158). In fact, this position carries an inherent
responsibility for teachers to correct their student apprentice writers, a position which
emphasizes looking for error. In another sense, however, teachers also work to guide and
encourage their students, a position which includes authority, but that is less concerned
with correct or incorrect and is more concerned with productive development.
Adopting a position of authority as a guide means resisting an inherent error focus and
requires a delicate balance between identifying error and identifying student competence
in reaching goals. Reading for evidence of competence has more instructive and
motivational value for the student. In this specific instance, identifying one or two
effective sentences with an explanation for why they are effective would correspond with
the teachers praise in her summative comments. For example, underlining Crichton
describes how scientists discover dinosaur DNA, and responding Concise phrasing
strong subject-verb would give the teacher something to specifically refer to as
improvement in her summative comments (Straub Practice 140). She could then note that
80


she has placed a check or some other mark to identify problematic sentence structures
and suggest that the student work to develop strong subject-verb associations in those
sentences. This change of emphasis, though subtle, has greater potential for supporting
student goal orientations as it both aligns the teachers responses with her motivational
purposes and provides the student with concrete evidence of the level of her skillshe
tends toward wordinesswhere it needs to bemore concise sentence construction
and how she can achieve thatCrichton describesas evidenced in her own writing.
Support for Self-Efficacy Beliefs
The subtle move from identifying error to identifying competence also works to
better support students self-efficacy beliefs. As this example stands, the teacher provides
important confidence that the student has the ability to continue to improve her writing
skills, first by according recognition of improvements to the student: You can commend
yourself encourages the student to believe in herself and her abilities, and second by
showing confidence in future progress: To continue improving your writing suggests
the teacher believes that the student can continue her writing achievement, an assertion
that can encourage the student to believe in herself (142). Again, however, there is a
motivationally frustrating disjunction between the teachers corrective marginal
responses and her formative summary response. While general supportive expressions of
beliefI know you can do ittype of phrasing is encouraging, a students motivation
to act is better supported when [she feels] efficacious with respect to her writing tasks,
and feeling efficacious requires concrete evidence of where she writes effectively (Ryan
and Deci 73). A marginal response at the end of an effective paragraph specifically
identifying its strengths, for example effective evidence and analysis in support of topic
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sentence, would illustrate, in a powerful way, what the student did right, and, more
importantly, would provide concrete evidence of the students ability to craft an effective
paragraph. Concrete evidence shores up a students belief in her abilities, a belief with
potential to motivate this student to persist in putting effort into developing her writing
skills.
Support for Student Attributions
Student self-efficacy beliefs, vital as they are, are informed by many inputs, and
attributions play a significant role in the development of self-efficacy beliefs. Part of the
complexity of student motivation is that student attributions develop long before they
enter the classroom, and those attributions may already be dysfunctional. Nevertheless,
Schunk and Zimmerman report that dysfunctional attributions can be altered and. .
.stressing effort can lead to improved performance (355). A teachers feedback can help
students attribute their strengths and weaknesses appropriately, helping them locate their
successes in internal processes and to unstable variablesvariables that have the
possibility of change over time and situationthey can control. Thus responses would
need to attribute the above students successes with concise sentences to her internally
located efforts rather than to the external ease or difficulty of the assignment or to
classroom pressures. They would need to attribute the students success to the work she
put in, not to stable talent or even luck, and they would need to recognize the control the
student exhibits over the efforts she puts into the text. As Schunk and Zimmerman
observe, attributions can give rise to perceptions of competence or incompetence that
have motivational effects (356). Students who attribute their successes to internally
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located strengths augmented by efforts under their own control can develop stronger self-
efficacy beliefs which lead to increased motivation to write.
Analyzing the above teachers formative responses to this student in light of the
importance of student attributions to motivation reveals problematic attributions that
could interfere with this students motivation to persist in developing her writing skills.
Yes, the teacher attributes the students stronger thesis and organization to the student:
You can commend yourself for having a stronger thesis and a more organized piece
here (Straub Practice 140). The problem lies in the phrase for having. Having a
stronger thesis and organization attributes success to nothing specificthe paper simply
has a stronger thesis and organization. For a student who struggles with articulating a
specific thesis and developing an organized argument, simply identifying that the paper
has a stronger thesis and organization leaves the student with no understanding of what
led to those successes. Was it effort, or was it an accident? Or, was it the
incomprehensible but miraculous development of writing skill? Without the students
perspective, we do not know if the student made specific moves to which she, personally,
could attribute her improvement in skill, perhaps she worked with a writing consultant
from a Writing Center, or perhaps she successfully applied strategies she learned in the
classroom. Nevertheless, what we do know is that this teachers feedback conflating the
student and her textthe student has a stronger thesis and organization rather than the
text having these qualities as the result of the students effortsdoes not help the student
attribute her skill development to internal processes or controllable efforts, and thus may
actually undermine the students motivation.
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While it may seem frivolous and even harsh to ascribe motivational frustration to
one little wordhavingin a whole paragraph of formative response, my perception is
justified because the sentences that follow continue problematic attributions. The teacher
writes, Perhaps because you were writing from a stance of greater knowledge, using
information from both our class and your Honors 11, you had greater confidence in your
material. Whatever the reason, you can commend yourself for those improvements,
attributing the students improved confidence to greater knowledge and to information
gleaned from classes (140). From an attribution standpoint, knowledge is an internal
process and is less stable than talentknowledge can be increased through the
individuals controlled efforts, and this responses reference to knowledge could
potentially support student motivation through attributions to this students internal,
unstable, controllable processes. However, the phrasing of this response reverses these
attributions. A stance of greater knowledge suggests a stable construct, the word
stance creating an image of strength, yet also an image of immobility. Just as the
student is having a stronger thesis, so too is she simply speaking from a stable stance of
knowledge that results, not from her own efforts, but from information found in external
classroom sources. The phrasing of this response attributes the students greater writing
confidence to external sourcesour class and your Honors 11and stable processes
a stance of greater knowledge,which are outside of the students control and which
decrease the motivational potential of this teachers response.
Increasing the motivational potential of this response would not necessarily
require more effort from the teacher; just as the subtle move from reading for error to
reading for competence can support student self-efficacy beliefs, so, too, can a slight
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change in phrasing redirect and strengthen student attributions. When this teacher writes,
Perhaps because you were writing from a stance of greater knowledge. . you had
greater confidence in your material she seems to be praising the students greater
confidence in her material (140). In order to attribute this greater confidence to internal,
unstable, controllable processes, the teacher could write Your writing in this essay is
more confident and shows greater knowledge of your material. Commend yourself for
being able to use information you learned in our class and your Honors 1 lto write with
more confidence. This phrasing prioritizes what the student accomplishedher writing
shows greater confidencerather than burying the praise amidst uncertain attributions.
Further, this phrasing attributes the improvement, not to Whatever the reason, but to
the students use of classroom information. Thus the students success becomes a result
of her internal ability to apply classroom concepts and her efforts in that application,
skills directly under the students control. Formulating a response that positively directs
student attribution would not take more time to writethese two phrases are of
comparable lengthbut it does require teachers to consider what they are praising and to
what they are attributing student success.
The motivational concepts of student self-efficacy beliefs and attributions can
complicate teachers perception of praise, yet they can also help teachers consider what
they are praising and to what they are attributing success, ultimately enriching the
motivational role of praise in teachers written responses. As I noted in the literature
review of teachers written responses, praise is positively associated with student
performance and student beliefs and attitudes. Nevertheless, praise is not homogeneous,
nor does all praise equally support student motivation. The ever-popular praise
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sandwich approach to feedbackstart with praise, offer critique, end with praise
relegates praise to the role of softening critique, a rather passive, simplistic role for praise
that potentially leads teachers to merely try to find somethinganythingpositive to
recognize in order to soothe student affect by cushioning corrections and critique.
However, integrating motivational concepts of self-efficacy beliefs and attributions with
our understanding of effective written responses practices reveals important intersections
that complicates using praise, yet also illustrates how praise directly influenced by
student motivational supports enriches teachers written responses to students.
The intersections concerning praise between motivational concepts and teachers
written response scholarship are most evident in relation to student writing progress and
writing processes. In Effects of Person Versus Process Praise on Student Motivation:
Stability and Change in Emerging Adulthood, motivation researchers Kyla Haimovitz
and Jennifer Henderlong Corpus report on a study in which they categorize praise as
person praise or process praise. Person praise tends to recognize aspects of writing
and the student that are stable and not under a students control, for example, You are a
talented writer or, as in the text I am analyzing, You can commend yourself for having
a stronger thesis (142). Process praise, in contrast, recognizes strategies students use or
progress they make, for example, The strategies you used have helped you develop a
stronger thesis. Haimovitz and Corpus found that process praise enhances intrinsic
motivation and perceived competence more than person praise and conclude that [by]
focusing on controllable processes instead of underlying personal traits, educators have
the potential to positively influence student motivation in meaningful and lasting ways
(595, 607). Haimovitz and Corpus findings and conclusions directly relate to students
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self-efficacy beliefs and attributionsfocusing on internal, unstable, controllable
processes directs students attributions of success to aspects they control, which can
increase their self-efficacy beliefs and intrinsic motivation. The positive influence of
process praise on student motivation mirrors Hendrien Duijnhouwers and John Hattie
and Helen Timperelys research on the positive effectiveness of performance feedback on
student performance and student beliefs and attitudes. These intersections complicate
praise. No longer is praise a few nice words masquerading as a bun that cushions
critique. The intersections of motivational theory and the scholarship on teachers written
responses show that praise recognizing students internal processes, progress related to
efforts and strategy application, and evidence of the control students exert over their
writing has the potential for greater influence of student intrinsic motivation to persist in
the writing process than generic, youve put a lot of work into this, type of praise
sandwiching critique and correction.
Praise in an effort to motivate is evident in this teachers response to this students
text; however, this praise may frustrate any motivational potential because of the lack of
support for student self-efficacy beliefs or attributions. Part of the problem is that this
teachers praise rests in the summative response after all of the corrective, critical
responses that only recognize error. Even just glancing through the marginal responses
could upset the students self-efficacy beliefs because the teacher does not recognize or
identify any evidence of competence. The summative response, in contrast, is an example
of a praise sandwich, beginning with You can commend yourselfan expression of
praise for something done welland ending with Keep going in this directionan
expression of praise recognizing this students progress (142). Praise in the rest of the
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summative response is personalized and addresses specific aspects of this individual
students writing, noting improvement in thesis, organization, paragraphing, and surface
level issues before it addresses weaknesses. The prioritizing of praise in this teachers
formative response shows a desire to positively motivate this student, yet as I note above,
the praise does not rhetorically work to direct the students attributions to motivationally
significant processes, resulting in rhetorical conflict between this teachers purpose and
how the student may perceive what the teacher is saying. Although the rhetorical conflict
evident in this manner of praise may frustrate this students self-efficacy beliefs and
attributions, the general idea of praisethat the teacher recognizes success and potential
for growthmay actually moderate this conflict by supporting some of her psychological
needs.
Support for Psychological Needs
Support for students psychological needs is vital, for they underlie and permeate
students goal orientations, self-efficacy beliefs, and attributions. Ryan and Decis
research demonstrates that
[comparisons between people whose motivation is authentic
(literally, self-authored or endorsed) and those who are merely
externally controlled for an action typically reveal that the former,
relative to the latter, have more interest, excitement, and confidence,
which in turn is manifest as . enhanced performance, persistence,
and creativity. . This is so even when the people have
the same level of perceived competence or self-efficacy for
the activity. (69)
In the context of the writing classroom, students whose motivation is authentic, or whose
motivation comprises both intrinsic motivation and the types of extrinsic motivation in
which people have identified with an activitys value and ideally will have integrated it
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Full Text

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TEACHERSÂ’ WRITTEN RESPONSES TO STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR WRITING: AN ANALYSIS THROUGH A MOTIVATIONAL FRAMEWORK by B. Denise Garrett B.A., University of Colorado Colorado Springs 2008 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing 2012

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2012 by B. Denise Garrett All rights reserved.

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iii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by B. Denise Garrett has been approved for the Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing by Amy Vidali, Co-Chair Michelle Comstock, Co-Chair Rodney Herring Date November 2, 2012

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iv Garrett, B. Denise (M.A., Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing) TeachersÂ’ Written Responses to Students about Their Writing: An Analysis through a Motivational Framework Thesis co-directed by Assistant Professor Amy Vidal i and Associate Professor Michelle Comstock ABSTRACT Writing is a complex endeavor, and motivating stude nts to persist in the writing process can be difficult. TeachersÂ’ written responses to s tudent writing is a practice that has the potential to either discourage students or motivate them to persist in the writing process. Because of their potential to discourage, it is imp ortant for teachers to consider how their written responses affect their students. The schol arship on written responses acknowledges this need and offers pertinent and val uable suggestions for framing effective written responses. Nevertheless, the sug gestions only implicitly address the motivational potential of written responses. This project explores the motivational qualities and potentials of two samples of teachers Â’ written responses through rhetorical analysis using a framework from motivational theori es and discusses how the explicit application of educational motivation theories migh t influence teachersÂ’ written responses. The analyses find evidence illustrating how teachersÂ’ written responses might either support or frustrate studentsÂ’ motivation to develop their writing skills. On the basis of this evidence, I discuss the evident inter sections between motivational theories and the scholarship concerning teachersÂ’ written re sponses, address what this implies for teachers and their responding practices, and sugges t avenues for further research. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Michelle Comstock

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v DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my husband, Gary, who has always believed in me and whose invaluable support and encouragement made this achievement possible and to my children for their love and encouragement.

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vi ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my Chair, Amy Vidali, for her patience and support as I worked through this project and Michelle Comstock f or stepping in and providing the help I needed to finish. I would also like to thank Rodney Herring, another member of my committee, for his help as a reader. My thanks also go to Traci Freeman and Debra Dew, t heir teaching over the years at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs insp ired me to pursue a goal to teach writing and provided me with a strong foundation on which to stand.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ................................. ................................................... ..................... 1II. LITERATURE REVIEW ............................ ................................................... ............. 13Concepts of Control ............................... ................................................... ............ 14Appraisal of TeachersÂ’ Written Responses .......... ................................................. 2 0The StudentsÂ’ Perspective ......................... ................................................... ......... 26Motivation and TeachersÂ’ Written Responses ........ .............................................. 33Conclusion ........................................ ................................................... ................. 35III. PRINCIPLES OF MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES .......... .......................................... 37Definition of Motivation .......................... ................................................... .......... 39Theoretical Perspectives of Motivation ............ ................................................... 45Behaviorist Approaches ............................ ................................................... ... 46Humanist Approaches ............................... ................................................... ... 48Cognitive Approaches .............................. ................................................... .... 53Attribution. ...................................... ................................................... ....... 54Goal Orientations ................................. ................................................... .. 55Social Cognitive and Sociocultural ................ ................................................. 5 7Conclusion ........................................ ................................................... ................. 60IV. METHODOLOGY ................................... ................................................... ............... 62The Value of Rhetorical Analysis .................. ................................................... .... 62Motivational Framework ............................ ................................................... ....... 67Recognized Modes of TeachersÂ’ Written Responses ... ......................................... 69Rationale of Chosen Texts ......................... ................................................... ........ 70

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viii Outline of Analyses................................ ................................................... ............ 72V. RHETORICAL ANALYSES ........................... ................................................... ....... 74Rhetorical Analysis of Sample A ................... ................................................... .... 74Description of Text ............................... ................................................... ....... 75Support for Goal Orientations ..................... ................................................... 79Support for Self-Efficacy Beliefs ................. ................................................... 81Support for Student Attributions .................. ................................................... 82Support for Psychological Needs ................... ................................................. 8 8Support for Relatedness Needs ..................... ............................................ 89Support for Competence Needs. ..................... .......................................... 91Support for Autonomy Needs. ....................... ........................................... 93Conclusion ........................................ ................................................... ................. 97Rhetorical Analysis of Sample B ................... ................................................... .... 99Description of Text ............................... ................................................... ..... 100Support for Autonomy Needs ........................ ............................................... 103Support for Relatedness Needs ..................... ................................................ 10 8Support for Competence Needs and Self-Efficacy Beli efs ........................... 110Support for Student Attributions .................. ................................................. 1 11Support for Goal Orientations ..................... .................................................. 112Conclusion ........................................ ................................................... ............... 116VI. DISCUSSION .................................... ................................................... .................... 118Autonomy .......................................... ................................................... .............. 123Relatedness ....................................... ................................................... ............... 125Competence, Self-Efficacy Beliefs, and Goal Orienta tions................................ 126Implications....................................... ................................................... ............... 129

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ix Implications for Teachers and Students ............ ............................................ 129Implications for Practice ......................... ................................................... ... 130Implications for Further Research ................. ............................................... 133VII. CONCLUSION ................................... ................................................... ................. 135WORKS CITED ....................................... ................................................... ................... 137

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x LIST OF TABLES Table III. 1 Types of Motivation (adapted from Ryan and D eci 72) .......................................... 43III. 2 Motivational Theories ..................... ................................................... ..................... 60IV. 3 Motivational Supports ...................... ................................................... ................... 68IV. 4 Modes of Response ........................... ................................................... .................... 70VI. 5 Intersections Between Theories and Practice ................................................... .... 122

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xi LIST OF FIGURES Figure V. 1 Sample Text A (Straub Practice 139-142 reprinted with permission) ............... ...... 77V. 2 Sample Text B (Straub Practice 202-204 reprinted with permission)................ .... 101

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xii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS SDT Self-Determination Theory ZPD Zone of Proximal Development

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION “The essays collected in [ Key Works on Teacher Response: An Anthology ] represent the dedicated efforts of two generation s of composition specialists, over the course of hal f a century, to make the case that response to student writing i s a meaningful pedagogical activity. . .and the results are inco nclusive.” (Knoblauch and Brannon “Introduction” 1) Teacher response . is integral to effective wri ting instruction— as important as any other activity or responsibilit y we take up as writing teachers. (Straub Practice 245) Students write and teachers respond: a deceptively simple formula. When students write in the process of learning to write and teach ers respond in kind—through writing— whole life experiences from both sides meet and eng age in the limited white spaces that circumscribe the text. Students juggle—or struggle with—subject matter, previous writing experiences, and new writing experiences an d expectations, and teachers enter the game as collaborators who help students keep all th e balls in the air, so to speak. The collaboration between teacher and students that hap pens in the white margins of students’ texts, however, as evidenced by the disparity in pe rspective of the above scholars, is marked by tension. Many teachers question the value of the practice of writing responses, especially given the amount of time required in res ponding to students’ texts. Others, however, find writing responses to be a vital pedag ogical practice, and then there are those who are ambivalent, wondering if they are was ting their time by writing responses or if they are cheating their students by not writi ng responses. Students write and teachers respond: a complex formula indeed. The complexity surrounding the practice of teachers writing responses to student writing has guaranteed significant scholarly attent ion into the what, when, where, and

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2 how of teachers’ responding practices. Nevertheless the ever-changing educational canvas requires continual study, in part because, a s Richard H. Haswell reasons, “the narrow margins and narrower interlinear spaces of a student paper can expand to encompass a large and complex arena of writer-reade r interaction,” an image of incredible interactive possibility validating conti nued academic curiosity and focus (“Higher Education” 408). Yes, as Cy Knoblauch and Lil Brannon lament, results are inconclusive about the instructional efficacy of te achers’ written responses, but Nancy Sommers reminds us that teachers’ written responses are students’ “most personal, most intimate and direct interaction with their college writing culture” (“Across” 253). I agree with Sommers’ assessment of writing responses being a practice that provides personal, intimate, direct interactions with students and hol d that writing responses to students about their texts and their writing development is rich with powerful pedagogical possibilities. Yet, I also know that teachers’ prac tice of writing responses1 is a study in contrasts, at once fraught with tension, and even c onflict, while at the same time rich with pedagogical promise. Ultimately, the potential prom ise of pedagogical possibilities demands continuing research, and I argue that the s pace surrounding the contrasts between conflict and promise provides significant r esearch potential to investigate the what, when, where, and how of teachers’ written res ponses. As a student myself, and as a teacher new to writin g instruction, I have had personal experiences with both sides of the student writing-teacher responding formula 1 There is a confusing tension in the language refer ring to teachers’ responses. Many directly state th at teachers’ written responses are aimed at student texts My project assumes that teachers’ written respons es are a part of human interaction between teachers an d students. Consequently, my references to teachers ’ written responses will assume that they are written to students about their writing to avoid repetition of the long, cumbersome phrase, “teachers’ written respons es to students about their texts and their writing development.”

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3 that have stimulated my interest in the tensions an d motivations inherent in the practice of writing responses. Interestingly, I have found some disquiet in the moment of putting my pen to another’s text—How can I most effectively re spond in the limited time I have with each student’s paper? How can I create responses th at convey clear meaning in the limited boundaries of the page? What is the meaning I want to convey: fix this text or be motivated to improve as a writer? Will the student understand my intention? And even, what is my intention as I respond? This moment of d isquiet prompted me to think of my personal experiences with teachers’ written respons es. I remember with significant dismay my junior year of high school and the large C scrawled over my essay on The Great Gatsby with the teacher’s disdainful remark across the t op: “Fitzgerald ran all over you in this essay,” not understanding at all what s he meant aside, this response undermined any feelings of competence and motivated me to avoid writing as much as possible. The demands of school, however, kept me writing, an d now I keep in a file a paper with a response from the other end of the spe ctrum. This teacher—whose reputation as a harsh critic was intimidating—wrote at the end of my essay, “The kind of paper that makes reading all of them worthwhile. I only wish I’d saved it for l ast, as the rest are likely to be anticlimactic. Thank you for it.” His expression of praise made me feel powerful! Yet I still wonder exactly what char acteristics made the paper work so well. My own experiences as a teacher writing respo nses to students echo the above contrasts, for example, one student turned in a rev ised paper that showed no attention to issues I had marked, making me wonder if he had rea d my responses at all. Yet another student turned in a revision that showed significan t engagement with the issues my

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4 responses addressed. These contrasts piqued my inte rest in the rhetorical relationship that embodies teachers’ intentions for their written res ponses and students’ motivation to apply the concepts therein. The purpose of my project, then, is to explore teac hers’ written responses as a site of interaction with motivational potentials. Becomi ng aware of motivational potentials is a step toward teachers being able to develop respon ding practices that prioritize the student through cultivating an awareness of student s’ motivational needs. Additionally, if one purpose of writing responses is to motivate stu dents, then it is vital for teachers to understand what features of written responses affec t student motivation and how written responses can support student motivation. While und erstanding motivational qualities of teachers’ written responses is important, I cannot ignore the tensions inherent in the practice of response. The tension teachers feel about the efficacy and va lue of their written responses is powerfully related to the student’s perspective of those responses. Sandra Murphy highlights the tension in her article “A Sociocultu ral Perspective on Teacher Response: Is There a Student in the Room?” when she notes that i n “the literature on teacher response, the pervasive focus has been on what teachers say a nd do. Less attention has been paid to the students' perspective and role in the process—t o how they react to, and what sense they make of, their teachers' comments” (79). Resea rch abounds on how teachers respond, what they respond to, and where teachers w rite their comments on the text (if at all), but there is relatively little research on st udents’ perspectives. Some early research did explore how students perceive written responses : for example, Richard Straub, in “Student Reactions to Teacher Comments” asked what students appreciated or found

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5 useful and what they found of little use and found that students appreciate specific, clear responses that offer advice for addressing issues. More recently, however, Ann Poulos and Mary Jane Mahoney, in “Effectiveness of Feedbac k: The Students’ Perspective,” investigated student perceptions of feedback. They note that the “wide range of student comments suggests that students do not hold a homog enous view of what effective feedback is and how it could be used,” the disparit y of student perceptions showing that the definition of “effective feedback” needs more e xploration itself (145). So, given that written responses to student writing as feedback is vital to their writing development, students may, in general, appreciate particular typ es of feedback, but their definition of and understanding of its application is problematic ally varied. Even though research into the student’s perspective of teachers’ written resp onses is limited, it does show that teachers and students are both feeling tension arou nd teachers’ intentions for their responses and students’ understanding of those inte ntions, tensions that threaten the overall efficacy of teachers’ written responses. Teachers intend their responses to be meaningful—to serve intended purposes— but the variable of student understanding interfere s with those purposes; nevertheless written responses that have supportive qualities in crease the possibilities of greater student engagement with those responses. Teachers’ purposes for responding are multifaceted, but ideally, the main purpose of writ ing responses seems perfectly clear, as Richard Beach and Tom Friedrich, in “Response to Wr iting” from the Handbook of Writing Research purport: “A primary purpose for responding to stu dents’ writing is to help students improve the quality of their writing, ” an obvious and commendable purpose (222). Yet, as Knoblauch and Brannon observe, “ther e is scant evidence that students

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6 routinely use comments on one draft to make rhetori cally important, and in the end qualitatively superior, changes in a subsequent dra ft” (“Introduction” 1). Knoblauch and Brannon, however, also argue “that responding suppo rtively to student writing is indeed central to enlightened instruction” (“Teacher Comme ntary” 71). Obviously, focusing on written responses’ ability to inspire measureable w riting improvement in students’ texts is problematic, but responses with a supportive pur pose may have positive potential for students and teachers. The concept that I expand on is how “responding supportively” can be central to enlightened instruction. Written resp onses whose purpose includes support for student efforts have the potential to ease peda gogical tensions because, even if a student does not understand the principle the comme nt addresses, a written response with supportive purpose can encourage the student to per sist in revision and in developing writing skills. Responding to students supportively, however, is a broad concept. Consequently, I identify one characteristic of supportive respons es to explore: support for student motivation to persist in developing writing skills. Student motivation in relation to teachers’ written responses, however, is an area wh ere there are significant gaps in research. Interestingly, much of the research into written responses often simply assumes they are motivating. For example, in her seminal ar ticle, “Responding to Student Writing,” Sommers declares that “[c]omments create the motive for doing something different in the next draft; thoughtful comments cr eate the motive for revising” (149). Although Sommers article was published some thirty years ago, the sentiment is still attached to the practice of writing responses—an as sumption of motivation, that somehow comments motivate. More recently, when Stra ub describes the value of

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7 “comments at their best,” he lists qualities, such as “[t]hey bring key principles of the course to life by grounding them in the students’ o wn writing,” that he has illustrated through example and analysis in his book, The Practice of Response (243). However, toward the end of this list, Straub simply states t hat, “[t]hey motivate” (243). This brief, declarative sentence merely makes an assumption tha t teachers’ written responses, if created in a thoughtful, constructive manner, motiv ate. Problematic in both of these declarations is the absence of the student in the a ctual language of sentences. Scholars assert that teachers’ written responses motivate, b ut these statements only infer that responses motivate students a telling mode of expression mirroring a troublin g assumption of teachers’ written responses’ motivati onal qualities. The absence of the student in Sommers’ and Staub’s statements and the assumption of teachers’ written responses as motiva tional reflect some of the reasons for the disjunctions in the efficacy of teachers’ writt en responses. Today’s written responses are an evolution from early current-traditional pra ctices of marking—typically—the wrong aspects of a text, and their communicative pu rpose was to indicate correctness of a text, not to necessarily interact with the student. Students’ texts now, however, are considered a site of teacher-student interaction, y et the student and text are often conflated into one, a move that prioritizes the tex t and masks the student’s presence. The titles of two representative articles illustrate th is concept: Sommers’ “Responding to Student Writing” and Haswell’s “The Complexities of Responding to Student Writing; or Looking for Shortcuts via the Road of Excess.” If responses are written to the student’s writing, then the responses are communicating with an inanimate entity. Disjunction may occur because the teacher-student interaction is in direct, with the student left to decipher

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8 the teacher’s meaning in her response to the text. Adding to this complexity is the assumption that written responses serve a motivatin g function without an understanding of students’ motivational needs. Disjunction may oc cur here because the assumption of motivation ignores the fact that student motivation is affected by communicative qualities—written responses can be positive, negati ve, commanding, supportive and more, and these qualities affect whether the respon ses support student motivation or not. These perspectives of written responses are problem atic because they obscure both the student and the student’s motivational needs. I res ist these perspectives and hold that students need to be prioritized and present as teac hers create responses. Understanding students’ motivational needs and applying that unde rstanding in the development of written responses can keep the student close becaus e the responses are written in awareness of the student’s needs rather than to the text. Additionally, assuming that written responses are m otivating for students is also problematic because this lack of awareness can inte rfere with teachers’ abilities to effectively develop motivationally productive respo nses. This disjunction is evident in Summer Smith’s analysis of teachers’ end comments t hrough a generic lens in “The Genre of the End Comment: Conventions in Teacher Re sponses to Student Writing.” Like Sommers and Straub, Smith pulls an assumption of teachers’ written responses as motivating into this generic perspective when she o bserves that a teacher “can use comments to motivate, educate, or chastise her stud ents” (250). Admittedly Smith is analyzing generic conventions in teachers’ end comm ents, not studying the comments’ motivational qualities; however, her observation sh ows that motivation is an assumed power that teachers can wield through their written responses. Imbuing teachers’ written

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9 responses with the power of motivation lends them g ravity and intensity, but simply assuming motivational potential leaves open the que stions of what are students’ motivational needs and what qualities of written re sponses have motivationally productive potentials. One premise of my argument i s that understanding how best to wield motivational power means gaining awareness of the variables in students’ motivation to learn to write and the role teachers’ written responses can potentially play in supporting that motivation. Accordingly, I advocate for gaining a greater aware ness of the relationship between teachers’ written responses, students, and their motivational needs. This awareness is important, in part, because of the pot ential for written responses to be students “most personal, most intimate and direct i nteraction with their college writing culture”; however, they are also important because teachers’ written responses become a lasting physical artifact representing students’ ab ilities and achievements (Sommers “Across” 253). The responses teachers write in the limited margins and spaces surround a student’s text can only accomplish limited purposes Other feedback students receive about their writing—as in peer feedback and persona l consultations with the teacher— offers greater opportunity for direct interaction a nd meaningful discussion about students’ writing development that can help students address deficiencies in their writing abilities. The responses teachers leave on students’ texts, ho wever, persist over time—at least over the semester (if the teacher requires them to keep their assignments)—and provide students with a physical artifact to which they can return for reminders and confirmation of their developing abilities. This physical persis tence combined with the limited boundaries of students’ texts makes it vital for te achers to develop a strong awareness of

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10 their written responses’ potentials in their studen ts’ writing development. Developing written responses that keep the student present by having an awareness of motivational needs and supports offers possibilities for those r esponses to serve valuable purposes for their students over time rather than just over one text. My exploration of the motivational potentials of te achers’ written responses led me to scholars who have contributed to my personal understanding of responding practices and who have made significant contributio ns to the discipline’s understanding of how teachers’ written responses integrate into w riting instruction as a whole. The views of Brannon, Knoblauch, and Richard Straub—the scholars with whom I open this project—briefly illustrate two essential characteri stics that drive study: an intense dedication to improving the knowledge that underlie s practice and the ability to recognize the shortcomings that demand further investigation. Brannon and Knoblauch’s research and insight clearly point to tensions in responding practices and provide important considerations for study. Straub’s passionate insis tence that writing responses is a valuable instructional practice supported by his ri gorous research and instructional works provide a deep understanding of efficacious practic es in responding. The many other scholars who inform my work have laid a foundation of research and insight over decades of study and practice that provides my project with a sound basis from which to inquire into teachers’ responding practices and expand unde rstanding of their potentials. Further, the work of the scholars I refer to offer important insights into the junctions of the teacher-student-text relationships resident in teac hers’ written responses. While these scholars’ research involves questioning, investigat ing, and looking for gaps in others’ work, they all work toward the same goal: increasin g the knowledge underlying

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11 pedagogical practices toward the benefit of student s and the development of their writing abilities. My project joins this task and uses thei r work as support for my inquiry into the motivational potentials of teachers’ responding pra ctices. Students write and teachers respond: simple yet com plex, a juggling partnership marked by pedagogical and research tensions—uncerta inty in the value of written responses, disjuncture between teacher intention an d student perception, and limited student perspective; yet as the “most personal, mos t intimate and direct interaction with college writing culture,” the practice of teachers’ written responses, this “large and complex arena of writer-reader interaction,” is ope n to significant pedagogical potential (Sommers “Across” 253; Haswell “Higher Education” 4 08). My project investigating the motivational potentials of teachers’ written respon ses offers possibilities of easing some pedagogical tension. If written responses are suppo rtive of student motivation, then they become a valuable instructional practice; as a cons ciously added aspect of teachers’ purpose for writing responses, motivationally suppo rtive responses can bridge the disjuncture between teacher intention and student p erception—even if the student does not understand the instructive intention, a written response framed with motivational qualities can encourage the student to persist in t rying to understand. Finally, although my project does not empirically investigate the stu dent perspective, it does begin a foundation for greater involvement of the student p erspective. Framing written responses with human motivational purpose changes responding practice from an act of correcting an inanimate text into a process that invites the p resence of the student into teachers’ responding moments.

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12 In order to begin my exploration into the motivatio nal potentials of teachersÂ’ written responses, I interrogate two examples of a teacherÂ’s written response through a motivational framework. This rhetorical analysis of the evident motivational qualities in teachersÂ’ written responses works to answer the fol lowing research questions: What motivational qualities are evident in the language of specific types of teachersÂ’ written responses? And how can a motivational purpose help teachers frame written responses? I begin my inquiry with a literature review of the sc holarship addressing concerns about teachersÂ’ written responses, and then move to a dis cussion of principles of motivational theories from the field of educational psychology. The method I use to analyze two samples of teachersÂ’ written responses is rhetorica l analysis; however, because I use a motivational framework developed from the disciplin e of educational psychology, I wait to provide my methodology until after the literatur e review and the discussion of motivational theories in order to establish concept s and vocabulary needed for the analyses. My project will then move into the analys is of two separate responses by teachers, not necessarily for comparison, but to pr ovide a richer perspective of motivational potentials in differing responding pra ctices. I close my project by discussing the evident intersections between theories and prac tice, addressing implications for practice and suggestions for further research, and presenting my conclusions.

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13 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Pedagogical complexities in teachers’ practice of w riting responses to students about their texts are evident in some of the major themes that run through the scholarship, and my research identifies four main themes that re late to my project. The first theme addresses multifaceted concepts of control evident in how the textual layers of student writing and teachers’ comments vie for control of w hat the text is—or is supposed to be—doing and whether the student or the teacher is in control of the development of the text. The next theme results from scholars’ interest in w orking to gain a greater understanding of the rhetorical relationship betwee n teachers’ written responses to students about their writing and the complex writer -reader relationship that occurs in the margins of student texts. Accordingly, the second t heme recognized in the scholarship is the appraisal of the characteristics of teachers’ w ritten responses. Concepts of control in and the appraisal of teachers’ written responses to students about their writing address the teachers’ point of view, so the third theme that th is literature review explores changes perspective and attends to the students’ perception of teachers’ written responses to/on/about their writing. The final theme of this literature review concerns research on teachers’ written responses and student motivation. Finally, I acknowledge that even though I have separated these four themes into disc rete areas, in truth, concepts of control in teachers’ written responses, the appraisal of te achers’ written responses, students’ perception of teachers’ written comments, and the r ole of motivation in writing development intertwine and are often interdependent My research seeks to gain a greater

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14 understanding of teachers’ written responses to stu dent writing through exploring these four themes independently. Concepts of Control The evident features in the theme of control deal w ith, one, the teachers’ role as a responder and the amount of control teachers desire to and are expected to wield; and, two, the responsibility of students to exercise con trol over their texts through applying the guidance received from teachers’ written responses. Research reveals a complex rhetorical writer-reader relationship at work betwe en student texts and teachers’ written responses, so their work strongly informs my projec t. The inherency of power relations in the teacher-student relationship underlies the conc epts of control that pervade the practice of teachers writing responses to students about the ir texts. James Berlin acknowledges the essential relationship between teaching practices r esultant from pedagogical ideology and the apportionment of power in the classroom, arguin g that “a way of teaching is never innocent. Every pedagogy is imbricated in ideology, in a set of tacit assumptions about what is real, what is good, what is possible, and h ow power ought to be distributed” (23). Teachers’ written response practices reflect a peda gogical ideology that underlies how a teacher reads and responds to a student text, what aspects of writing she notices and calls attention to, what ideas he accepts as valuable, an d how much power she or he allows the individual student to have over the text. Research and scholarship delves into the concerns of how power relations underlie teachers’ written responses and the control they exert over the students’ handling of their texts. T his literature review traces the following perspectives of the issues of control in teachers’ written responses to students about their writing: 1) How teachers’ written responses appropr iate student texts 2) The development

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15 of strategies that moderate exertion of control ove r students’ handling of their texts 3) How the responsibilities of teacher control necessi tate reflective practice and 4) The encouragement for students to take more control of their writing process and the development of their writing skills. Early response literature focuses on how teachers’ written responses exert control by appropriating the students’ texts. In “Respondin g to Student Writing,” Nancy Sommers recognizes that the physical intermixing of comments directed at error correction with comments concerning idea developmen t, organization, and other higher order concerns complicates the priority of tasks, u ltimately confusing the student and causing her or him to lose a sense of control over the text. “When the teacher appropriates the text for the student in this way,” the student’s perception of the text changes from a work the student is developing into a product that the teacher recognizes as correct (Sommers “Responding” 151). As Brannon a nd Knoblauch observe, “correcting also tends to show students that the te acher's agenda is more important than their own,” which leads students to see “writing” a s either wrong—as evidenced by the teachers’ responses that over-write their text, or right—which is the teachers’ response that over-writes their text—and discourages student s from investing deeper personal effort into developing their own writing skills (“O n Students’ Rights” 158). Brannon and Knoblauch warn that “allowing our own Ideal Texts t o dictate choices that properly belong to the writers” compromises teachers’ abilit y to effectively help students (157). The concept of teachers operating from an “Ideal Te xt” highlights a hierarchal divide between teachers and students where teachers are su perior and “know” what is right,

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16 which emphasizes the teachers’ role while subordina ting the student and usurping their control of their texts. The scholarship on the dangers of teachers’ respon ses appropriating student texts prompted calls for practices that would soften over t control by teachers’ responses and re-situate teachers’ and students’ roles. Chris Ans on advises teachers to adopt a “reflective” practice, both in “the way we read stu dents’ writing” and “of the conditions, nature, and sources of their response to error in s tudents' texts” so as to unite “response practices with consciousness-raising and realistic, context-based instruction in the classroom” (“Reflective Reading” 375; “Response and Social Construction” 17). Reflective practice helps teachers be aware of bias es and situations that affect how they read student texts and how they write responses to students, an awareness that allows them to respond in more careful, productive ways fo r the student. Reflective practice also brings the needs of the student to the fore and fru strates established classroom power hierarchies. Another concept that encourages a re-s ituation of established classroom hierarchies suggests that teachers equate their wri tten responses with classroom dialogue or with conversation. As Nina Ziv explains, “commen ts can only be helpful if teachers respond to student writing as a part of an ongoing dialogue,” and Straub echoes, teachers should “use . comments to create a give-and-tak e discussion with the student—a conversation” (107; “Teacher Response as Conversati on” 359). In this light, teachers’ written comments exert less control over the studen t because they mimic the give-andtake of interactive dialogue, a concept that encour ages cooperation between teachers and students and allows the student more power over wha t happens in her or his writing.

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17 Nevertheless, scholars continue to feel that teache rs’ written responses are intrusive of student writing. As Straub acknowledge s, “[in] all comments, a teacher intervenes in the writing and, however directly or indirectly, indicates that something needs to be attended to” (247). As a result of the understanding of teachers’ comments intervening in the students’ writing, a pragmatic p erspective emerged that inspired the nominally intrusive concepts of minimal marking and minimal grading. Developed in part to help teachers manage the grading workload, minimal marking and minimal grading suggest that responses become brief margina l marks that indicate a pass or fail or that merely identify places that need attention. In terestingly, however, both Richard Haswell—who promotes minimal marking—and Peter Elbo w—who suggests minimal grading—contend that these minimal marks also inspi re students to take more control over the text because a less explicit response from the teacher requires more effort from students in addressing issues in their writing. Con sidering these concepts together—the recognition of control tensions and of response as conversation, along with the development of minimal marking and grading strategi es—reveals how teachers’ written comments to student texts represent the complex pus h-and-pull relationship of control in the writer-reader arena existing between teachers a nd students in writing instruction. Scholars, however, do not completely suggest that t eacher control over student texts is necessarily undesirable. Inherently, teach ers have authority and control in the classroom learning situation because they have a re sponsibility to guide and direct learning experiences. What is at issue in the teach er-student relationship is the amount and type of control teachers and students individua lly need to wield over the text in order for teachers to guide and students to learn. Conseq uently, scholars call for teachers to

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18 take responsibility and make conscious and reflecti ve choices. Cheryl Glenn and Melissa A. Goldthwaite, in The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing, contend that because they are the basis of a teacher’s relationship with a student, “[teachers’] responses to students’ writing [need to] be part of a respectful conversation” (115). Teachers’ written responses framed as “respectful conversation” allow s both teachers and students to have the control they need to accomplish their tasks of guiding and learning in students’ writing process. In addition, the concept of respon ses as conversation or dialogue extended scholarship’s perspective of teachers’ wri tten responses, moving to include them as a part of the greater classroom learning si tuation and as an extension of teacherstudent dialogue. Carol Rutz notes, in “Recovering the Conversation: A Response to ‘Responding to Student Writing’ via ‘Across the Dra fts’," that “Without that context, both the atmospherics of the classroom and the loca l meanings established in that climate vanish, leaving textual artifacts that reveal only part of the communicative story” (257). Teachers’ responses function as a part of the commu nication between teachers and students in the classroom learning situation as a w hole. In essence, the control exerted by teachers’ written comments is one aspect in the ent irety of the teacher-student relationship, the recognition of which requires tea chers to consider the potential effect of their responses, and, equally, to recognize the stu dent’s perspective as vital in the relationship. The vital student perspective, however, is complex, and teachers simply relinquishing control—even through interactive, enc ouraging practices such as framing responses as conversation—does not guarantee that s tudents will automatically reach out and take firm control of their texts. Sommers revis its her early article “Responding to

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19 Student Writing” from just this perspective in “Acr oss the Drafts.” Sommers’ study concludes that even the most carefully framed feedb ack “doesn’t move students forward as writers if they are not open to its instruction and critique, or if they don’t understand how to use their instructors’ comments as bridges t o future writing assignments” (257). Students have responsibility in the learning proces s, a responsibility to be open to instruction and to work to gain understanding for f uture writing requirements. The entrenched and inherent power relations permeating the teacher-student relationship, however, can prevent students from taking active co ntrol of their writing, so scholars, including Straub, Elbow, and Glenn and Goldthwaite, suggest strategies—such as having students respond to the teachers’ comments—encourag ing students to actively engage with the teacher’s response to their writing. This serves both to help teachers “see more clearly how students are interpreting (and sometime s misinterpreting) the comments [they] make,” while also explicitly encouraging stu dents take on the responsibilities of being open to instruction and working to gain under standing of what is happening in their writing (Glenn and Goldthwaite 115). The scholarshi p addressing control issues in teachers’ written responses is valuable because it reveals how inherent teacher-student power relations create control issues in the writer -reader arena and interrupts students’ participation in control of their texts. Because of this, teachers need to not only relinquish control through using mediating responding strategi es, they also need to actively encourage students to accept and apply control over their texts and over their own writing development. The above scholarship reveals the multifaceted aspe cts of control that permeate teachers’ written responses to student writing. The physical and rhetorical features of

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20 teachers’ written comments wield control—both undes irable and desirable—over student texts and students’ actions in relation to their te xts. As an integral part of the teacherstudent relationship, teachers’ written comments to student writing need to be a part of a thoughtful and reflective practice. Further, the in herent power dynamics that inform teachers’ written responses may also be moderated b y responses crafted carefully in ways that allow and even encourage students to take bene ficial power and control in the development of their writing process. Consequently, in relation to teachers’ written responses, the control teachers wield in writing in struction needs to be control of their own responding practices in ways that encourage stu dents to take control of their own texts and writing skill development. Appraisal of Teachers’ Written Responses Although the appraisal of teachers’ written respons es may seem like an academic exercise, in truth this scholarship supports my pro ject because modes of response— abbreviations, one word or phrasal comments, questi ons, and more—are, as Straub notes, “a way of talking with students about their writing and engaging them in the work as learning writers” ( Practice 71). Straub further observes that to “do it well, w e have to pay attention to the ways we talk to students in our co mments—the voices we take on, the images we create for ourselves and our students on the page” ( Practice 71). Examining how the scholarship appraises teachers’ written res ponses provides a structure for analysis of the different ways of talking with stud ents and the different voices and images that teachers’ responses create and reveals how the different types of responses may work to engage students in their work as learning writer s.

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21 Efforts to understand the rhetorical effect of teac hers’ written responses has led researchers to appraise different modes of response through identification and classification, a practice that inspires conflictin g views. On one hand, Peggy O’Neill and Jane Mathison Fife, in “Listening to Students,” war n “that a primary focus on the written text in teacher response research is inadequate in explaining how the students—the intended audience for those comments—read them beca use written comments function within a larger contextual framework” (199). The pr oblem with de-contextualized study of teachers’ written responses is that it ignores t he classroom conversation surrounding the comments and removes the student audience persp ective from consideration, resulting in an incomplete understanding of how teachers’ wri tten comments are truly perceived. On the other hand, however, Anson points to a perva sive discrepancy that makes connecting teachers’ written responses with classro om context problematic: “Our stated beliefs about teaching and our descriptions of our response styles are not always reflected in what we write on students’ papers” (“Reflective Reading” 374). While written comments may be a part of the classroom conversatio n, often, how teachers actually write responses is in conflict with the teaching ph ilosophy that underlies teachers’ classroom practice. Accordingly, teachers’ written comments are an asp ect of the classroom conversation, and as such need to be studied within that context; nevertheless, teachers’ written comments often do not reflect teachers’ und erlying teaching philosophy. Other situations and contexts affect how teachers respond in a specific moment; thus a teacher with a facilitative philosophy may “sound” authorit ative, or a teacher who is directive in classroom situations may offer little specific dire ction on paper. Consequently, the

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22 appraisal of how teachers’ written responses are id entified and classified is valuable because it provides an opportunity to inquire about the possibilities of how those responses function rhetorically, the results of whi ch supply a foundation for future research that includes classroom context. This sect ion of the literature review discusses how the appraisal of teachers’ written responses re veals teachers’ purposes that are evident in their response styles, how the understan ding of writing as a socially constructed, collaborative process influenced writt en response research, and finally explores the move from teacher-centered comments to student-centered comments. The appraisal of the rhetorical function of teacher s’ written responses classifies them by how they look on the page—from checks and c ircles to fully articulated paragraphs—and how they interact with the student’s text. Robert J. Connors and Andrea A. Lunsford, in “Teachers’ Rhetorical Comments on S tudents Papers,” classify comments by whether they deal with global, rhetoric al, or formal issues in student writing. Sommers and Connors and Lunsford identify the circles, lines, arrows, and abbreviations of “sp,” “frag,” “awk,” that overwrit e student text as typically corrective while higher order concerns of idea development, or ganization, and purpose are typically addressed through narrative responses. Straub’s wor k takes this early identification even further and connects a teacher’s focus of evaluatio n with a specific responding mode: Focus Mode Correctness Corrections Criticism Style Qualified Criticism Praise Organization Commands Advice Content Closed Questions Open Questions Context Reflective Statements ( Practice 76)

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23 Straub’s work is important because it explicitly co nnects the mode of a teacher’s written responses with a teacher’s purpose or focus of eval uation. Teacher purpose cannot be removed from the classification of types of respons es because, as Connors and Lunsford contend “rhetorical forms can tell us [much] about the purposes and attitudes of those using them” (209). How responses look on the page a nd how they interact with student texts reveal teacher purpose—and research that clas sifies teachers’ written responses offers teachers an opportunity for self-reflection about their responding practices that can ensure that their responses align with their purpos es. The work of classification, however, over-simplifi es perceptions of what teachers’ written responses are and what they do, in essence viewing them in binary terms, for if they are one thing, then they must not be another. Written responses are either directive or facilitative, negative or positive, praise or cr iticism, or global or local. Lunsford and Straub do frustrate these binaries in “Twelve Reade rs Reading,” their study showing that characterizing written responses so strictly obscur es the complexities of the many factors involved in writing responses. Lunsford and Straub’ s work offers the following characterization of responses as existing on a cont inuum between authoritarian and detached: Authoritarian Authoritative Inter active Nondirective Detached Teacher-Centered Student-Centered (188) Lunsford and Straub’s work reveals greater complexi ty of teachers’ written responses, yet it still focuses on how teachers’ written responses represent the teacher on the page, which obscures the student’s perspective of teacher s’ written responses. As research perspectives in writing instruction ha ve responded to the understanding of writing as a socially constructed, collaborative process, the

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24 identifications and characterizations of teachers’ written responses have also expanded with greater inclusion of the student’s role, a mov e that more clearly reflects the teacherstudent contextual relationship. In “Genre of the E nd Comment,” Summer Smith examines teachers’ written responses from a generic standpoint, identifying judging genres that evaluate students’ writing and justifie s grades, reader response genres that note experience and identification, and coaching ge nres offering suggestions and assistance. These characterizations of teachers’ wr itten responses are significant because they recognize that responses echo the teacher-stud ent relationship. Part of the teacher’s role is to evaluate and grade student work, so char acterizing some responses as judging genres acknowledges the context of teacher’s and st udents’ roles. Characterizing some responses as reader response genres acknowledges th e communicative writer-reader context in which student texts and teachers’ respon ses reside. Finally, characterizing some teachers’ written responses as coaching genres creates imagery of a working, learning teacher-student context. The appraisal of teachers’ written responses from a generic perspective expands the vision of those res ponses in the teacher-student relationship dynamic from a narrow, binary view to one that includes the complexities of the teacher-student, writer-reader relationship. Another perspective that expands the appraisal of how teachers’ written responses to student writing are identified and classified in volves research in the area of general feedback. Research on feedback encompasses all aspe cts of feedback, including teachers’ verbal responses in the classroom, individual confe rencing, and peer review. This literature review will focus on research that deals specifically with written feedback. Written responses as feedback are characterized by what information they provide for the

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25 student which emphasizes the role and needs of the student and are characterized as formative feedback and task-oriented feedback. Formative feedback and facilitative feedback may se em similar, but there are some significant differences. Early response litera ture identifies supportive written responses as facilitative feedback. Formative feedb ack differs from facilitative feedback in that it actually offers strategies to help impro ve performance, whereas facilitative feedback typically just offers encouragement. Ursul a Wingate, in “The Impact of Formative Feedback on the Development of Academic W riting,” states that the purpose of formative feedback “is to guide and accelerate s tudents’ learning by providing them with information about the gap between their curren t and the desired performance” (520). For example, formative feedback written to a studen t struggling to create a strong thesis statement would be “Right now the thesis statement is unclear. Develop a sentence that clearly states your argument,” (and might also ask some open-ended questions that would help the student clarify her or his argument). Faci litative feedback might say, “Continue to work on creating a stronger thesis statement,” a nd corrective feedback might say “Unclear thesis.” Wingate’s study showed that forma tive feedback led to writing improvement in students who attended to and applied tutors’ comments. Formative feedback is student-centered, with the teacher’s pu rpose focused on providing clear information of where the student is, where the stud ent needs to be, and providing the student with specific tasks that might help them br idge the gap. Scholars’ work to appraise teachers’ written responses illustrates ho w identifying and classifying modes of response increases insight into their efficacy for students.

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26 The work of appraisal of teachers’ written respons es has clearly influenced the development of understanding how responses function for students. Research expanded the vision of responses from simple binaries—positi ve or negative, directive or facilitative, etc.—to complex, contextualized aspec ts the teacher-student relationship. Effective teachers’ responses are identified as tho se that recognize the students’ role in developing their writing abilities by offering them information about their performance and specific tasks for improvement. The theme of ap praisal in the research concerning teachers’ written responses has provided significan t insight into how modes of response rhetorically portray and promote the role of the te acher and the role of the student and has led to increased understanding for support of a mor e active student role. The Students’ Perspective As noted above, research appraising teachers’ writt en responses has evolved from a teacher-centered perspective to a student-centere d perspective of response. However, there is relatively limited research that deals spe cifically with students’ perspective of teachers’ written responses. The literature concern ed with both themes of control and appraisal recognizes that unless students actively engage with teachers’ written responses, they are not effective, no matter how ca refully reflective and student-centered they are. This section of the literature review pro vides insight from both research on the students’ perspectives of teachers’ written respons es and from students themselves and addresses students’ desire for feedback, students’ desire to improve as writers, and how the complexities of classroom power relationships i nfluence how teachers and students perceive and interpret texts—including teachers’ re sponses.

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27 Historically there has been some effort to understa nd students’ perceptions of teachers’ written responses about their texts. Thom as C. Gee found that students need acknowledgement of “improvements that the student m akes,” (44) and Straub conducted a survey asking students what kind of comments they prefer and appreciate—finding that students appreciate detailed responses that either asked open-ended questions or offered specific strategies for revision. More recently, ho wever, Sandra Murphy, in “A Sociocultural Perspective on Teacher Response: Is T here a Student in the Room?,” recognizes that the majority of the scholarship on teachers’ written responses to student writing focuses on responses from the teachers’ poi nt of view, and she calls for more research into the students’ reactions to teachers’ responses because “[we] cannot make sense of an interaction if we only hear one half of the conversation” (89). Studies such as Nina D. Ziv’s “The Effect of Teacher Comments on th e Writing of Four College Freshman,” are an example of trying to understand i nteraction through only hearing half of the conversation. In an effort to establish a mo del for effective teacher commentary, Ziv studied the relationship between teachers’ writ ten comments and what actions students took in revision. While she listened to th e students’ perspective of her specific comments, she focused on determining if the student understood the comment and was able to apply the teacher’s response in revision. U nderstanding what students actually “do” with teacher comments is valuable, but a study of this design hides students’ perceptions of teachers’ comments— what they find h elpful and how the responses make them feel about their writing efforts; in truth, st udents have no voice in this research. Murphy expresses concern about studies intended to focus on the students’ perspective but that in actuality silence students because thei r reactions are measured by the results of

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28 tests or by developments in their texts rather than through their voices. Nevertheless, studies that include interviews with students show that students desire and value written feedback about their texts. The research showing students’ desire for and value of feedback about their writing also shows that their desire and value is r elated both to learning engagement and to the teacher-student relationship. Students wanti ng to learn about writing and about themselves as writers value explicit, direct commen ts that help the students engage with their texts in a deep manner. A student in Straub’s study expresses his appreciation for a comment showing that the teacher was deeply involve d in the student’s subject by stating “This comment shows the teacher really had to think about what was written and didn't just jot down a few spelling errors" (“Students’ Re actions” 100). This student, unconsciously perhaps, recognizes that “just jottin g down a few spelling errors”—or corrective feedback—deals with surface level issues and is, in ways, easier and less time consuming than “thinking about what was written”—or formulating carefully thought out responses. Students seem more willing to engage wit h their subject through writing when the teacher shows a deep interest in what the stude nt is talking about. Yet, students do not prefer comments that they perceive as controlling, as one student offered in response to a directive comment: “This statement shows me that th e teacher won't let a student write about his own views” (Straub 103). Implicit in the student’s perspective is that being able to write about his own views is important to him, s uggesting that controlling comments interfere with what this student finds important. This is not to say, however, that students do not w ant to be challenged. Sommers notes that students find critical comments valuable as long as they are able to use the

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29 comments to forward their writing. Criticism that m ocks or scolds alienates students and interferes with the writer-reader relationship in t he complex arena of teachers’ written responses. Yet, students find critical feedback tha t challenges them to develop their writing skills valuable, for, as one of Sommers’ st udents observes “It’s tough getting better as a writer when nobody is showing you how” (“Across” 254). This student’s comment shows that she sees teachers’ written comme nts as a guide to “show” her what being a better writer means, not, necessarily, that she wants the teacher to show her how to write by correcting a specific text. Her acknowl edgement that “It’s tough getting better as a writer” suggests that she wants critical feedb ack that will help her develop as a writer, not just to write a “correct” paper. Teache rs’ written responses that challenge students to work in the writing process and that gu ide students in that process create a partnership between the teacher and the student. So mmers recognizes that the interaction between teachers and students through written comme nts is rooted in partnership. When teachers write critical comments that urge students to engage with their subject and their writing more intensely, they engage students in a m ore intense relationship—as Sommers notes—in a partnership in learning that develops a student into a better writer. Scholarship also shows that students have strong expectations about what they need from this partnership that will guide them to be a better writer. Richard Higgins, Peter Hartley, and Alan Skelton’s study, “The Consc ientious Consumer: Reconsidering the Role of Assessment Feedback in Student Learning ,” suggests that students are invested in learning to write and want—even expect— comprehensive, critical feedback. As one of the students in their study asserts, The minimum I think you should get is a grade and a t least three or four comments on why you got that grade, h ow you

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30 can improve … you get little comments in the margin but I expect to get them more fully explained at the bott om so you can look down and see that you’ve done something th at they don’t agree with or they think isn’t very good, the n you can look at the back and see that they’ve explained it a bit more, and, like, the overall idea of where you’re at real ly and how you can get better. (58) This student’s comment shows that he expects a cert ain level of response when he states that there is at least a “minimum” requirement that includes not only brief marginal comments, but also more substantive summative comme nts. He expects this range of feedback so that he has the information he needs to develop as a writer—to know “where you’re at really and how you can get better”—I coul d not phrase this more eloquently. This student’s perspective of expecting a certain f orm and amount of feedback shows that when students want to learn to write, they want gui dance from a knowledgeable source— their teacher—and teachers’ written responses to st udents about their writing have powerful potential to provide that guidance. The students’ perspective of the teacher-student re lationship is important to consider because the power dynamics of the classroo m affect not only what teachers write, but also how students perceive those comment s. In their study of teachers’ rhetorical comments on student papers, Connors and Lunsford express a disturbing finding: “Many of the comments seemed to speak to t he student from empyrean heights, delivering judgments in an apparently disinterested way” (214). Comments that seem condescending and disinterested discourage a learni ng partnership as described by Sommers, but, more importantly, this type of respon se reinforces classroom power relations that put the teacher—holding all knowledg e—above the students, stripping them of control and engagement in the process of learnin g to write. Consequently, how a

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31 teacher’s ethos is represented in her written respo nses is vital to student interpretation and perception of those responses. A student in O’Neill and Fife’s study describes the comments of a teacher whose classroom ethos illustr ates the other end of the spectrum: “She’s not like on the teaching level up here. She tries to be a lot closer to you to tell you how to get into it more. . She tries to put con fidence into you that you’re a good writer and that you have some writing ability in there som ewhere” (195). This student’s perception of her teacher’s ethos is that she is cl ose to the students. Obviously the student feels that this teacher has writing authority—the t eacher as the ability to tell the student “how to get into it more,” and the perception to de termine writing ability in others. However, the teacher’s authority in her written res ponses does not create an image of her standing at “empyrean heights, delivering judgments ” to a lowly student. This student feels that this teacher is a knowledgeable writer i n partnership with her students, and the teacher’s responses reflect that ethos. What makes student perception problematic, however, is how students are allowed, by power relations maintained by the langu age of teachers’ written comments, to perceive and react to those comments. In “Moving beyond the Written Comment: Narrowing the Gap between Response Practice and Res earch” Fife and O’Neill warn that even comments that purport to be conversational can contain “patterns of ‘teacher talk’ with the teacher knowing the ‘right answer’ all alo ng—reminiscent of the teacher’s ideal text that Brannon and Knoblauch argue against,” pat terns of talk that reinforce classroom hierarchies, subordinating students and discouragin g personal engagement (312). Ziv’s study offers an example of “teacher talk” that over rides a student’s voice. The student writes, “The budget crunch was felt by my school so they cut certain activities one of

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32 which was the track team” (108). Ziv’s response was “‘Rewrite this sentence’ intending that he change the sentence into the active voice” (108). Ziv’s pattern of talk is more than simply directive; it is a pattern of command that e xpects obedience without discussion. “Rewrite this sentence” sends the message that the teacher knows better than the student how to express his ideas. Ziv notes that “[in] retr ospect it was evident that Vincent’s intention in the sentence was to emphasize the word s ‘budget crunch,’ so the passive voice was appropriate there,” her acknowledgment re vealing how “teacher talk” can silence students’ perspectives (108). Students’ per spectives are voiced in their texts, so teachers’ written responses need to speak back to s tudents in conversational patterns that invite a reply. Fife and O’Neill assert that “[t]ea chers who choose to model writing and response on real conversational practices instead o f discourse practices that exist only in school settings can create opportunities for studen ts and teacher to engage in discussions” that encourage students to take an active role in e stablishing and reaching their pedagogical goals (313). Teachers need to conscious ly frame their written response conversations in ways that level involvement in the teacher-student, writer-reader arena of the white spaces circumscribing students’ texts and allow students to participate in a productive give-and-take situation. Research reveals a final problematic facet of stude nt perception: students and teachers—in part because of their inherent classroo m roles—may interpret written responses differently, so there is potential for mi sunderstanding. Richard Haswell, in “The Complexities of Responding to Student Writing; or Looking for Shortcuts via the Road to Excess,” identifies the problematic situati on when he observes that “students and teachers tend to consume writing quite differently. They have trouble speaking the same

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33 language of response because their responses to the writing itself are so far apart” (n. pag.). Haswell offers an extended paragraph of comp arisons of how teachers’ and students’ approach to writing “are so far apart,” a few of which follow: Students think of writing as a maze or an obligatio n over which they have no control, teachers as an activity creatively in the hands of the writer (Tobin, 1989). Students look on writing options as right or wrong or else an endles s shelf of choices with no way to choose, teachers as rhetoric al choices leading to the best strategy (Anson, 1989). Studen ts take a first interpretation as the only one, teachers as a first position to be revised upon consideration of other interpret ations (Earthman, 1992). Students place the most importanc e on vocabulary, teachers on substance (Yorio, 1989). (n pag.) Such significant, distant, and conflicting underlyi ng approaches to and understanding of the writing process interferes with teachers’ and s tudents’ ability to communicate effectively—in short, students see what we write bu t may not hear what we say. These conflicting approaches give cause for clear written responses that invite conversation and that are a part of a strong classroom dialogue, pra ctices which can moderate conflict and bring teachers and students into closer understandi ng of what writing is. Although issues of power relations and conflicts may seem insurmoun table, they are not. Recognizing problematic dynamics does not negate the positive p otential of teachers’ written responses to student writing; this recognition actu ally allows us a richer understanding of the practice, offers greater research paradigms, an d reminds us of the importance of the student perspective. Motivation and Teachers’ Written Responses Attention to students’ perspective also requires ad dressing the relationships between teachers’ written responses, students, and students’ motivation to persist in

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34 developing writing skills. However, as noted in the Introduction, the role motivation plays in teachers’ written responses has often been assumed and has not been the subject of much research. The research that has been perfor med has inquired into studentcentered performance feedback and has expanded the understanding of what feedback does for students by not just measuring whether stu dents use the feedback or whether their writing improves, but by also assessing how t hese modes of feedback affect student self-efficacy beliefs and motivation to persist in developing writing skills. Performance feedback describes process and progress feedback wh ich informs students of the learning progress they have made. Hendrien Duijnhouwer’s wor k in “Feedback Effects on Students’ Writing Motivation, Process and Performan ce” shows that progress feedback increases students’ self-efficacy beliefs. John Hat tie and Helen Timperely, in “The Power of Feedback,” explore how feedback that offers prog ress information, feedback that is task oriented, and praise affects student performan ce and student beliefs and attitudes. Their findings are complex, but show that these typ es of feedback can be effective in specific situations for distinct goals. These studi es are important for my project, not only for the insight they give into the effectiveness of specific types of student-centered feedback, but also because they show that student b eliefs and attitudes are an important dynamic in the effectiveness of feedback. Teachers’ written responses interact with students on many levels, and student beliefs and at titudes are as important to consider as writing achievement and performance. The research f rom this student-centered point of view reveals important understanding of the quality of the student-teacher interactions that take place in the marginal spaces surrounding student texts.

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35 Conclusion The scholarship addressing teachersÂ’ written respon se is abundant and offers valuable perspectives that enrich this pedagogical practice. Nevertheless, there are still pervading issues that plague our understanding of w hat constitutes effective written response practices. The scholarship shows that teac hers need to frame responses in a careful, reflective, conversational manner that enc ourages students to accept and exert control over their writing. It shows that teachersÂ’ purposes are evident in their responses practices, and that student-centered modes of comme nting are more beneficial for students. The scholarship also recognizes that the studentÂ’s perspective of teachersÂ’ written responses is vital to their value, and that performance feedback can influence students in motivationally productive ways. What we are searching for is how to meld these concepts in ways that are productive and bene ficial for both the teacher and the student. Research needs to address the efficacy of teachersÂ’ written responses from a broader perspective to include the environment of t eacher-student relationships, classroom dialogue, writer-reader interaction and c onversation, and pedagogical concerns and how they interface within the finite confines o f the narrow margins and interlinear spaces that circumscribe studentsÂ’ texts, a crowded juggling game-floor, indeed. Research into this broadened response situation ne eds to be focused on the complex human relationships that are enacted in the few words and phrases of teachersÂ’ written responses. My project explores how to bette r enable a two-way reflective conversation about writing between teachers and stu dents. As noted before, teachers and students are involved in an intricate juggling game a process that requires purposeful trading of perceptions and awareness. Many scholars call for one of the many purposes of

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36 response to be the encouragement of students to per sist in developing their writing skills. Encouraging students can be equated with motivating them, and I argue that creating written responses with motivational purpose can enh ance and better enable the two-way conversation between teachers and students that lea rning to write entails. A better understanding of the motivational aspects of the te acher-student relationship requires knowledge of human motivational needs, which the fo cus of the next chapter.

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37 CHAPTER III PRINCIPLES OF MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES Educational motivation theories are a subject of st udy within the broader discipline of educational psychology. Paul R. Pintr ich, at the end of his tenure as editor of Educational Psychologist considers the future of educational psychology an d argues that educational psychology offers value in two ways: “b ecause it improves both our understanding of complex issues as well as offers i mportant applications that can improve the lives of many individuals” (225). Educational p sychology values research and study of teaching and learning to advance knowledge of th eir complexities; however, it also values research and study of teaching and learning toward practical applications in the classroom. Research and study in educational psycho logy typically focuses on children and adolescents in K-12 educational settings, which may complicate my application of its findings in motivation to post-secondary compositio n and writing contexts. Fife and O’Neill assert, however, that “researchers in compo sition studies need to include the work done in K-12 education instead of isolating co llege writing teachers from their K-12 counterparts” (“Moving Beyond” 315). Isolation prev ents the productive exchange of research findings and insights that leads, at the l east, to duplicated efforts and, at the worst, to limited perspectives. I further argue tha t teaching-learning/teacher-student contexts and relationships requiring understanding of unique characteristics and principles are also informed by shared human needs, beliefs, and goals—whether they occur at elementary, secondary, or post-secondary l evel—which supports the application of educational psychology’s understanding of human motivation to the interrogation of teachers’ written response practices.

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38 Educational psychology values empirical study locat ed in a specific educational context and divides its focus into differing areas, one of which is the study of student motivation. The educational context for scientific inquiry by educational psychology most commonly takes place in the intersections of e ducational commonplaces identified by the philosopher Joseph Schwab: someone teaches s omething to someone else in a setting, or the intersections of teachers, tasks, s tudents, and settings. The study of the psychological interplay within these commonplaces i nquires into development, difference, cognition, cognitive process, education al context, societal and cultural perspectives, educational contexts, assessments, an d most importantly for my project, student motivation (see Handbook of Educational Psychology Second Edition ). Remembering Haswell’s compelling image in which “th e narrow margins and narrower interlinear spaces of a student paper can expand to encompass a large and complex arena of writer-reader interaction,” reveals intersection s of educational commonplaces fertile for inquiry (“Higher Education” 408). Narrow margin s and narrower interlinear spaces are the setting where teachers and students interac t in the task of teaching and learning academic writing, this large and complex arena offe ring a rich place for inquiry into the motivational potentials of teachers’ written respon ses. Because I am importing concepts from a discipline outside my own, this literature review of motivation in educational psychology will necessarily need to provide a more comprehensive perspective. I begin by reviewing the definition of motivation in the literature. I then briefly overview the historical development of five major theoretical perspectives on motivation: behaviorist, humanist, cognitive, social-cognitive, and sociocultural. I conclude with a summary of the per spectives and identification of

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39 motivational constructs that provide a valuable fra mework for examining the motivational potentials of teachers’ written respon ses. Definition of Motivation The concept of motivation is defined through multip le characteristics. Individuals’ motivation to act “has long been thought to derive from the meaningfulness of activities related to daily life and society as well as to . active, rather than passive, engagement” (Perry, Turner, and Meyer 333). Active engagement w ith activities individuals find meaningful is realized through internal processes, by external products, and through contextual variables including motivational context s in the classroom that include the supportiveness of social and institutional structur es, individual attributions—the efforts, perceptions of task difficulty, and effects of chan ce to which individuals attribute their personal success and failure— and students’ goal ex pectations and structures (see Perry, Turner, and Meyer). A contextualized view of motiva tion is valuable because it recognizes that motivation is a complex construct t hat is best understood within contextual combinations of features—both of individ uals and of external influences. Understanding motivational variables of processes, products, and contextual influences necessitates determining the origin of i ndividual motivation. The origin of individual motivation—or its locus of causality—is generally distinguished between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In Educational Psychology, Anita Woolfolk defines intrinsic motivation as “the natural human tendency to seek out and conquer challenges as we pursue personal interests and exercise our ca pabilities” (431). Intrinsic motivation is associated with internal satisfaction and reward s in the pursuit of a task or activity which an individual values and in which an individu al has interest. Extrinsic motivation

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40 is often characterized as the opposite of intrinsic motivation. Woolfolk defines extrinsic motivation as externally exerted factors, such as t he desire to “earn a grade, avoid punishment, [or] please the teacher . that [hav e] little to do with the task itself” (431). Extrinsic motivation, then, is associated with rewa rds and/or punishments that originate from external sources and is not necessarily relate d to interest in or valuing of the activity or task. The internal or external origination of mo tivation is also associated with positive and negative responses to learning situations, with intrinsic motivation being linked to increased academic achievement and extrinsic motiva tion being linked to poorer academic achievement. Of course, no task or activity is completely inform ed by intrinsic or extrinsic motivation exclusively, so this review describes ho w two differing points of view illustrate the relationship between intrinsic and e xtrinsic motivation. The first is that motivation exists on a continuum from completely ex trinsic motivation through varying combinations of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations to completely intrinsic motivation, with the motivation to accomplish most tasks origin ating both extrinsically and intrinsically in differing levels. In “Self-Determi nation Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and WellBeing,” Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci describe motivation through self-det ermined behaviors. Ryan and Deci maintain that “The fullest representations of human ity show people to be curious, vital, and self-motivated. . .Yet it is also clear that the human spirit can be diminished or crushed and that individuals sometimes reject growt h and responsibility” (68). Ryan and Deci’s description of human qualities suggests that “to be curious, vital, and selfmotivated” is a natural state of humanity—for human s “to be” suggests the qualities are

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41 innate—but “the human spirit can be diminished or c rushed” by outside forces—the passive voice “can be diminished” suggesting extern al influence. The curious, vital, and self-motivated qualities of humanity inspire self-d etermined behaviors—people take initiative to pursue experiences, even difficult or painful experiences, to fulfill these intrinsic desires. Self-determined behaviors, howev er, can be frustrated through social experiences that inhibit certain psychological need s, resulting in people approaching life experiences passively, responding only to extrinsic pressures in anticipation of a reward or in avoidance of punishment, or, in the extreme, actively shunning emotional and physical engagement in social experiences. Classrooms are intense social environments where ex trinsic pressures—societal, social, and familial—juggle, or sometimes struggle, with individual intrinsic motivations of various intensities. Teachers mediate these extr insic pressures and intrinsic motivations. Writing instruction adds to the comple xities of the classroom environment because it is, in itself, an activity that asks stu dents to articulate intrinsic thoughts and feelings and to put them on paper for extrinsic eva luation. Consequently, teachers who teach writing need a thorough understanding of the intricate relationship between extrinsic pressures and intrinsic needs and desires Self-determination theory (SDT) brings significant insights into necessary psycholo gical supports for intrinsic motivation amidst extrinsic pressures that are valuable for te achers, especially teachers of writing, so a more detailed explanation of SDT is included in t his definition of motivation to support the basis of the framework used to interrogate the motivational qualities of teachers’ written responses.

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42 In SDT, Ryan and Deci offer a model of motivation t hat exists on a continuum from amotivation to intrinsic motivation. A state o f amotivation is characterized by no participation or simply “going through the motions, ” but not valuing the activity or its outcomes. People in a state of amotivation do not f eel a sense of control or competency and show no regulation of behavior. Next on the co ntinuum, extrinsic motivation provides external stimulus for action. Outside forc es offer rewards and punishments for behavior that are not necessarily connected to the value of the activity. In the educational system, grades are a type of extrinsic motivation. While they are ostensibly an evaluative tool, they also apply significant external pressure on students through rewards—social status, teacher and parental approval, and increase d opportunities—for “good” grades, and punishments—which are typically the converse of rewards—for “bad” grades. Extrinsic pressures, however, can be moderated thro ugh supports for intrinsic motivational needs. As students’ intrinsic motivati on needs are supported, external regulations are “evaluated and brought into congrue nce with one’s other values and needs,” which leads to increased intrinsic regulati on (73). Ryan and Deci identify this state as integrated motivation. Students in this st ate of motivation may appreciate the rewards that come with good grades, but they are al so aware that learning to write well, for example, will help them achieve educational or work-related goals that have an intrinsic origin. Integrated regulation manifests m any of the same processes—interest, enjoyment, and self-satisfaction—of intrinsic regul ation, or self-determined behavior. Last on the continuum is intrinsic motivation which is characterized by intrinsic regulation of behavior, internal locus of causality and regulatory processes of interest, enjoyment, and self-satisfaction in activities.

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43 Ryan and Deci offer a visual representation that he lps convey, in brief, the complexity of the intrinsic to extrinsic motivation al continuum: Table 1 Types of Motivation (adapted from Ryan and Deci 72) The Self-Determination Continuum Showing Types of M otivation With Their Regulatory Styles, Loci of Causality, and Corresponding Proces ses Behavior Nonself-Determined Self-Determined Motivation Regulatory Styles Perceived Locus of Causality Relevant Regulatory Processes Amotivation Extrinsic Motivation NonRegulation Impersonal Nonintentional, Nonvaluing, Incompetence, Lack of Control External Regulation External Compliance, External Rewards and Punishments Integrated Regulation Internal Congruence, Awareness, Synthesis With Self Intrinsic Motivation Intrinsic Regulation Internal Interest, Enjoyment, Inherent Satisfaction While Ryan and Deci’s model offers valuable insight into motivational processes, SDT places intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in advers arial positions where intrinsic motivation relates to positive regulatory processes and outcomes and extrinsic motivation relates to negative regulatory processes and outcom es. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, how ever, do not necessarily have to be viewed as adversarial. In “Intrinsic Versus Extr insic Motivation: An Approach/Avoidance Reformulation,” Marvin V. Coving ton and Kimberly J. Mueller argue for a perspective of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation as coexisting

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44 independent variables that can support or undermine student achievement. In Covington and Mueller’s report on their study, they note an e xample of a supportive relationship: “Although virtually all of our students focus on th e prospects of getting a good grade, they are also more likely to invest greater time an d energy (beyond what is necessary for a good grade) in those assignments for which there are additional tangible, yet intrinsically oriented payoffs” such as showcasing their work and sharing the personal significance of their achievements (171). In this v iew, the extrinsic reward of good grades supports students’ intrinsic motivation of achievem ent and self-discovery, so rather than having an adversarial relationship, it is possible that extrinsic rewards can support intrinsic motivation. Sill, as with Ryan and Deci’s model, intrinsic motivation is crucial for positive engagement in tasks and activities. Th is is an extremely brief accounting of a complex construct of motivation; nevertheless, Covi ngton and Mueller’s perspective of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation as independent y et interdependent aspects of motivation increases flexibility in the relationship between i ntrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Finally, then, motivation is defined by the cognit ive processes, contextual influences, productive actions, and the locus of ca usality of those processes and products that affect individuals’ behaviors. In Motivation to Learn, Jere Brophy offers this general definition of motivation: “ Motivation is a theoretical construct used to explain the initiation, direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of behavior” (3). The initiation of behavior is affected by intrinsic and extrinsic inf luences and by individuals’ beliefs, values, and expectations—cognitive processes—which then lead to productive actions— the direction, intensity, persistence and quality o f behavior within specific contexts. There are, however, many variables that affect beha vior, and Eric M. Anderman and

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45 Christopher A. Wolters, in “Goals, Values, and Affe ct: Influences, on Student Motivation,” caution that achievement and/or perfor mance cannot necessarily be equated with motivation for “they are each affected substan tially by nonmotivational factors, such as ability level and prior knowledge” (369). In oth er words, individuals may perform well simply because of greater aptitude rather than any significant interest or effort. Nevertheless, motivation is associated with individ uals’ willingness to engage and persist in difficult tasks and activities. Rarely do indivi duals perform simply because they can. Motivation, therefore, is a complex theoretical con struct, and as such has been studied from differing perspectives, each of which approach es the definition of motivation from a unique perspective, but which also contributes to a comprehensive understanding of motivation. Theoretical Perspectives of Motivation The five theoretical perspectives reviewed in this section—behaviorism, humanism, cognitive, social cognitive, and sociocul trual—inform my research in differing ways. Writing teachers function in a mode l of education based in behaviorist principles, so a review of these principles provide s information about the context in which teachers’ written responses function, and whi ch teachers need to resist as they develop responding practices. Humanist principles p rovide a deeper understanding of students’ psychological needs while cognitive theor ies address the importance of supporting students’ self-efficacy beliefs, attribu tions, and goal orientations, and social cognitive and sociocultural theories provide an und erstanding of how beliefs, attributions, and goal orientations are affected by social relati onships and contexts. This overview of main theories provides foundational concepts and fu ndamental vocabulary related to

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46 aspects of motivation directly linked to the pedago gical choices teachers make in writing responses to students about their writing. The cate gorization of these motivational perspectives is relatively general in nature and is not meant to indicate strict divisions. Behaviorist Approaches Early behaviorist perspectives are based in the wor k of B.F. Skinner which characterized human motivation as responses to driv es or needs of the physical body rather than results of mental processes2. Skinner holds that “what is felt or introspective ly observed is not some nonphysical world of conscious ness, mind, or mental life but the observer's own body” (18). These feelings of the bo dy respond to reinforcements, or consequences that preserve or increase desired beha viors. Behaviorist theories are the foundation of systems which use reinforcements in t he form of external rewards and punishments that create incentives for behavior but exist independent of specific tasks. In an educational setting, grades, awards, honor rolls privileges—even stickers and teacher praise are used as rewards to reinforce learning be haviors such as completing homework or staying on task in the classroom. Perry, Turner, and Meyer observe that the empirical evidence of “increase or decrease in a behavior rep resents learning, and it simultaneously represents motivation because knowing individuals’ histories of rewards helps us understand their actions” (329). Accordingly, stude nts who complete homework and stay on task are learning, and those who have a record o f straight As are motivated, or vice versa. The extrinsic emphasis of the behaviorist pe rspective is evident in its valuing of external evidences of learning behaviors. Behaviori sm perceives human beings as 2 The development of behaviorist theories included r esearch on animals in a laboratory situation. Theor ists in this perspective value research based in the sci entific method of gathering and analyzing empirical and measurable evidence; however, many motivation resea rchers find this method limiting because it does no t account for cognitive aspects of human behavior.

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47 reactive to external stimuli and focused on achievi ng or receiving a reinforcing reward or avoiding a punishment rather intentionally pursuing a task for its intrinsic reward. While the behaviorist perspective has developed to recognize individual intentionality—individuals intentionally acting to reach goals—it still carries an overarching concept of control of students’ actions rather than supporting students’ motivation. As Brophy states, behaviorists “speak o f using reinforcement to bring behavior under stimulus control, ” where a stimulus reminds participants that certai n behaviors will bring positive reinforcement and und esirable behavior is contained through non-reinforcement or punishment (3-4, empha sis in original and applies to future Brophy references). Control of actions from this pe rspective lies outside of the individual as extrinsic pressures. The example in the precedin g paragraph of how a behaviorist perspective of motivation is evident in an educatio nal setting shows that our current school environment is steeped in practices that ref lect a behaviorist perspective. The behaviorist approach to motivation influences my re search because extrinsic motivation is linked with poorer academic—and by extrapolation writing— achievement. Consequently, teachers face inherent tension betwee n applying current knowledge that intrinsic motivation supports increased academic ac hievement while functioning within an educational institution founded on extrinsic mot ivation, and they balance within this tension through their pedagogical choices—which inc ludes written response practices. Additionally, behaviorism is also important to my r esearch because other motivational perspectives developed in resistance to behaviorist principles.

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48 Humanist Approaches Early humanists argued that behaviorist perspective s in which human beings are simply reactive to their environment did not fully explain why and how individuals are motivated to act. Humanists hold that instead of be ing motivated by physical needs, people are intrinsically motivated to progress and grow. They strive to reach potentials and interact purposefully in their environments, bo th to benefit themselves and others.3 Humanist theories see human motivation as response to felt needs, but, nevertheless, they do face significant critiques. Brophy notes that on e major critique of needs theories is that their reasoning is circular: “students who work har d in school are said to do so because they are high in need for achievement, and the evid ence that they are high in need for achievement is that they work hard in school” (4). Behavior here—students who work hard—is labeled but not explained, which is problem atic because it does not offer any insight into meeting needs. Nonetheless, humanist t heories receive relatively widespread support, perhaps because their emphasis on support for intrinsic needs provides insight deemed valuable for those invested in developing an d expanding human potential. Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory4 (SDT) is one prominent theory based in psychological needs. Because SDT is influential in education, a study of its tenets positively informs my research. In addition, the ma in concepts of SDT are echoed and supported in other motivational perspectives, so an introduction to them at this point will reinforce later literature. 3 Early humanist theories were developed philosophic ally rather than through research findings, so some motivational theorists lend them little credence. H owever, there has been empirical study of the work of Carl Rogers, an influential psychologist and leader in humanist psychology, and empirical study of the application of his person-centered theories in educ ational settings. 4 Perry, Turner, and Meyer place self-determination theory within a cognitive perspective of motivation because of their similar view of individuals as inh erently self-motivated and their emphasis on intrin sic motivation.

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49 SDT focuses on specific human needs and their rela tionship with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Ryan and Deci center their re search in motivation on the premise that human beings are motivated by natural, intrins ic factors. They hold “people to be curious, vital, and self-motivated,” a view of huma n beings as inherently motivated to be actively engaged their environment (Ryan and Deci 6 8). SDT is based on the concept that self-motivation, or motivation from an intrinsic so urce, is related to increased interest and engagement and results in higher performance and pe rsistence levels. Nevertheless, human nature has “a vulnerability to passivity,” so even though self-motivation is natural, it needs to be supported extrinsically in order for it to flourish (Ryan and Deci 76). SDT’s recognition of the interplay between ext rinsic and intrinsic motivation provides valuable insight for teachers who function in educational systems based in extrinsic motivation, but who also understand and w ant to maximize the benefits of intrinsic motivation for academic achievement. Ryan and Deci’s theory addresses this tension by arguing that “social environments can fa cilitate or forestall intrinsic motivation by supporting versus thwarting people’s innate psychological needs” (71). The social environment of the writing classroom—inc luding teacher-student relationships within institutional, societal, and cultural contex ts—can facilitate or forestall students’ intrinsic motivation to persist in the writing proc ess by supporting versus thwarting students’ innate psychological needs, which Ryan an d Deci define as needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Psychological needs of autonomy, competence and rel atedness are not necessarily hierarchical, but there is evidence that competence —related to self-efficacy beliefs discussed later—and autonomy support are most effec tive for intrinsic motivation.

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50 Autonomy supportive practices allow students to hav e choice and control in activities. Johnmarshall Reeve et al., in their study of “Enhan cing Students’ Engagement by Increasing Teachers’ Autonomy Support” found that “ the more teachers used autonomy support during instruction, the more engaged were t heir students” (147). Engagement— the intensity and quality of active involvement—is an aspect of motivation, so the more that students were allowed to make choices, the gre ater was their intensity and quality of active involvement in the activities. These finding s parallel the literature on teachers’ written response showing that teachers’ written res ponses need to be crafted carefully in ways that allow and even encourage students to take beneficial power and control in the development of their writing process. Allowing choi ces is one way to encourage students to take control of their writing development, so au tonomy supportive responding practices mediate the power and control issues inhe rent in teachers’ written responses practices. In addition to autonomy support, Ryan and Deci hold that feedback that contributes to feelings of competence—an individual ’s belief in their abilities— increases students’ motivation for action. Frank Pajares, in “Self-Efficacy Beliefs, Motivation, and Achievement in Writing: A Review of the Literature, ” confirms this and observes that there is an assumption “that the beliefs that stude nts create, develop, and hold to be true about themselves are vital forces in their success or failure in school,” which can either facilitate or forestall their intrinsic motivation to persist in learning activities (140). Beliefs that students create, develop, and hold to be true about their ability to write, or about their ability to address issues in their writ ing, are vital forces in their success or failure in developing writing skills. Support for f eelings of competence—such as that

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51 given in progress or process feedback when a teache r uses written responses to inform students of the progress they have made in developi ng a writing skill—provides students with needed support for belief in their writing com petency. Competence is related to ability, but it is more th an just the ability to take action; competence includes individuals’ beliefs that their abilities will allow them to act effectively in social situations. In discussing co mpetence, Ryan and Deci maintain that people tend to act “when they feel efficacious with respect to those activities” (73). This observation connects an internal feeling of having the ability to act effectively with the aspect of competence. Albert Bandura discusses thi s feeling, or internal belief, as selfefficacy. Having self-efficacy allows people to act ively make choices, regulating their own actions rather than simply reacting to biologic al or environmental factors. Bandura contends that self-efficacy is at the center of the actions people take in their lives because people need to “believe they can produce desired ef fects by their actions” (2). Ryan and Deci’s observation that the need to feel “efficacio us with respect to those activities” echoes Bandura’s contention that people need to “be lieve they can produce desired effects by their actions”—an agreement that connect s individuals’ internal beliefs about their abilities with the ability to act effectively in an external, social manner. Competence, or self-efficacy belief, is internal be lief by individuals’ about their ability to produce external outcomes which then influence thos e individuals in the actions they choose to take. The definition of competency, however, might be mor e clearly understood through its evident outcomes. Bandura asserts that efficacy beliefs have wide-ranging effects: “Such beliefs influence the course of acti on people choose to pursue, how much

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52 effort they put forth in given endeavors, [and] how long they will persevere in the face of obstacles and failures” (3). Self-efficacy beliefs determine how much effort students will put into a writing assignment, and, if problems ari se, self-efficacy beliefs affect students’ desire to persist in trying to develop writing skil ls. In general, the outcomes of individuals’ beliefs in their abilities to act effe ctively in social arenas are apparent in the activities they choose to pursue, the amount of eff ort they expend in the pursuit of the activity, and the amount of time they will dedicate to the activity in the face of problems. Accordingly, support of students’ competence belief s and autonomy is vital, but SDT identifies students’ need to socially relate to oth ers as another important aspect of individual motivation. The needs for autonomy and competence put emphasis on the individual—the individual needs to be able to make choices and to feel that she or he has the ability to act efficaciously in a social situation. The social sit uation, however, plays a role in individual motivation. SDT postulates that people have a need to “fit in” with the group, to relate to others in social situations. Ryan and Deci contend that people are more motivated to pursue activities they find uninteresting or diffic ult if the activities are “prompted, modeled, or valued by significant others to whom th ey feel (or want to feel) attached or related” (73). Thus, if there are frustrating facto rs about an activity, significant others— parents, coaches, role models (in any field), relig ious leaders, counselors, and teachers— provide emotional supports through direct interacti on or through modeling that facilitate individuals’ intrinsic motivation to continue to en gage in that activity. For example, watching a respected athlete push through pain and exhaustion to achieve a goal can encourage an aspiring athlete to persist in trainin g, or desiring to emulate a valued teacher

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53 can encourage a struggling student to persist in co mpleting a difficult assignment. These interpersonal relationships contribute to relatedne ss needs and individual motivation because “intrinsic motivation [is] more likely to f lourish in contexts characterized by a sense of security and relatedness” (Ryan and Deci 7 1). In the context of writing instruction, pedagogical practices that contribute to students’ sense of relatedness—for example, respectful feedback offering students enco uragement and strategies for addressing writing issues—can provide students with a feeling of security and relatedness to the teacher, the classroom, and the discipline o f academic writing. Self-determination theory is one example of a motivational perspective that reflects human-need centered humanism. Other contemporary theories, however, vie w motivation as behaviors filtered through thoughts rather than needs. Cognitive Approaches Cognitive theories of motivation, like humanist per spectives, view people as naturally intrinsically motivated to achieve percei ved potentials in many areas, including intellectual and physical. This intrinsic motivatio n, however, is “situated in the individual’s perceptions and information processing ” through “wishes, urges, expectancies, and thoughts” (Perry, Turner, and Mey er 329). Again in response to behaviorist perspectives, cognitive theorists view individuals acting in response to internal thoughts, plans, and goals rather than, as Woolfolk notes, in “whether we have been rewarded or punished for the behavior” (433). Reinforcement does play a role in cognitive perspectives, but the effectiveness of a reinforcement is connected more to an individual’s expectations and valuing of that reinf orcement rather than reacting to past experiences with the reinforcement. From this persp ective, even though a student may be

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54 motivated to complete homework in anticipation of a grade reward, that student experiences stronger intrinsic motivation to comple te homework in a subject which he or she values and in which she or he holds interest. C onsequently, attaining valued knowledge and working toward internally perceived g oals reinforces the completion of homework. Cognitive perspectives have inspired the development of theories in many areas, but for the purposes of my project, I focus on two areas that offer principles directly applicable to the practice of teachers’ wr itten responses: attribution and goal orientation. Attribution. Attribution theories center around the ways peopl e make sense of their situations and behaviors. Eric M. Anderman an d Lynley H. Anderman identify attribution theories in Motivating Children and Adolescents in Schools and define their perspective of motivation as understanding “how the individual’s explanations, justifications, and excuses influence motivation” ( Woolfolk 444). A student receiving a failing grade on a paper may attribute the failure to his lack of effort or to his lack of intellect, or she may attribute the failure to an a dversarial relationship with the teacher or to not being interested in the topic. Bernard Weine r characterizes three facets of attribution theories: 1) Locus, whether the cause i s internal or external to the person. For example, attributing a successful paper to personal effort or ability is internal, while attributing a successful paper to the instruction o f the teacher is external. 2) Stability, if the cause is stable across time and situation. For example, having a talent for writing is stable, but writing effort is variable. 3) Controll ability, the control a person has over the cause. For example, writing effort is controllable but writing talent is not. Dale H. Schunk and Barry J. Zimmerman maintain that “[a]ttribution s are important because they have

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55 motivational consequences” (355). When facing a wri ting assignment, students who feel internally that they have the skill to meet the ass ignment, that they have the ability to put effort into the assignment, and that the control th ey have will result in a successful paper will be more motivated to complete the assignment a nd persist through revision. Goal Orientations While attribution accounts for the reasoning stude nts use to explain or justify successes and failures, goal ori entations explain the reasoning students use for pursuing achievement. Brophy notes that “[ i ] mplied goals are built into activity settings ”; thus, the implied goal of a class teaching writi ng is that students will work on learning to write (5). Students, however, also brin g their own goal orientations to the classroom. Goal taxonomies involved specifically wi th education generally break goal orientations into four categories: 1) Mastery goals: Goals students set to master abiliti es or tasks no matter what it takes. Students who set mastery goals engage more intensel y with the task, tend to have a more positive affect about themselves, and will solicit help and use deeper le arning strategies. 2) Performance goals: Goals students set that demonstr ate their abilities publicly. Students who set performance goals are more concern ed with what the teacher and students think than with what they are learning. 3) Work-avoidance goals: Students who have work-avoida nce goals have no personal

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56 investment in pleasing others or in learning. Their goal is to simply finish the work with as little effort as pos sible. 4) Social goals: Goals students have that involve the social aspect of their lives. Social goals—such as athletics, clubs, and social status concerns—can enhance or hinder learning. Some socia l goals take extra time that interfere with schoolwor k or have agendas unrelated to learning, while others—such as working in tandem with a peer group to achieve acad emic goals—support learning goals. (adapted from Schunk, Pintrich, and Meese) Students’ goal orientation has been shown to correl ate with achievement outcomes, illustrating the importance of personal goals in st udent motivation to learn. For my project, however, goal orientation theories are imp ortant because teachers can directly support students’ goal orientations. Brophy explain s that teachers can support students’ goal orientation by “(a) establishing supportive re lationships and collaborative learning arrangements that encourage students to adopt learn ing goals and (b) minimizing the sorts of pressures that dispose students toward performan ce goals or work-avoidance goals” (7). As Nancy Sommers reminds us, teachers’ written responses are students’ “most personal, most intimate and direct interaction with their college writing culture,” and as such, this intimate, direct interaction has the pot ential to foster supportive relationships and collaborative arrangements toward establishing and reaching learning mastery goals (“Across” 253).

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57 Social Cognitive and Sociocultural Social cognitive and sociocultural approaches to mo tivation center on how context affects individuals’ motivation. While attr ibution and goal orientation theories are considered cognitive motivational approaches, in tr uth, researchers have expanded their understanding of these theories to include social d ynamics and contexts that characterize social cognitive and sociocultural approaches to mo tivation. In studying goal theory, Lynley H. Anderman, Helen Patrick, Ludmila Z. Hruda and Elizabeth A Linnenbrink contend that “A central tenet of goal theories is t hat students’ adoption of personal goals is influenced, at least in part by the goal structu res present in and promoted by the classroom and broader school environment” (244). St udents develop goals in response to personal needs and desires that are also affected b y the social situations in which they operate. Students in the writing classroom develop academic writing goals in part because the activities and assignments in class are focused on academic writing outcomes and in part because they function in an academic sy stem that values certain writing conventions; thus social contexts influence student s’ goal orientations. Social cognitive and sociocultural understandings of motivation are vital to the basis of my project; teachers operate in and mediat e among educational social contexts and communities, and teachers’ written responses ar e a vital pedagogical practice that reflects those contexts. Social cognitive and socio cultural theories apply contextual dynamics to the constructs reviewed above, includin g self-efficacy beliefs and cognitive motivational understanding. Consequently, I only br iefly review the basic tenets of each approach but acknowledge that my argument—understan ding educational motivation concepts can help teachers’ frame written responses that support students’ motivational

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58 needs—is based on the premise that social contexts and communities are vital dynamics in student motivation to learn to write. Social cognitive approaches to motivation assume t hat interactions between individuals, their thoughts, and their social envir onment are reciprocal. Dale H. Schunk and Paul R. Pintrich note that social cognitive the orists study the development of knowledge and the experience of affect through indi viduals’ interactions and observation of others. In the writing classroom, individuals de velop knowledge and reconcile personal beliefs about themselves as writers and ab out writing as they interact with the teacher and with peers. Self-efficacy beliefs, attr ibutions, and goal orientations are all moderated through the social interactions in the cl assroom. Social cognitive theories emphasize the perspective of the individual, wherea s sociocultural theories emphasize the context—for example the activities in the classroom (see Perry, Turner, and Meyer). Sociocultural approaches to motivation reflect Vygo tsky’s perspective of learning that highlight individuals’ development of knowledge as they interact in and are supported by communities. Perry, Turner, and Meyer explain that “Participation and appropriation are key constructs in sociocultural theories of learnin g and motivation, and people are not merely products of their environments, but through their participation, create, or coconstruct, environments” (332). As students partici pate in the writing classroom, and as they appropriate academic writing skills, they crea te, or co-construct, the writing classroom environment. Understanding student motiva tion to learn to write as an aspect of their involvement with teacher and students in t he classroom and as a part of a writing community situates motivation as an aspect of the e ducational setting, making it less

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59 about intrinsic and extrinsic desires and pressures and more about the social construction of communal beliefs, values, and expectations (see Hickey). One highly influential motivational construct asso ciated with sociocultural theory is Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD). V ygotsky asserts that “[t]he zone of proximal development defines those functions that h ave not yet matured but are in the process of maturation” (33). ZPD is the opening bet ween what students know and can apply independently and what they can accomplish wi th the help of a more knowledgeable member of the community. From a motiv ational standpoint, teachers must not only provide cognitive scaffolding, but must al so help students appreciate the value of persisting in learning the targeted skills. Student motivation to continue to persist in learning to write includes both support for learnin g skills and for appreciating how those skills may transfer to other educational situations and to future contexts. ZPD is an important concept in examining teachers’ written re sponses. Part of a teachers’ responsibility in supporting students’ motivation t o persist in the writing process is to mediate frustration by acting in “co-regulation” wi th students and scaffolding their learning (see McCaslin and Hickey). While brief tea chers’ written responses may not necessarily help students understand the value of w orking to bridge the gap between what they are able to do and what they need to be able t o do, they can provide students with strategies and information that helps them actually bridge that gap; thus the narrow margins and narrower interlinear spaces of student texts becomes a motivationally vital site of intersections between setting, teacher, stu dent, and task.

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60 Conclusion Educational psychologyÂ’s research into motivation traces motivational perspectives from behavioral responses to physical drives, through human needs, cognitive development and beliefs, socially constru cted environments, and the importance of sociocultural contexts. The following table illustrates these motivational perspectives: Table 2 Motivational Theories Motivational Approach Behaviorist Humanist Cognitive Social Cognitive Soc iocultural Locus of Causality Extrinsic Intrinsic Intrinsic Intrinsic & Extrinsic Intrinsic Basic Tenets People are driven by physical reactions. People are motivated by physical and emotional needs. People act in response to internal thoughts, plans, beliefs, and goals. Motivation is a part of reciprocal intrinsic qualities and extrinsic contexts. Motivation is an aspect of the educational setting. Important Constructs Reinforcement through rewards, incentives, and punishments SDTÂ’s needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness Attributions Goal orientations Self-efficacy beliefs Social construction of attributions, goals, and beliefs ZPD These perspectives are each important to the develo pment of a motivational framework from which to rhetorically examine teachersÂ’ writte n responses. The behaviorist approach is evident in the educational system within which c omposition instructors function. The education system is based on extrinsic rewards, inc entives, and punishments in the form of grades and evaluations. Subsequent motivational approaches resist behaviorist tenets and offer perspectives that help teachers develop p edagogical interventions to mediate the extrinsic centricity of our education system. Conse quently, the tenets of humanism, cognitivism, social cognitivism, and socioculturali sm provide specific motivational

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61 constructs through which to examine the motivationa l potentials of teachersÂ’ written responses.

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62 CHAPTER IV METHODOLOGY My project employs rhetorical analysis of two teach ers’ written response samples using a framework based on theories of motivational needs and supports from the field from educational psychology. Charles Bazerman, in “ Standpoints: The Disciplined Interdisciplinarity of Writing Studies,” argues tha t “one can continue to evolve a disciplinary core problematic while engaging with t he learning and perspectives of other disciplines” (19). Teachers’ written responses occu py a multifaceted space between teachers and students, at once evaluative, instruct ive, supportive, and motivational, so these brief marks and comments function in differin g ways on various levels and have great potential for communicative disjunction. A fr amework based on motivational theories allows this rhetorical analysis to evolve the problematic teacher-text-student disjunctions that mar the practice of writing respo nses through engagement with the learning and perspectives of motivational theories. This section discusses the value of rhetorical analysis as a means of discovering commu nicative potentials. It then presents the motivational framework used to interrogate two samples of teachers’ written responses and a description of general modes of wri tten responses that inform the analysis, provides a rationale for using the chosen texts, and concludes with an outline of the following rhetorical analysis. The Value of Rhetorical Analysis Rhetorical analysis of teachers’ written responses is a valuable research method as it helps us to "better understand human behavior an d experience. . [and] grasp the processes by which people construct meaning and to describe what those meanings are"

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63 (Bogdan and Biklen as qtd. in Castellan 5). Human b ehavior and experience is evident in students’ texts and in teachers’ written responses, and together they interact rhetorically to construct meaning, for as Haswell observes “the narrow margins and narrower interlinear spaces of a student paper can expand to encompass a large and complex arena of writer-reader interaction” (“Higher Education” 4 08). The interaction in this complex arena is rhetorical, but rhetorical interaction, as a focus of study, is perceived from multiple viewpoints. Sonja K. Foss, in Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration & Practice describes the function of rhetorical interaction as language produced through a medium of symbols that “functions in a variety of ways to allow humans to communicate with one another,” for persuasion, encouragement to action, as an opening to mutual understanding, and for self-discovery (6). While te achers’ written responses are a form of persuasion and, as this project argues, encourageme nt or motivation for students to take action in their writing development, they are also a complex social interaction through written language in which students and teachers con strue and construct the meaning of what it is to write academically. Students’ texts c ommunicate a student’s current understanding of what it is to write academically. Teachers’ written responses interact with both the student’s text and the student in way s that persuade, model, invite, or that command, correct, or even criticize in attempts to communicate the reality of what it is to write academically. Whether the communication is su ccessful or not, this rhetorical interaction is a site of communicative endeavor bet ween students and teachers to convey and understand the meaning of what it is to write a cademically. Accordingly, my project uses rhetorical analysis to investigate teachers’ w ritten responses because it situates my research directly at a site of meaning making betwe en teachers and students.

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64 Rhetorical analysis of teachers’ written responses at the site of meaning making between teachers and students is valuable because i t prioritizes the human aspect of the writer-reader interaction occurring in the white sp aces circumscribing students’ texts. The responses teachers create have the potential to los e focus on the student and to become a reaction to the text. The multiple roles that teach ers juggle—evaluator, assessor, guide, coach, reader—can sometimes conflict, which affects teachers’ responding practices. Are the responses meant to identify error? evaluate pro gress? assess grade status? provide guidance? offer a reader’s response? or some combin ation? Enacting these multiple and sometimes conflicting roles in the narrow margins s urrounding student text is a complex task that affects how teachers respond. Further, wr itten responses are inherently distant and detached from the classroom conversation as bot h teachers and students create and peruse them typically in isolation. Consequently, a s a student of Nancy Sommers notes, “Too often comments are written to the paper, not t o the student,” a communicative action that obscures the presence of the student-au thor (“Across” 250). Rhetorical analysis, as a study of meaning making between teac hers and students, is more than a study of texts, it is a study of the human writer-r eader interaction evident in those texts. My rhetorical analysis of teachers’ written respons es emphasizes the evident writerreader interaction by keeping the student present—e ven prioritized—because it asks how the responses teachers create might affect students ’ and their inherently human motivational needs. Inquiry into how teachers’ written responses might affect students’ motivational needs necessitates interdisciplinary research—using understanding of students’ motivational needs gained from motivational theorie s in educational psychology to

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65 interrogate teachers’ written responses from the pe rspective of the students’ needs. Interdisciplinary study is inherently problematic, as the “modern academy’s distinctive disciplines, with different epistemologies, strateg ies, procedures, and literatures, have created distance from other disciplines’ ways of kn owing” (Bazerman “Standpoints” 10). Crossing disciplinary lines means reconciling rheto rical ways of knowing, strategies, and procedures with these aspects of educational motiva tion. However, I agree with Bazerman’s argument that “interdisciplinarity deepe ns inquiry and makes possible a more comprehensive understanding of one’s objects of con cern” (19). Applying motivational theories from the field of educational psychology t o a rhetorical analysis of teachers’ written comments to students about their writing de epens inquiry into the interaction of teachers and students in the complex writer-reader arena of the margins of student texts and makes possible a more comprehensive understandi ng of the motivational potentials of teachers’ written responses to students about th eir writing. At this point, I acknowledge that recent scholarshi p calls for research of teachers’ written responses within the classroom context. Fif e and O’Neill, in “Moving Beyond the Comment: Narrowing the Gap Between Response Practic e and Research,” observe that one problem with recent response studies is the tenden cy to view comments from the researcher’s perspective alo ne, analyzing the comments as text apart from the classroom context that gave rise to them. These research practices ar e problematic because just as they tend to study tea cher comments in a vacuum, disconnected from other teach ing practices and their collective effects on student w riting, they also tend to offer advice for pedagogical practice that envisions teachers commenting in a vacuum, separated from th e rest of what we do as writing teachers. (301)

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66 I counter Fife and O’Neill’s view for my project be cause this rhetorical analysis is less an analysis of text as it is an inquiry at a site of communicative, me aning making endeavor between teachers and students. Further, while class room context is silent in my analysis, the teacher-student relationship within a teachinglearning context plays a significant role in my analysis as I ask how the practice of teacher s writing responses to students about their texts melds with teachers’ pedagogical purpos es. My rhetorical inquiry into teachers’ written responses does not function in a vacuum, but is deeply connected to student motivation to persist in learning to write— a vital aspect of the classroom context and of the human relationships that exist around an d through students’ texts and teachers’ written responses. Finally, rhetorical analysis allows for the integra tion of concepts that expand theories concerning teachers’ written responses. As “an interaction between the context, heuristics, intuition, and the constraints of the p erson and the field,” rhetorical analysis is a creative act that allows for the development of n ew theories (Lauer and Asher 5). My project is an interaction between the context of th e teacher-student relationships that take place on student texts, a motivational framework, a nd my intuition—influenced by my personal constraints and the constraints of my fiel d of study, rhetoric and the teaching of writing—concerning the motivational potentials of t eachers’ written responses, an interaction that creates possibilities of new theor ies to inform teachers’ pedagogical choices. Foss asserts that “rhetorical criticism en able[s] us to develop a cumulative body of research and thus to improve our practice of com munication” (8). This analysis reveals important awareness about the motivational qualitie s and potentials in the rhetorical relationship enacted in the margins and white space s of students’ texts, revelations that

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67 can help inform practice, enrich research, and impr ove the communicative qualities of teachers’ written responses. Motivational Framework The motivational approaches presented earlier show that intrinsic motivation underlies strong academic achievement and that the teacher can support and influence students’ intrinsic motivation through the social c ontext of the classroom. Research into student motivation identifies ways that teachers’ p edagogical choices influence students’ motivation, and there are three major areas of focu s that directly intersect with the teacher-student-task interactions within the margin al settings of students’ texts: 1) support for student needs of autonomy, competenc e, and relatedness 2) support for student beliefs and attributions 3) support for student goal orientations Furthermore, teachers’ written responses as individ ual feedback provide writing teachers opportunity to operate in a student’s zone of proxi mal development (ZPD), that space where students ability to successfully address a ta sk meets their need for guidance from a more knowledgeable member of the community and to interact with them in ways that help them develop their fledgling abilities. Feedba ck with positive motivational qualities plays a vital role in support for autonomy by helpi ng students learn to make choices about and to take control of their writing. It play s an important role in supporting competence needs and self-efficacy beliefs by provi ding students with an understanding of what they do well and how they can improve their weaknesses. Feedback also lets students know where they are in relation to their g oals of where they need to be—and provides strategies for reaching their goals. Final ly, feedback that invokes classroom

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68 dialogue and conversation supports relatedness need s as it plays a role in developing and strengthening a classroom community relationship. As feedback, teachers’ written responses have motiv ational potential, both positive and negative. My analyses interrogate teac hers’ written responses through the following motivational framework: Table 3 Motivational Supports My analyses explore the rhetorical aspects of two s amples of teachers’ written responses through examining them for evidence of the above ch aracteristics. While the two samples represent unique qualities and practices, they both employ modes of response commonly recognized in the scholarship concerning teachers’ written responses. These modes of response—the techniques teachers’ use in writing th eir responses ranging from shorthand marks of checks and circles to single words, and ph rases to complete sentences and paragraphs—have communicative characteristics that have the potential to either support or frustrate students’ motivational needs, and as s uch must be considered in these analyses. Motivational Support Needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness Self-efficacy beliefs and attributions Goal Orientations Characteristics of supportive responses Offers and encourages choices Identifies competence, offers strategies for improvement Respectful, optimistic tone Identifies and emphasizes competence over error Attributes success to internal characteristics, unstable causes, and controllable processes Identifies where a student’s skill is Identifies where the skill needs to be Offers strategies for bridging the gap

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69 Recognized Modes of Teachers’ Written Responses The research into teachers’ written responses to st udents about their writing has produced multiple characterizations of response. In 1982, Sommers’ “Responding to Student Writing” and Brannon and Knoblauch’s “On St udents' Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response” introduced a di vided perspective of response as either directive—explicitly dictating editing or re vision tasks—or facilitative—offering feedback and support. Straub, in The Practice of Response: Strategies for Commenting on Student Writing breaks written responses down into seven modes, o r forms: corrections, criticism, qualified criticism, open questions, clo sed questions, commands, advice, praise, and reflective statements—a mode that is further br oken down into multiple categories. Smith introduces a unique perspective and examines responses from a genre standpoint, identifying judging, evaluative, and coaching genre s. More recent research has also affected the characterization of written response. For example, research has shown that students find written responses offering strategies for revision more effective. Consequently, facilitative responses—which offer fe edback and support, but not necessarily suggestions for revision—has shifted to formative responses which do offer specific suggestions for addressing issues. The lis t could continue; however, I have synthesized the many characterizations of written r esponses into specific modes valuable for analysis through a motivation to learn framewor k. First, I identify two main categories of written r esponses: those that evaluate and those that offer a reader’s response. Evaluative mo des of responses range from directive to formative. Directive responses consist of feedba ck that corrects and/or makes commands and may offer criticism. Formative respons es consist of feedback that offers

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70 praise, suggestions or advice, or asks questions th at foster critical thinking skills. Written comments that offer a reader’s response are, typica lly, reflective statements or questions from a more personal point of view. The following c hart offers a breakdown of the types of written responses that I analyze through a motiv ational framework: Table 4 Modes of Response Evaluative Reader’s Response Directive Formative Corrections Commands Criticism Closed questions Open questions Suggestions/Advice Praise Reflective statements Personal questions Of course, these categories of response are general because a single written response can often have multiple characteristics—for example, a teacher wanting to encourage a student to further develop an idea may write, “Good idea but needs further development.” A comment like this uses praise to acknowledge a st rong idea and to, perhaps, soften a command for deeper development, so although it offe rs praise, its purpose is more directive because the praise simply softens a comma nd. Consequently, my analyses focus on the dominant features of the written responses b ut also discuss how a motivation to learn framework views any intersections between the types of comments. Rationale of Chosen Texts The two texts I analyze are texts Straub analyzes i n his book, The Practice of Response: Strategies for Commenting on Student Writ ing These texts have been “refitted into a common format,” placing all comments to the side of the students’ texts, which means that some textual evidence has been lost (4). Nonetheless, the conformity allows for a more equal consideration of their rhetorical features. I chose to analyze two texts,

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71 not so much to compare, but for a larger perspectiv e of the motivational qualities and potentials of differing modes of response and pract ices of responding. The two texts represent markedly different responding styles, but they both address similar issues in the students’ writing. The teacher in Sample A is conce rned with her student increasing the specificity and accuracy of the students’ ideas and decreasing the wordiness of her sentences. The teacher in Sample B is concerned wit h his student providing more specific and robust description of her ideas. Both texts see m to be final drafts, as neither teacher offers suggestions or opportunities for revision. T hese similarities combined with the difference in responding styles provides an increas ed perspective of the motivational qualities and potentials of written responses becau se they provide the opportunity to explore the rhetorical features of different approa ches to similar issues. The analyses have some limits to their scope. One limiting factor is an assumption that these students are in a functional motivationa l state and not in a state of amotivation or avoidance. Each student brings unique motivation al characteristics to the classroom situation, and part of creating written responses r equires some knowledge of the individual’s motivational needs. These analyses ass ume the students to have some integrated motivation—that they have integrated the goals of the classroom into their own goal orientations. Other limitations are that there are no considerations for gender, race, culture, disability, age, or language acquisition l evel. These aspects play a significant role in how students perceive teachers’ written response s and in how they construct and construe meaning, but these samples do not offer th at context for consideration. Consequently, these analyses focus on evident chara cteristics and provide insight that could be applied to future research including situa tions with greater social context.

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72 Further, a limitation of these texts is that they are both responses to final drafts while I may seem to be advocating for responses tha t motivate students to revise. However, my purpose is less to analyze how teachers Â’ written responses motivate students to revise a specific text but more to anal yze how teachersÂ’ written responses to students about one text can affect their motivation to continue to develop their writing skills as a whole. StudentsÂ’ writing abilities deve lop through many writing experiences, and teachersÂ’ written responses may have the potent ial to affect studentsÂ’ motivation to persist in developing their writing skills rather t han to just try to improve one text. My analysis of the motivational potentials of these tw o final drafts offers insight into the role teachersÂ’ written responses play in studentsÂ’ motiv ation to develop as writers rather than the role they play in motivating students to work o n a specific text. This perspective is vital to my project because I am concerned with pri oritizing the student and her or his needs over the revision of a single text. In the en d, I chose to analyze these responses to final drafts because, rather than focusing on stude ntsÂ’ interaction with one text, I want to emphasize the potentials that teachersÂ’ written res ponses have to motivate students as writers. Outline of Analyses Each analysis begins with a copy of the text being analyzed. The text is followed by a brief description that identifies dominant mod es of response and any evident motivational purpose. The separate analyses explore evident motivational support for psychological needs, self-efficacy beliefs and attr ibutions, and goal orientations; however, because this is not a comparison, the topi cs of analysis are not presented in the same order but are addressed from each textÂ’s uniqu e perspective. After the separate

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73 analyses, I examine the evident intersections betwe en response theories, motivational theories, and the practices in these two texts and discuss what these intersections contribute to rhetorical theories and theories of r esponse. This is followed by a discussion of implications for practice and for further resear ch.

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74 CHAPTER V RHETORICAL ANALYSES Rhetorical Analysis of Sample A

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77 Figure 1 Sample Text A (Straub Practice 139-142 reprinted with permission) Description of Text The above example of a teacher’s written responses to a student about her writing contains multiple modes of responses. Many of the m arginal comments are corrective, for example, “No –ed for the past tense of this verb,” or the direct in sertion of a missing

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78 comma on page 141 (Straub Practice 139). Some of the marginal responses seem to be a reader’s response, but are critical of the student’ s idea development, as in this response: “Didn’t he? Most good writers base their fictions o n fact in some way” (140). The closedended question may invite the student to consider h er idea, but it does not offer the student any idea about what a reader might need to better understand the idea. Further, the attending remark categorically disputes the stu dent’s argument, a move that puts the response into a critical mode. Even so, as the teac her moves into a summative response, she moves away from the directive nature of her mar ginal responses toward a more formative response by offering praise and suggestio ns for future writing tasks. Overall, the combined modes of response function in an evalu ative context that nevertheless strives to connect the student’s developing skills to her future studies—“you’ll find that skill particularly useful in communication, your ma jor”—and to encourage her to “Keep going” (142). The teacher’s move to not simply eval uate, but to also encourage—or motivate—this student in future writing growth is a n important pedagogical move and illustrates the complex interweaving of a teacher’s coexisting purposes to fulfill evaluative responsibilities and to motivate student s to continue to work on their writing skills. The summative response at the end of the paper offe rs some context for the marginal responses in the text of the paper, and mo tivation is definitely a part of the context of this teacher’s purpose. The most obvious evidence of motivational purpose is in her last line. “Keep going in this direction—onw ards!” is an expression of confidence in the student’s ability to continue to progress an d is emphasized by being an exclamation rather than just a declaration (142). Motivational purpose is also evident in how the

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79 teacher phrases and places her praise. By phrasing praise as encouragement of the student to “commend” herself, the teacher effectively recog nizes specific moves the student made: stronger thesis, more organization, and more effective paragraphing, while placing developmental control of these abilities on the stu dent by encouraging the student to attribute these successes to herself. Specific, mea ningful praise and encouraging the student to attribute her successes to processes und er the student’s control are motivating moves, yet the following analysis suggests that met hod the teacher uses for corrective responses, in actuality, conflicts with her motivat ional purpose. Support for Goal Orientations The main conflict between the teacher’s marginal co rrective responses and her motivational purpose results from a lack of support for the student’s goal orientations. In the teacher’s summative response, she states, “Furt her, you are reducing the wordiness in your sentences’ structures and controlling the surf ace features a bit better” (142). While this is a response of seemingly specific praise tha t connects with previous work the student has done and attempts to let the student kn ow she is doing better in reaching a mastery goal (or perhaps a performance goal), in tr uth, the teacher offers no concrete evidence of the student’s progress. None of the mar ginal responses show the student where she has improved—every one points to a proble m: “Wordy, unnecessary,” “Wordy it is construction. Focus,” “Focus: abstract subject + t o be verb,” or is an overt correction of punctuation (140, 141). Support for goal orienta tions requires helping students see where they are, where they need to be, and how they can bridge the gap. This teacher’s motivational purpose and her manner of responding c onflict—the teacher’s responses only identify the problem of the student’s level of skill in sentence construction. Her

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80 praise for improvement is located at the end of the paper, after the student has seen only criticism and correction of the very qualities the teacher, conflictingly, praises. This kind of conflict is confusing, which may frustrate this student’s motivation to work on more concise sentence structures. Support for student goal orientation and motivatio n would not necessarily require more work for the teacher, but rather would require the teacher to read the student’s text differently. Teachers inhabit a precarious space. I n one sense, as Brannon and Knoblauch observe, teachers “view themselves as the authoriti es, intellectually maturer, rhetorically more experienced, technically more expert than thei r apprentice writers,” a valid viewpoint (“Students’ Rights” 158). In fact, this p osition carries an inherent responsibility for teachers to “correct” their stud ent apprentice writers, a position which emphasizes looking for error. In another sense, how ever, teachers also work to guide and encourage their students, a position which includes authority, but that is less concerned with “correct” or “incorrect” and is more concerned with productive development. Adopting a position of authority as a guide means r esisting an inherent error focus and requires a delicate balance between identifying err or and identifying student competence in reaching goals. Reading for evidence of competen ce has more instructive and motivational value for the student. In this specifi c instance, identifying one or two effective sentences with an explanation for why the y are effective would correspond with the teacher’s praise in her summative comments. For example, underlining “Crichton describes how scientists discover dinosaur DNA,” an d responding “Concise phrasing— strong subject-verb” would give the teacher somethi ng to specifically refer to as improvement in her summative comments (Straub Practice 140). She could then note that

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81 she has placed a “check” or some other mark to iden tify problematic sentence structures and suggest that the student work to develop strong subject-verb associations in those sentences. This change of emphasis, though subtle, has greater potential for supporting student goal orientations as it both aligns the tea cher’s responses with her motivational purposes and provides the student with concrete evi dence of the level of her skill—she tends toward wordiness—where it needs to be—more co ncise sentence construction— and how she can achieve that—“Crichton describes”—a s evidenced in her own writing. Support for Self-Efficacy Beliefs The subtle move from identifying error to identifyi ng competence also works to better support students’ self-efficacy beliefs. As this example stands, the teacher provides important confidence that the student has the abili ty to continue to improve her writing skills, first by according recognition of improveme nts to the student: “You can commend yourself” encourages the student to believe in hers elf and her abilities, and second by showing confidence in future progress: “To continue improving your writing” suggests the teacher believes that the student can continue her writing achievement, an assertion that can encourage the student to believe in hersel f (142). Again, however, there is a motivationally frustrating disjunction between the teacher’s corrective marginal responses and her formative summary response. While general supportive expressions of belief—“I know you can do it”—type of phrasing is e ncouraging, a student’s motivation to act is better supported “when [she feels] effica cious with respect” to her writing tasks, and feeling efficacious requires concrete evidence of where she writes effectively (Ryan and Deci 73). A marginal response at the end of an effective paragraph specifically identifying its strengths, for example “effective e vidence and analysis in support of topic

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82 sentence,” would illustrate, in a powerful way, wha t the student did right, and more importantly, would provide concrete evidence of the student’s ability to craft an effective paragraph. Concrete evidence shores up a student’s belief in her abilities, a belief with potential to motivate this student to persist in pu tting effort into developing her writing skills. Support for Student Attributions Student self-efficacy beliefs, vital as they are, a re informed by many inputs, and attributions play a significant role in the develop ment of self-efficacy beliefs. Part of the complexity of student motivation is that student at tributions develop long before they enter the classroom, and those attributions may alr eady be dysfunctional. Nevertheless, Schunk and Zimmerman report that “dysfunctional att ributions can be altered and. .stressing effort can lead to improved performance” (355). A teacher’s feedback can help students attribute their strengths and weaknesses a ppropriately, helping them locate their successes in internal processes and to unstable var iables—variables that have the possibility of change over time and situation—they can control. Thus responses would need to attribute the above student’s successes wit h concise sentences to her internally located efforts rather than to the external ease or difficulty of the assignment or to classroom pressures. They would need to attribute t he student’s success to the work she put in, not to stable talent or even luck, and they would need to recognize the control the student exhibits over the efforts she puts into the text. As Schunk and Zimmerman observe, “attributions can give rise to perceptions of competence or incompetence that have motivational effects” (356). Students who attr ibute their successes to internally

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83 located strengths augmented by efforts under their own control can develop stronger selfefficacy beliefs which lead to increased motivation to write. Analyzing the above teachers’ formative responses to this student in light of the importance of student attributions to motivation re veals problematic attributions that could interfere with this student’s motivation to p ersist in developing her writing skills. Yes, the teacher attributes the student’s stronger thesis and organization to the student: “You can commend yourself for having a stronger the sis and a more organized piece here” (Straub Practice 140). The problem lies in the phrase “for having.” “Having” a stronger thesis and organization attributes success to nothing specific—the paper simply has a stronger thesis and organization. For a stude nt who struggles with articulating a specific thesis and developing an organized argumen t, simply identifying that the paper has a stronger thesis and organization leaves the s tudent with no understanding of what led to those successes. Was it effort, or was it an accident? Or, was it the incomprehensible but miraculous development of writ ing skill? Without the student’s perspective, we do not know if the student made spe cific moves to which she, personally, could attribute her improvement in skill, perhaps s he worked with a writing consultant from a Writing Center, or perhaps she successfully applied strategies she learned in the classroom. Nevertheless, what we do know is that th is teacher’s feedback conflating the student and her text—the student has a stronger thesis and organization rather than the text having these qualities as the result of the studen t’s efforts—does not help the student attribute her skill development to internal process es or controllable efforts, and thus may actually undermine the student’s motivation.

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84 While it may seem frivolous and even harsh to ascr ibe motivational frustration to one little word—“having”—in a whole paragraph of fo rmative response, my perception is justified because the sentences that follow continu e problematic attributions. The teacher writes, “Perhaps because you were writing from a st ance of greater knowledge, using information from both our class and your Honors 11, you had greater confidence in your material. Whatever the reason, you can commend your self for those improvements,” attributing the student’s improved confidence to gr eater knowledge and to information gleaned from classes (140). From an attribution sta ndpoint, knowledge is an internal process and is less stable than talent—knowledge ca n be increased through the individual’s controlled efforts, and this response’ s reference to knowledge could potentially support student motivation through attr ibutions to this student’s internal, unstable, controllable processes. However, the phra sing of this response reverses these attributions. A “stance of greater knowledge” sugge sts a stable construct, the word “stance” creating an image of strength, yet also an image of immobility. Just as the student is “having a stronger thesis,” so too is sh e simply speaking from a stable stance of knowledge that results, not from her own efforts, b ut from information found in external classroom sources. The phrasing of this response at tributes the student’s greater writing confidence to external sources—“our class and your Honors 11”—and stable processes— “a stance of greater knowledge,”—which are outside of the student’s control and which decrease the motivational potential of this teacher ’s response. Increasing the motivational potential of this res ponse would not necessarily require more effort from the teacher; just as the s ubtle move from reading for error to reading for competence can support student self-eff icacy beliefs, so, too, can a slight

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85 change in phrasing redirect and strengthen student attributions. When this teacher writes, “Perhaps because you were writing from a stance of greater knowledge. . you had greater confidence in your material” she seems to b e praising the student’s greater confidence in her material (140). In order to attri bute this greater confidence to internal, unstable, controllable processes, the teacher could write “Your writing in this essay is more confident and shows greater knowledge of your material. Commend yourself for being able to use information you learned in our cl ass and your Honors 11to write with more confidence.” This phrasing prioritizes what th e student accomplished—her writing shows greater confidence—rather than burying the pr aise amidst uncertain attributions. Further, this phrasing attributes the improvement, not to “Whatever the reason,” but to the student’s use of classroom information. Thus th e student’s success becomes a result of her internal ability to apply classroom concepts and her efforts in that application, skills directly under the student’s control. Formul ating a response that positively directs student attribution would not take more time to wri te—these two phrases are of comparable length—but it does require teachers to c onsider what they are praising and to what they are attributing student success. The motivational concepts of student self-efficacy beliefs and attributions can complicate teachers’ perception of praise, yet they can also help teachers consider what they are praising and to what they are attributing success, ultimately enriching the motivational role of praise in teachers’ written re sponses. As I noted in the literature review of teachers’ written responses, praise is po sitively associated with student performance and student beliefs and attitudes. Neve rtheless, praise is not homogeneous, nor does all praise equally support student motivat ion. The ever-popular “praise

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86 sandwich” approach to feedback—start with praise, o ffer critique, end with praise— relegates praise to the role of softening critique, a rather passive, simplistic role for praise that potentially leads teachers to merely try to fi nd something—anything—positive to recognize in order to soothe student affect by cush ioning corrections and critique. However, integrating motivational concepts of selfefficacy beliefs and attributions with our understanding of effective written responses pr actices reveals important intersections that complicates using praise, yet also illustrates how praise directly influenced by student motivational supports enriches teachers’ wr itten responses to students. The intersections concerning praise between motiva tional concepts and teachers’ written response scholarship are most evident in re lation to student writing progress and writing processes. In “Effects of Person Versus Pro cess Praise on Student Motivation: Stability and Change in Emerging Adulthood,” motiva tion researchers Kyla Haimovitz and Jennifer Henderlong Corpus report on a study in which they categorize praise as “person praise” or “process praise.” Person praise tends to recognize aspects of writing and the student that are stable and not under a stu dent’s control, for example, “You are a talented writer” or, as in the text I am analyzing, “You can commend yourself for having a stronger thesis” (142). Process praise, in contra st, recognizes strategies students use or progress they make, for example, “The strategies yo u used have helped you develop a stronger thesis.” Haimovitz and Corpus found that “ process praise enhances intrinsic motivation and perceived competence more than perso n praise” and conclude that “[by] focusing on controllable processes instead of under lying personal traits, educators have the potential to positively influence student motiv ation in meaningful and lasting ways” (595, 607). Haimovitz and Corpus’ findings and conc lusions directly relate to students’

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87 self-efficacy beliefs and attributions—focusing on internal, unstable, controllable processes directs students’ attributions of success to aspects they control, which can increase their self-efficacy beliefs and intrinsic motivation. The positive influence of process praise on student motivation mirrors Hendri en Duijnhouwer’s and John Hattie and Helen Timperely’s research on the positive effe ctiveness of performance feedback on student performance and student beliefs and attitud es. These intersections complicate praise. No longer is praise a few nice words masque rading as a “bun” that cushions critique. The intersections of motivational theory and the scholarship on teachers’ written responses show that praise recognizing students’ in ternal processes, progress related to efforts and strategy application, and evidence of t he control students exert over their writing has the potential for greater influence of student intrinsic motivation to persist in the writing process than generic, “you’ve put a lot of work into this,” type of praise sandwiching critique and correction. Praise in an effort to motivate is evident in this teacher’s response to this student’s text; however, this praise may frustrate any motiva tional potential because of the lack of support for student self-efficacy beliefs or attrib utions. Part of the problem is that this teacher’s praise rests in the summative response af ter all of the corrective, critical responses that only recognize error. Even just glan cing through the marginal responses could upset the student’s self-efficacy beliefs bec ause the teacher does not recognize or identify any evidence of competence. The summative response, in contrast, is an example of a praise sandwich, beginning with “You can comme nd yourself”—an expression of praise for something done well—and ending with “Kee p going in this direction”—an expression of praise recognizing this student’s pro gress (142). Praise in the rest of the

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88 summative response is personalized and addresses sp ecific aspects of this individual student’s writing, noting improvement in thesis, or ganization, paragraphing, and surface level issues before it addresses weaknesses. The pr ioritizing of praise in this teacher’s formative response shows a desire to positively mot ivate this student, yet as I note above, the praise does not rhetorically work to direct the student’s attributions to motivationally significant processes, resulting in rhetorical conf lict between this teacher’s purpose and how the student may perceive what the teacher is sa ying. Although the rhetorical conflict evident in this manner of praise may frustrate this student’s self-efficacy beliefs and attributions, the general idea of praise—that the t eacher recognizes success and potential for growth—may actually moderate this conflict by s upporting some of her psychological needs. Support for Psychological Needs Support for students’ psychological needs is vital, for they underlie and permeate students’ goal orientations, self-efficacy beliefs, and attributions. Ryan and Deci’s research demonstrates that [c]omparisons between people whose motivation is au thentic (literally, self-authored or endorsed) and those w ho are merely externally controlled for an action typically reve al that the former, relative to the latter, have more interest, excite ment, and confidence, which in turn is manifest as . enhanced perform ance, persistence, and creativity. . This is so even when the peo ple have the same level of perceived competence or self-effi cacy for the activity. (69) In the context of the writing classroom, students whose motivation is authentic, or whose motivation “comprises both intrinsic motivation and the types of extrinsic motivation in which people have identified with an activity’s val ue and ideally will have integrated it

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89 into their sense of self,” would have more interest excitement, and confidence in their writing process, which would manifest as enhanced p erformance, persistence, and creativity (Deci and Ryan “Macrotheory” 182). Ryan and Deci’s finding that this contrast is evident even when those who are intrinsically mo tivated and those who are extrinsically motivated have “the same level of per ceived competence or self-efficacy” illustrates the separation between psychological ne eds and beliefs. Students may have strong attributions and feel self-efficacious in wr iting, but without authentic motivation, they may lack the above motivational qualities and manifestations. The same is true for student goal orientations. Ryan and Deci hold that “[d]evelopment of a strong autonomous orientations results from ongoing satisf action of all three basic needs” (“Macrotheory” 183). Students whose motivation has an autonomous orientation, or who have integrated intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and who have mastery goal orientations, goals to learn and master skills rath er than to just perform well, find support when their psychological needs for choice, or auton omy, in setting and reaching those goals, competence in reaching those goals, and rela tedness to their desired educational, social, and/or career situations are supported. Psy chological needs are significant because they inform student goal orientations, self-efficac y beliefs, and attributions, and this sample of a teacher’s written response offers rheto rical evidence of support for psychological needs that could moderate the problem atic conflicts that might otherwise frustrate this student’s writing motivation. Support for Relatedness Needs The rhetorical conflicts between the teacher’s motivational purpose and her marginal responses and the problematic attributions that could undermine self-efficacy beliefs could be mode rated by the strong support for

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90 relatedness evident in the teacher’s summative resp onse. Students’ relatedness needs are supported through interchanges in which students ca n feel respected and connected to the teacher and/or the classroom community. While the p raise the teacher in Sample A offers may not positively direct this student’s attributio ns or goal orientations, it, nevertheless, specifically addresses this student’s writing devel opment. The teacher notes a stronger organization “than [she has] had in the previous tw o assignments” (Straub Practice 142). Recognizing a direct, concrete development that is unique to this student shows this teacher’s interest in this student as a distinct in dividual, a rhetorical move that could strengthen the student’s trust in this teacher. Eve n though students are used to functioning in classroom situations where simple mass inspires collective uniformity and anonymity, as human beings they desire and need individual rec ognition and attention. The simple knowledge that this teacher has paid attention to t he student’s individual writing development and that she recognizes distinct improv ement in the student’s skill could increase the student’s trust and feeling of securit y in the teacher’s assessment, thus increasing her feeling of relatedness to the teache r and, perhaps in a small way, to the academic writing community. This teacher’s response continues to support the s tudent’s need for relatedness to the academic writing community while also offering support for the student’s competence. Students need to feel a sense of relate dness to their teachers, but that sense of relatedness has a distinctly finite duration—the length of the class. A teacher’s influence may continue to inform a student’s academ ic career, but the true import of relatedness between teacher and student is how that relationship helps students develop a sense of relatedness to their discipline and/or fut ure careers. This teacher’s response

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91 effectively bridges between personal trust and deve loping security in the academic community when she writes, “Learning to support gen eralizations both specifically and accurately is a skill you’ll find useful regardless of discipline, but you’ll find that skill particularly useful in communication, your major” ( 142). By connecting her encouragement of skill development to the student’s personal major, this teacher individualizes her response and offers the student direct insight into characteristics of writing that are valued in the communication academ ic community. Her response creates a rhetorical bridge that could help the student dev elop an understanding of and thus relatedness to her chosen academic discipline. This response also interweaves support for relatedness with support for competence as it offer s the student a specific strategy for success in writing for the communication discipline : “support generalizations both specifically and accurately” offers the student an individualized, specific strategy that could help her understand how to feel competent whe n writing in her communication major. Support for Competence Needs. Students’ competence needs are related to their self-efficacy beliefs, and there are also powerful intersections between self-efficacy beliefs and the scholarship concerning teachers’ wr itten responses. I refer back to Ursula Wingate’s study that found formative feedback offer ing students strategies to help improve performance led to writing improvement in s tudents who attended to and applied tutors’ comments, and note intersections with a stu dy of “Self-Motivation for Academic Attainment: The Role of Self-Efficacy Beliefs and P ersonal Goal Setting” performed by Barry J. Zimmerman, Albert Bandura, and Manuel Mart inez-Pons. While the study is from 1992, its results indicating “that student sel f-beliefs of efficacy to strategically

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92 regulate learning play an important role in academi c self-motivation. . .efficacy for academic achievement and academic attainment” provi de important insight (674). Offering students effective strategies for improvin g their performance is a step toward developing students’ self-beliefs of efficacy in st rategically regulating their learning, and as such can positively inform students’ academic ac hievement. Of course, self-efficacy beliefs, formative feedback, and the application of suggested strategies have a reciprocal relationship—belief in one’s ability to apply sugge sted strategies successfully is informed by previous successful and unsuccessful experiences This reciprocity is reflected in concerns from scholars addressing teachers’ written responses, including Straub, Elbow, and Glenn and Goldthwaite, who advocate for creatin g an atmosphere of successful use of teachers’ responses by calling for pedagogical a pproaches that encourage students to actively engage with and apply teachers’ suggested strategies. The intersections concerning self-efficacy beliefs, competency needs, and the scholarship addressing teachers’ written responses illustrate the need for supporting students’ competency needs and self-efficacy beliefs through feedback that off ers strategies for improvement and for pedagogical practices that encourage students to ap ply those strategies. The sample response in this analysis does not offer enough classroom context to explore what the relationship between this teacher’ s suggested strategies, her pedagogical approach in engaging her students in using her resp onses, and the student’s success in applying the strategies might reveal about supports for students’ competence needs. However, the teacher does take a distinct rhetorica l step toward supporting this student’s competency needs by offering her specific strategie s for improvement. The teacher writes, “To continue improving your writing, you’ll need to scrutinize your development

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93 still, asking yourself whether the statements you m ake in the words you choose to make them truly are accurate or whether they’re overly g eneral” (Straub Practice 142). The teacher’s suggested strategy is very specific, guid ing the student to reflect on her ideas from the sentence level to the word level by asking the student to look at both her statements and the words that comprise her statemen ts for accuracy and specificity. Whether the student has the ability to discern thes e qualities in her writing or not, just encouraging the student to return to the ideas expr essed in her sentences and her words could increase her awareness of her writing, and ha ving a strategy for improving her writing skills could increase her feelings of writi ng competence. Implicit in all of these “coulds” is the student’s autonomy—the choices she makes in exercising control over her writing, and this teacher’s response illustrates th e close relationship that exists between students’ needs for support of competence and for t he support of the autonomy required in achieving that competence. Support for Autonomy Needs. Analyzing this response for evidence of autonomy support is problematic because this draft is appare ntly a final draft, and the teacher does not offer any suggestions for revision or offer opp ortunities for making choices over this draft. While this would seem to preclude support fo r autonomy by not allowing the student choices in the further development of this paper, there is evidence that the teacher is offering support for this student to continue to take control of her future writing skill development. The teacher refers to future writing d evelopment, observing that for the student “To continue improving [her] writing” she w ill “need to scrutinize [her] development still,” her use of “continue improving” both recognizing improvements already achieved while still promoting further work for improvement. The teacher’s

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94 earlier instruction for the student to “commend” he rself supports the student’s autonomy by recognizing and praising her successes—a move th at could encourage this student to continue to work to achieve similar success in futu re writing. However, the teacher’s response also explicitly locates responsibility for the student’s future development on the actions the student will “need” to take. As the sch olarship on teachers’ written responses demonstrates, students have a responsibility to be open to instruction and to work to gain understanding for future writing requirements (see Sommers “Across the Drafts”). Additionally, as motivation theories advocate, teac hers “need to structure academic experiences in a way that enhances students' sense of academic efficacy,” by helping them successfully apply learning strategies (Zimmer man, Bandura, and Martinez-Pons 673). In other words, competency and autonomy inter twine, for, as teachers provide an atmosphere of support for competency by supporting and encouraging student autonomy, students, then, perceive greater academic efficacy as they exercise power over their own learning development. This sample of teacher respon se shows some evidence of support for student autonomy; however, it may be ineffectiv e because it happens in the summative response at the end of the paper. The pre ceding marginal responses are predominantly directive in nature, and their correc tive and critical modes have the potential to frustrate this student’s psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In general, corrective feedback in the form of abbr eviations, fragmented sentences, and shorthand marks is written response that identifies a moment of wrongness in a text. Problematically, identification of error by the teacher is a psychological need stifling move because it does not encourage student involvement or response. In

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95 reference to student needs for autonomy, Johnmarsha ll Reeve, in “Teachers as Facilitators: What Autonomy-Supportive Teachers Do and Why Their Students Benefit,” recognizes that “autonomy-supportive environments i nvolve and nurture” students as learners rather than stifling them (228). Autonomy support, along with support for competence and relatedness, involves and nurtures s tudents as learners through a volley of interpersonal communication, a serve and return interaction in which the teacher serves the assignment in a manner that the student can return the serve. In each volley, the teacher returns the students’ efforts in ways t hat allow and encourage the student to make choices and take control, to stretch, to think and consider different ways of returning the serve, and to develop skills that all ow the student to gain strength and return the serve with confidence and power. Fragments of w ords and overt corrections do not encourage a student response; as manipulations of t he text on the page rather than interpersonal communication between teacher and stu dent, they are a smashing return volley that stifles students’ needs. Corrections do communicate, but it is a one-way volley that emphasizes wrong textual features, which, conv ersely, obscures what is right about the text, for, as Smith notes, “teachers rarely men tion correctness unless they perceive a problem” (255). Ultimately, then, instead of encou raging the writer of the text to make choices and to take control of what is happening wi th text, or to show competency by developing skills, these types of corrective feedba ck typically stifle students’ needs by exerting overt control over the text and excluding the writer from thoughtful decisions about needed changes. Analysis of this sample of a teacher’s written res ponse illustrates two instances where corrective responses do not support student n eeds. The first situation occurs on

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96 page 141 and involves the teacher inserting a missi ng comma. While the move is subtle and suggests that engagement with ideas is the prio rity, the teacher inserting the comma undermines student autonomy and competence by remov ing opportunity and responsibility from the student for identifying and rectifying the error or mistake. The second situation—the marginal comment “Wordy it is construction. Focus”—is a decidedly more overt undermining of student needs ( Straub Practice 141). The response is terse and authoritative, creating a negative com munication atmosphere that does not invite the student into an educational relationship nor does it encourage this student to take control of her writing. Further, “Wordy it is construction” is a volley serve that identifies wrongness in a specific moment in this s pecific text but does not offer the student opportunity for a competent return volley. “Focus” is communication on an impersonal level of command; consequently, in this moment, the student is offered no autonomy, competence, or feeling of relationship wi th a writing community. These comments’ neutral to negative tone, focus on a spec ific error, and surface level interaction interrupts both an educational volley a nd student needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. If phrased more carefully, however, corrective fee dback can offer support for student needs. In this instance, the written commen t “Remember, avoid wordiness for stronger idea focus” could work to support student needs. First, the phrase is sentencelike which echoes an interpersonal conversation enc ouraging a relationship where both participants have power in the learning volley. Sec ond, the word “avoid” is an action a person can take, which suggests that the student ha s power and competence to make a choice as she works to construct a sentence that wi ll effectively present her ideas.

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97 Further, directing the student to “remember” is les s a command and more a reminder of her membership in a classroom community and a suppo rt of her competency to use concepts learned in the classroom conversation or t hrough earlier texts, a move which also subtly acknowledges that the student has power to remember to act in accordance with what she has learned. Lastly, this comment is less authoritative and has a more neutral tone; while it identifies a specific proble m, it also relates the problem to general writing skills, and the sentence-like phrasing crea tes a deeper level of interpersonal interaction, qualities which could support student motivational needs. Conclusion While this sample of a teacher’s written response I analyze is a single instance of response in a unique context, it does offer some in sight into the relationship between motivational theories and teachers’ written respond ing practices. Motivational theories of student goal orientations illustrate the importance of teachers’ intentions or purposes for responding being reflected in the actual responding practices. The conflict evident in this sample, where the teacher only identifies error but praises unidentified success, can frustrate students’ goal orientations. The benefit of reading for competence rather than reading for error is also illustrated by the focus on error in this teacher’s responses. Identifying concrete examples of competence has gre ater motivational potential because it can show students they have the ability to addre ss issues in their writing, and, as a result, can increase their self-efficacy beliefs. F urther, feedback from written responses can allow teachers to help students attribute their strengths and weaknesses to aspects that motivational theories show are related to intrinsic motivation: internal processes and unstable causes that students can control. Problema tic attributions, as evidenced by some

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98 of the responses in this sample—could frustrate stu dent motivation, which confirms that all praise is not equal, and suggests that teachers need to consider what they are praising and to what they are attributing student success. F inally, however, the complexity of students’ motivational needs allows for some leeway as evidenced by this teacher’s psychologically supportive responses which shows th e possibilities of how support for those needs might moderate motivationally problemat ic responses. This sample of a teacher’s written response demonstrates that motiva tion is an inherent aspect of responses, and as such deserves—and even demands—mi ndful awareness of its potential motivational effects for students.

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99 Rhetorical Analysis of Sample B

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100

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101 Figure 2 Sample Text B (Straub Practice 202-204 reprinted with permission) Description of Text This teacher uses multiple modes of written respon ses that suggest different purposes for responding and that establish a clear hierarchy of concerns. He establishes this hierarchy through his use of minimal marking—p utting dashes by lines in the student’s text that contain grammar or mechanical e rrors. They are placed to the left of the student’s text and are separated from the narra tive marginal responses, a move which helps separate higher order concerns and lower orde r concerns. The minimal mark also works to subordinate error, its presence calling at tention to a problem, but its aspect as a small line calling less attention that the narrativ e marginal responses to the right of the student’s text. The teacher’s marginal responses ar e clearly in a formative mode, are conversational, and include open-ended questions, p raise, and reflective reader’s

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102 responses. The summative response at the end of the paper continues in a formative mode, offering praise, and in an oblique way sugges ting a strategy for improvement: His question “Can you see where you might have looked m ore closely at some of these experiences?” actually being a suggestion for how t he student could enrich her writing through a more intense engagement with the experien ces she describes. The phrasing of this response also suggests that this is a final dr aft; “where you might have looked” does not offer revision of this draft but offers a persp ective on what might have been done to improve this paper before it was submitted. These m odes of response combine to create a tone that is more instructive than it is evaluative even though it seems to be a final draft where one would expect evaluation, and suggest that an overarching purpose of this teacher’s response is to instruct and guide progres s. Further, the response has many rhetorical qualitie s showing that motivation is a major aspect of its instructive and guiding purpose The most obvious evidence of motivational purpose occurs in the last few lines o f the summative response: “There’s a lot in here to be happy about. . .You are on your way” (Straub Practice 204). These phrases are encouraging; they suggest success, grow th, and the teacher’s confidence of future successes. The phrases are also personal, in part because the teacher does not just say that he is happy about aspects of the writing, but that there is a lot for the student “to be happy about,” a rhetorical move encouraging pers onal feelings of confidence that could underlie motivation to persist in developing writing skills. “You are on your way” shows motivational purpose through creating the ima ge of a journey, one in which the student is already moving in a positive direction. Getting started is often one of the most difficult aspects of a journey, and this teacher’s words serve to motivate by showing the

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103 student she is already moving and suggesting that c ontinuing to move should be easier. Motivational purpose is also evident in the teacher ’s use of specific praise. Writing, “You create a sound framework” to identify a specific mo ve in the student’s writing that he finds valuable, is a mode of praise that shows an e ffort to encourage the student by recognizing success in the student’s writing. These rhetorical moves show that motivation, for this teacher, seems to be a vital a spect of his instructive purpose, and a rhetorical analysis using a framework of motivation al theories shows that his rhetorical moves support his motivational purpose. Support for Autonomy Needs The most powerful motivational qualities evident in this teacher’s written responses are his support for the student’s psychol ogical needs. The many open-ended questions that are a dominant mode of this teacher’ s marginal responses show powerful support for the student’s autonomy. Reeve describes autonomy supportive language as non-controlling and informational, observing that “ [n]oncontrolling language revolves around using communications not to push, pressure, or coerce students into compliance with the teacher’s agenda but, instead, using commu nications to help students find ways to coordinate their inner resources with their mome nt-to-moment activity” (229). Autonomy supportive language will necessarily be le ss directive and more formative, using modes of response, such as open-ended questio ns, to encourage students to align their knowledge, their ideas, and their efforts wit h their writing task. One example of this occurs in the first paragraph of the sample when th e teacher writes “What couldn’t you do—or do as well as others—that made you ‘not very good’? Can you give me some idea?” (Straub Practice 202). It seems that this teacher is trying to help the student flesh

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104 out her ideas with more detail, but instead of a co mmand to “add more detail,” he uses questions—specific questions directly related to wh at the student is saying—to guide her to think more deeply about her experience and to co nsider how to express those deeper insights. The teacher’s choice of mode—open questio ns—and his direct reference to the student’s text, down to quoting some of her words, communicates that there is a deficiency of detail at that point, but in a non-co ntrolling, autonomy supportive way that could motivate the student to engage with and expre ss her ideas in a deeper manner. This teacher’s autonomy supportive modes of respo nse in the margins are reinforced in the narrative of his summative respon se. He begins by offering praise in the form of recognizing what the student was able to do in this draft, but then he addresses the weakness in the student’s writing by articulati ng both what he, as the teacher-reader, and the student, as the writer, “need”: “I think I need to see more—and, more importantly, that you need to see more of what happ ened” (204). This statement supports the student’s autonomy by asserting that is it most important for her to think more deeply about her experience, a move that emphasizes the st udent’s power over what she writes. In this way, the teacher’s response identifies an a rea of need in the student’s text, and, although just the recognition of deficiency by a te acher exerts a demand for rectification, the manner in which this teacher’s response address es the deficiency prioritizes the student’s responsibility and power to increase her engagement with her ideas. The autonomy supportive nature of these two responses i s also strengthened by their consistency. The mode of the marginal response—open -ended questions that encourage student engagement—is reflected in the teacher’s en couragement for greater engagement by the student with her experiences that happens in the summative response. The

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105 teacher’s autonomy supportive modes of response are consistent throughout the margins and are pulled through the final, summative respons e. This consistency confirms that the teacher truly wants the student to have control of her text and solidifies his autonomy supportive stance. The manner in which this teacher employs his openended questions coincides with powerful intersections between the scholarship concerning teachers’ written responses and the importance of autonomy supportive language. Scholars, including Straub, Ziv, and Glenn and Goldthwaite, call for te achers’ written responses to reflect conversation in order to engage rather than alienat e the student. In “Teacher Response as Conversation: More Than Casual Talk, an Exploration ,” Straub articulates the qualities that make written responses framed as conversation valuable, asserting that “[c]omments that are shaped into a real conversation blur the l ines between writing and reading, and allow teachers to actively model and encourage acts of making meaning. They create a shared responsibility for writing and revision and enable a real discussion, a two-way conversation, to take place between reader and writ er, teacher and student” (354). Straub’s assertion invokes motivation and motivatio nal theories as he explains how responses framed as real conversation blurring the lines between writing and reading allows teachers to encourage—or motivate—students i n acts of making meaning through their writing. He recognizes the value of modes of response framed as conversation that “create a shared responsibility,” a direct referenc e to the psychological need for students to have responsibility, or control, over their writ ing. Straub’s identification and defining of the rhetorical value of well-considered conversa tional responses allowing “teachers to actively model and encourage acts of making meaning ” echoes Reeve’s definition of

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106 autonomy supportive language, “to help students fin d ways to coordinate their inner resources with their moment-to-moment activity” (22 9). Modeling and encouraging acts of making meaning are ways of helping students coor dinate their inner resources as they develop their writing skills. The written responses by the teacher in this sample reflect these intersections and demonstrate how responses f ramed as thoughtful conversation can support student motivational needs. While many of this teacher’s marginal responses, f ramed as open-ended questions, could encourage this student to actively engage with her ideas, one set of responses uses conversation-type qualities in a com pelling, autonomy supportive manner. This set of open-ended questions refers to one anot her and creates a conversational line that could lead the student through a complex learn ing task. One responding technique this teacher uses is underlining the moments in the text that his written responses are referring to, and most of them are clearly explaine d. At one point, though, he underlines “more challenging things ” in the student’s text and writes “Now why would I underline this phrase?” (Straub Practice 202). Up until this point, the teacher’s responses have asked questions that directly give the student sugg estions for how to develop her ideas. In this moment, however, he does not—instead, he asks the student to think, to consider what his purpose is for marking this phrase. His us e of “Now” reflects a verbal interaction where one member of the conversation us es the word to indicate that he is going to shift from his previous stance. This softe ns the, seemingly perhaps, unfair remark that asks the student to read his mind. What saves this potential conversation stopper is that directly below it he marks another phrase, “worked great ,” and writes “Or this one? Which other phrases would you mark here?” (202). These responses do not just

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107 reflect conversation, they mirror an instructive in teraction where the teacher is there as support, but he pulls back, which allows the studen t to intensify her engagement with what is happening in her text. This teacher’s autonomy supportive language strate gy is strengthened because his responses consistently address the same issue in th e student’s text throughout his marginal responses. The teacher’s responses remain consistent, but he also ensures that the student will understand why he is underlining c ertain phrases. After underlining another phrase, this teacher writes, “By now, do yo u know why I’m underlining this part of the sentence? Is it a strong way to say what you mean? Or a weak one?” (203). If, for some reason, the student has not been able to disce rn the teacher’s intent, this response clearly identifies the issue the teacher feels need s attention—what he considers weak descriptive language. Without the context of the cl assroom dialogue, we do not know if this teacher is using language from classroom instr uction—discussion of the difference between strong and weak phrasing in class—that he i s pulling through his written responses. If this is so, then the phrasing of this response would be another compelling, autonomy supportive strategy as his language would connect classroom instruction directly with the student’s work, a move that could help the student coordinate her inner resources with what is happening in this moment. Ho wever, even if this response does not specifically reflect the classroom conversation it at least brings this line of responses to a productive close by revealing the teacher’s co ncern while still encouraging the student to think about what is happening in her tex t. The consistency of this teacher’s concern for more robust description continues into his summative remarks, maintaining his support for the student’s autonomy while

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108 also showing support for the student’s relatedness needs. In his summative response, the teacher gives a clear description of how the studen t’s text is working; then he writes, “In fact, I can make only as much meaning of these word s as the words around them allow me to make,” an observation directly consistent wit h his marginal responses (204). This consistency, expressed from a reader’s perspective, can support this student’s need for autonomy because it gives her valuable information about how her reader perceives her descriptive language, information that can help her understand both where her text is— uses weak descriptive language—and where it needs t o be—using stronger descriptive language in order to create deeper meaning for the reader. This move is distinctly supportive of autonomy because it shifts traditiona l power hierarchies by encouraging the student to make decisions about her text. This teac her holds inherent power: he identifies deficiency, and that very identification demands re solution by the student. His mode of response, however, downplays his power to demand re solution. He identifies the deficiency and provides the student with informatio n she needs to make textual decisions, but he makes no overt demand for correction, which allows, and even encourages, the student to take creative power over her text. This teacher’s consistent pattern of response downplaying his traditional power could also suppor t this student’s relatedness needs because consistency provides security; his written responses show that while he may pull back, he will not leave the student without needed support. Support for Relatedness Needs Support for students’ relatedness needs is vital, and this sample illustrates how teachers’ written responses have the potential to s upport students’ relatedness needs. Overall, this teacher’s responses directly engage w ith the student’s ideas by asking

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109 questions with a personal tone. For example, asking “Can you give me some idea?” right after asking a question about the content of the te xt shows that this teacher is speaking to the student —“you” giving “me” creating an image of conversatio nal exchange between two people—and is not just asking questions of the text (202). Further, he uses personal emotions that suggest he is engaged by the student’ s ideas, “I’d love to see a sample” and “I like the way you put it” evoking interpersonal e motional connections through “loving” and “liking” the student’s ideas and work. In the w ords of a student in Straub’s study involving students’ reactions to teachers’ comments “the teacher really had to think about what was written and didn't just jot down a f ew spelling errors," showing that students appreciate best thoughtful, engaged respon ses (“Students Reactions” 100). While research-based evidence of the importance for students to feel a strong sense of relatedness with their teachers is most valid, perh aps this student’s perspective is more compelling. Students appreciate written responses t hat show personal engagement with their ideas, and the interpersonal connections crea ted by teachers’ personal expressions and students’ reciprocal appreciation has the poten tial to create strong support for students’ relatedness needs. Creating interpersonal connections through written responses might conjure thoughts of spending extra time crafting lengthy em otion-heavy remarks; this sample, however, illustrates how the use of one word can ev oke a sense of relatedness. Toward the end of his summative response, this teacher wri tes, “Now, let’s see what you can do” (Straub Practice 204). Using the word “let’s” creates an image of t he teacher and the student working together for the student’s benefit— to see what she, with her teacher’s help, can do to develop her strengths. The image cr eated from this one word, “let’s,” also

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110 calls to mind Vytogsky’s motivational construct of the ZPD, or zone of proximal development, the space where students’ abilities to accomplish tasks alone meets their need for instructive support. Brophy notes that “[s ]ociocultural models extend this idea to include the roles of the teacher in optimizing the match, because mediation (via modeling, coaching, and scaffolding) can transform an activity that is too difficult for self-guided learning into an activity that lies wit hin the zone of proximal development for mentor-guided learning” (215). In this sample, the teacher’s “let’s” instantiates the teacher’s role, confirming his intention to scaffol d this student’s efforts through mentorguided learning. “Let’s,” then, in one word, could support this student’s relatedness needs to trust and feel secure in this teacher’s guidance Support for Competence Needs and Self-Efficacy Beli efs This sample of a teacher’s written responses shows strong evidence of support for this student’s psychological needs of autonomy and relatedness, support that also strongly informs students’ needs for competence and self-eff icacy beliefs. This teacher’s responses also demonstrate how support for psycholo gical needs can strengthen this student’s self-efficacy beliefs. Support for compet ence and self-efficacy beliefs is strengthened when the teacher’s responses emphasize competence over error, and this teacher’s pedagogical strategy of using minimal mar king to identify lower order concerns accomplishes this task. The lines to the left of th e student’s text identify an area of concern, but their separation from the narrative ma rginal responses subordinate them— written words are simply more important than marks— and suggest to the student that these concerns are secondary. Further, while many o f the marginal responses in this sample address deficiencies in the student’s writin g, their supportive nature implies that

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111 the student has the ability to attend to those defi ciencies. Most importantly, however, this teacher reads for, identifies, and emphasizes the s tudent’s competence, at one point placing three check marks above a response to point out how the student succeeds in making “the previous statement mean more by goin g into the next ones” (Straub Practice 203). Consistent as ever, this teacher finds a mom ent where the student provides a more robust description, and he capitalizes on th e evidence of competence, potentially strengthening the student’s self-efficacy beliefs b y showing her that she has the ability to make the rhetorical moves he has been asking her to make. The combination of support for this student’s needs for autonomy and relatedne ss and support for her needs for competence and her self-efficacy beliefs interweave to potentially strengthen this student’s motivation to persist in developing her w riting skills. Support for Student Attributions Meeting students’ psychological needs does potentia lly strengthen students’ writing motivation, but strong self-efficacy belief s also require sound attributions. Although students’ attributional styles develop thr oughout their lives, teachers can positively affect students’ attributions. Jeanne El lis Ormrod, in Essentials of Educational Psychology: Big Ideas to Guide Effective Teaching asserts that “teachers can definitely make a difference” in helping students develop prod uctive attributions through looking for student strengths, communicating optimism about what students can accomplish, and attributing students’ failures to controllable fact ors and offering them help in acquiring effective strategies (227). This teacher’s written responses provide examples o f strong rhetorical moves that could help a student attribut e success to motivationally productive qualities. When this teacher praises the student’s successes, he uses specific, active verbs

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112 to describe what the student does. For example, in his summative response the teacher writes, “You create,” and “You put yourself in a po sition to tell us something,” using verb choices that attribute effective action to the student, thus helping her see that her successes happen because of her internally located skill—the ability to create and establish a strong position—that she has control ov er (Straub Practice 204). In contrast, when he addresses a deficiency, he identifies the p roblem, “I think I need to see more,” but he also offers the student a strategy to help h er develop her ideas more fully, “more importantly. .you need to see more of what happen ed. . .Can you see where you might have looked more closely at some of these experienc es?,” using a question to actually give the student a task/strategy that could help he r improve her descriptive abilities (204). This teacher also expresses optimism—there are “pot entially rich statements” for the student to develop—and he offers this student an ac hievable strategy—looking more closely at and seeing more about her experiences—fo r addressing the deficiency in her writing (204). This teacher’s use of written respon ses to attribute this student’s successes to her own abilities and efforts that are under her control and to project optimism in the student’s ability to address deficiencies in her wr iting could potentially strengthen the student’s beliefs in her ability to develop her wri ting skills effectively. Support for Goal Orientations Overlapping students’ self-efficacy beliefs in thei r writing development abilities are their goal orientations. Beliefs in being able to effectively implement strategies require students to understand where their abilitie s are, where they need to be, and how they can bridge the gap. In the instance of this sa mple, the teacher’s modes of response may be motivationally ineffective. The teacher does consistently respond to one specific

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113 deficiency in the student’s writing, thus avoiding confusing or overwhelming the student. His responses clearly identify the issue: “‘Anythin g’ like what? One or two quick particular things would go a long way here” identif ies the need for more in-depth description or treatment of her ideas (202). His su mmative response explicitly identifies what the student needs to do in order to provide a more robust description, “you need to see more of what happened,” but his presentation of how to see more is phrased as a question, “Can you see where you might have looked more closely at some of these experiences and thereby come to see more?” (204). P resenting this strategy as a question focuses attention on what is specifically happening in the text and may involve the student more with her ideas of the moment, but ques tions characteristically inspire thought rather than action, whereas a declarative s tatement presenting a specific task could better help support the student’s beliefs in her ability to see more. For example, the statement “Asking yourself questions about your exp eriences, why you felt the way you did and how those feelings affected your future cho ices, could help you see more of what happened,” gives the student an explicit strategy s uggesting action over thought and could be a clearer guide of a way for this student to bridge a gap interfering with a goal to write with more depth of description. This teacher’s presentation of a strategy as a ques tion is problematic in two ways. First, if the student does not “see” what it means to have looked more closely, she may feel frustrated because there is no way for her to answer this question or to clarify what the teacher means. His question may seem condescend ing because the teacher can obviously see where she could have looked more clos ely, and the question simply assumes that she can also because, even though he a sks a question, there is no

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114 opportunity for clarification. Second, the question assumes the student knows how to look more closely at her experiences, an assumption that may promote motivational frustration if the student does not understand this how From a motivation standpoint, support for this studentÂ’s development of a goal or ientation to learn to write with more robust detail is lacking; this teacherÂ’s responses provide a strategy for this student to bridge the gap, yet his mode of presenting that str ategy is implicit: he models a questioning strategy and asks for more detail, but he does not explicitly explain how to accomplish these tasks. The lack of explicit strategy instruction in this teacherÂ’s written responses may also limit their potential to help motivate the stu dent to transfer a goal to write with greater depth to future writing tasks. This teacher Â’s responses interact deeply and specifically with this studentÂ’s idea development, and while that may work to support autonomy, relatedness, and even competence needs, i t also keeps the focus of writing development on this specific text. Due to their ver y nature of physically interacting directly with the studentÂ’s text, marginal response s typically will address the ideas, and other issues a teacher might identify, of the speci fic text. Summative responses, however, provide teachers with an opportunity to offer more substantive, global remarks. Yet, a major portion of this teacherÂ’s summative response attends to this specific text. His consistency in focusing on one major deficiency in this studentÂ’s writing has benefits, but his lack of explicit strategy instruction keeps the focus on what is happening in this text rather than on the studentÂ’s skill development. The end of this teacherÂ’s summative response does move away from this specific text to the studentÂ’s transferable skills, but, problematically, his response itself loses focus on the studentÂ’s skill development. His

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115 response moves from specificity to vague generality by simply observing that “other areas of [her] writing” need development, a shift f rom the development of a specific skill to general developmental need in “other areas” that may also shift the student’s goal from developing a specific writing skill to wondering ab out the other skills in which she is deficient (204). While this move may not necessaril y frustrate the student’s motivation to persist in a goal of developing her ability to writ e more descriptively, the shift from specific to general—and vague—skill development bec omes a lost opportunity to help the student understand—and be motivated to understa nd—how to bridge the gap between “weak” ways of saying what she means and “strong” w ays (203). The lost opportunity to support this student’s goa l orientation might, however, be moderated by this teacher’s mode of praise. Praise is powerful, but, as I noted earlier, all praise does not affect motivation equally. Claudia Keh, in “Feedback in the Writing Process: A Model and Methods for Implementation,” n otes some students’ desire for praise was “that they wanted to know what they did well” (302). This anecdotal observation illustrates the difference between prai se identifying some static aspect of a text, for example a vague “Good” written in the mar gin, person praise focusing on stable, uncontrollable qualities, as in “You are a talented writer,” and praise recognizing students’ effective use of strategies and which off ers students concrete evidence of their ability. Students have a desire to know “what they did well,” the effective actions they took in writing their texts. The influence of effec tive praise strategies on students’ motivation is significant, for, as Shute asserts, “ brief statements of praise can change a student’s interest, enjoyment, and feelings of comp etence and degree of contingent selfworth depending on minor differences in verbal cont ent” (607). Creating effective

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116 praise—praise that can support students’ motivation —requires simple perspective shifts, perhaps, for example, from reading for any positive aspect to reading for specific moments of competence. Doing so has the potential t o support students’ motivation by giving them concrete examples of their ability, thu s increasing their self-efficacy beliefs and strengthening their beliefs in their ability to achieve learning goals. This sample of a teacher’s response uses just such a type of praise, a rhetorical move that has the potential to moderate the summati ve response lacking support for the student’s goal orientations. Returning to the momen t in the student’s text where she provides descriptions in support of a statement tha t deepens the meaning of her statement illustrates this potential. The teacher enthusiasti cally, as I noted before, identifies and emphasizes the moment by placing three check marks above his response, and offers praise giving the student concrete evidence that she knows how to write with robust description: “See the way you begin to make the previous statement mean more by going into the next ones?” (203). In beginning the response with “See the way you,” this teacher directs his response directly to the studen t rather than to the text. The response could be very effective because it directly relates to the main issue in the student’s writing that the teacher has consistently addressed in his other responses. Consequently, the loss of focus in the teacher’s summative respon se, although it may not capitalize on support this student’s goal orientation, might be m oderated by the student’s recognition of her competence in being able to write in a “stro ng” way (203). Conclusion This second sample of a teacher’s written responses also illustrates their motivational qualities. The teacher’s use of non-co ntrolling language and open-ended

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117 questions could support this student’s need for aut onomy by allowing—and even encouraging—her to make choices about how to develo p her text, thus modifying traditional classroom power hierarchies. The conver sational quality of his responses emphasizes the presence of the student and makes th e response to the student rather than to the text and could offer support for her related ness needs. The optimism evident in his responses and his attribution of successes to the s tudent’s ability to create a strong framework in her writing could direct her attributi ons in motivationally productive ways and bolster her self-efficacy beliefs, and his resp onse praising the student’s success offers the student concrete evidence of her ability, a use of praise that could also positively influence the student’s self-efficacy beliefs. Furt her, the response offering praise could influence this student’s goal orientation, supporti ng her motivation to master the skill of writing with deeper description because it shows th e student concrete evidence that she can bridge the gap between where her writing skill is—using weak descriptive practices, and where it needs to be—using strong descriptive p ractices. In contrast, however, analyzing this response through a motivational fram ework reveals a lack of explicit strategy instruction, which, from a motivational st andpoint, represents a lost opportunity for helping the student transfer goals from develop ing this specific text to developing writing skills in future writing tasks. Motivationa l qualities permeate this teacher’s written responses, illustrating how, whether offeri ng strong support, lack of support, or actually frustrating motivational needs, beliefs, a nd goals, motivational potentials are a major aspect of written responding practices.

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118 CHAPTER VI DISCUSSION The analysis of these two samples of a teacher’s wr itten response illustrates the potential that responses have to affect student mot ivation to persist in developing writing skills. Even though they represent distinctly diffe rent responding practices, they both show motivational qualities and potentials in addit ion to illustrating how motivation is part of these teachers’ reason for responding. Furt her, these samples reveal frustrations that can occur when motivational purpose and respon ding practices conflict, reminding us, once again, that “the narrow margins and narrow er interlinear spaces of a student paper can expand to encompass a large and complex a rena of writer-reader interaction” (Haswell “Higher Education” 408). The complex arena of writer-reader interaction is complicated as teacher-student dynamics—with their multifaceted roles and experiences—are rhetorically enacted within the phy sically limiting white spaces that circumscribe students’ texts, the physical boundari es restricting opportunities for teachers to create and for students to experience mutually u nderstood meaning about what writing is. Thus, disjunction between intention and percept ion occurs, leaving both teachers and students ambivalent about the pedagogical value of teachers’ practice of writing responses to students about their writing. Overlayi ng the scholarship concerning teachers’ responding practices with motivational theories’ un derstanding of students’ needs, beliefs, and goals reveals powerful intersections, intersections that offer teachers a way of thinking about responses and a reason for respondin g that could moderate some of the disjunctions inherent in the practice of responding and allow more meaningful communication between teachers and students.

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119 A significant intersection apparent in Sample A, Sa mple B, the scholarship concerning response practices, and motivational the ories is the evidence that motivation is a reason for responding. Motivation—as a constru ct in the educational psychology discipline that defines why and how individuals act in a given situation—is an inherent aspect of human nature, and, as such, is a vital co nsideration in pedagogical practices. Response theories and practices assume that written responses “create the motive for doing something” (Sommers “Responding” 149). Sample A shows that motivation is clearly a purpose of this teacher’s response—her la st sentence, “Keep going in this direction—onwards!” a clear expression of confidenc e that the student is on the right path and of encouragement to continue to persist in deve loping her writing skills (Straub Practice 142). Sample B also clearly shows motivational con cern when this teacher writes, “There’s a lot in here to be happy about. . .You are on your way” (Straub Practice 204). In this teacher’s estimation, there is “a lo t” for the student to be happy about, which conveys a sense of optimism and confid ence because the teacher feels that the student has made significant accomplishments. I nterestingly, this teacher employs the metaphor of writing development as a journey, echoi ng the same metaphor in Sample A teacher’s response. The Sample B student is on her way just as the Sample A student is going in the right direction. Motivational theories response theory, and these two samples come together to reveal student writing dev elopment as an interactive journey. These students are on a developmental journey where teachers’ pedagogical choices in responding practices potentially have an effect on students’ motivation to continue the journey, and motivational theories supply valuable insights to support teachers’ motivational reasons as they create responses.

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120 In these specific instances of two students’ develo pmental journey, teachers in both Sample A and Sample B make a rhetorical move t o help their students understand the value of learning specific writing skills, a mo ve that also supports melding the scholarship on response and motivational theories. In Sample A, the teacher clearly informs the student that she needs to learn “to sup port generalizations both specifically and accurately,” a recognition of an element of eff ective writing that might seem to stand on its own. Nevertheless, the teacher continues on, noting that this skill is “particularly useful in communication, your major” (142). In maki ng this move, the teacher offers the student information that could make the need to sup port generalizations both specifically and accurately more meaningful by providing the stu dent with why the skill is important. Similarly, the teacher in Sample B consistently ide ntifies a deficiency in his student’s writing, a lack of robust description in support of the student’s ideas. Again, strong descriptive prose is an aspect of effective writing but this teacher helps the student understand why it is effective when he enthusiastically observes “See the way you begin to make the previous statement mean more by going i nto the next ones?” (203). In showing the student that providing a reader with im portant, descriptive information makes her writing more meaningful, the teacher also helps his student understand why this is meaningful for her writing skill developmen t. Clearly, identifying the skill is important, but id entifying why the skill is valuable is also important. Motivational theories can inters ect with and positively inform written response practices by helping teachers understand w hy certain responding practices are important. Written responses are important because they can offer students meaningful interaction with both the teacher and their own tex ts. Response theories offer the

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121 following characteristics of effective responses: t hey allow students control; they are specific and offer strategies for improvement; they incorporate classroom dialogue, and they are respectful and humane. Theories of motivat ion provide teachers the information they need to know to understand why these characteristics are important and effective. Understanding that students have psychological need s to feel autonomous, competent, and related and that they need support to develop m otivationally productive self-efficacy beliefs, attributions and goal orientations gives t eachers meaningful characteristics to consider about their students as teachers craft res ponses and develop their responding practices. The analyses of these two teachers’ resp onses in Sample A and Sample B provide some insight into the relationships between teachers’ responding practices and their support for student motivation that can help teachers develop motivationally productive responses. While two samples may be unique in their own teache r-student-classroom contexts, there are enough similarities to a genera l responding situation—teachers and students guiding and learning in a classroom situat ion—for these analyses to stimulate inquiry into how the influence of knowledge concern ing motivational needs and supports can strengthen the teacher-student rhetorical relat ionship. In The Nature of Rhetorical Criticism Sonja K. Foss argues that “even the study of one artifact allows [us] to step back from the details of a particular artifact to t ake a broader view of it and to draw some conclusions about what it suggests concerning some process of rhetoric,” which, in this case is the process of students writing and teacher s responding (8). The following chart illustrates the apparent intersections among motiva tional theories and response theories. It also shows how the analyses of Samples A and B a nswering my first research

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122 question—What motivational qualities and potentials are evident in the language of teachers’ written responses?—provide an opportunity to step back and consider what these intersections suggest about teachers’ written response practices: Table 5 Intersections Between Theories and Practice Motivation Theories Response Theories Analyses Students require support for psychological needs: Students appreciate or value responses with the following characteristics: Autonomy Students respond better to having choices and power over their texts Provide evidence of responses that might support or frustrate students’ psychological needs Relatedness They need responses that are respectful and reflect conversation or dialogue Competence They need recognition of their competence Student motivation requires support and guidance for the productive development of the following: Students respond better to responses with the following characteristics: Self-efficacy beliefs praise recognizing evidence of competence Provide evidence of how responses might offer feedback in motivationally productive or motivationally frustrating ways Attributions praise for students’ processes, abilities and efforts Goal Orientations performance feedback showing where the student’s skill is, where it needs to be, and providing strategies for improvement The above intersections show that composition theor ies provide comparable wisdom about qualities that make teachers’ written respons es efficatious. While both disciplines seem to provide similar guidance, motivational theo ries enrich the understanding of these qualities and provide teachers with important aware ness of their students needs as human beings. Accordingly, I discuss these intersections and what they suggest about teachers’ written responding practices. Then, in answer to my second research question—How can

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123 having motivation as a reason for responding help t eachers frame written responses?—I discuss how a motivational focus could benefit stud ents and teachers, what the above indications imply for practice, and what the implic ations are for further research. Autonomy Typically, support for autonomy is represented by a llowing and encouraging students to make choices about the development of t heir texts through asking open-ended questions rather than making directive commands. Th ese two response samples, however, illustrate other rhetorical moves that could suppor t students’ autonomy needs. Sample A—as a response to a final draft—does not offer the student overt choices about the development of this text; yet the teacher’s move to encourage the student to “commend” herself for skill developments recognizes student a chievement in a way that acknowledges the power the student has exerted over her own learning—a move explicitly emphasizing for the student the benefits of taking control of the development of her own writing skills. John Hattie and Helen Timpe rely, in “The Power of Feedback,” note “that feedback is effective to the degree to w hich it directs information to enhanced self-efficacy and to more effective self-regulation such that attention is directed back to the task and causes students to invest more effort or commitment to the task” (95). The teacher’s response in Sample A provides feedback th at directs positive information about the student’s skill development, which recognizes h er self-regulation. This recognition is a type of process praise that could direct the stud ent’s attention back to her success in the task and help her attribute that success to her own efforts and abilities, and which could encourage her to invest more effort or commitment t o her writing skill development. By showing this student the benefits of taking control of her skill development and offering

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124 the teacher’s support of the power the student has exerted over her writing development, the teacher in Sample A creates an autonomy support ive response. The teacher in Sample B offers autonomy support in a different way, his noncontrolling language and deep engagement with the s tudent’s ideas encourage the student to actively take power over the development of her ideas—and ultimately the development of her writing skills. From a motivatio nal standpoint, as Reeve notes, “students in classrooms taught by autonomy-supporti ve teachers, compared to students in classrooms taught by controlling teachers, experien ce an impressive and meaningful range of positive educational outcomes” including i ncreased engagement, willingness to address challenges, and greater persistence, and th e use of non-controlling language is a strong autonomy-supportive strategy (228). Further, from a standpoint from response theories, Sommers reports that “it isn’t just that without a reader ‘the whole process is diminished’; rather, it is with a thoughtful reader that the whole process is enric hed, deepened, and inscribed in memory” (“Across” 251). Deep engagement with students’ ideas is required in order to provide students with responses from a thoughtful readerteacher that can enrich and deepen a student’s lear ning and motivation. Many of the responses from the teacher in Sample B are framed i n ways that suggest he is deeply involved with the student’s ideas. For example, “Ho w to give us something that would help us see this frustration better. Would a partic ular time do?,” suggests that he, as a teacher, is thinking along with the student and con sidering ways of providing more descriptive support of her ideas. His language is n ot controlling, but is, rather, inviting and thoughtful, “How to” reflecting a conversationa l invitation to join him in thought. The scholarship concerning written responses recogn izes that teachers need to respond in

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125 ways that not only offer, but that also encourage s tudents to take control of their texts, and motivational theories provide one reason why —because support for student autonomy is support of student motivation to active ly engage with their developing writing skills. Samples A and B illustrate these in tersections and offer rhetorical evidence of written response strategies that can support stu dent autonomy needs. Relatedness Students’ motivational needs for relatedness are al so vital, and teachers’ written responses potentially provide an intimate forum for their support. As Glenn and Goldthwaite counsel, “The written comments you make on a student’s essay will often be the basis of your relationship with that student” ( 115). Teachers’ written responses are intimate, one-on-one communications that are also a n instantiation of the teacher-student relationship. Relatedness support is evident in the rhetoric of Samples A and B both through language and through specific moves that th ey make. As noted in the analysis, when the teacher in Sample B uses the word, “let’s, ” he creates a sense of respectful support, suggesting that “we are in this together” (Straub Practice 204). In contrast, the marginal responses of Sample A are terse, and may c reate distance between this teacher and her student; nevertheless, the teacher’s summat ive response shows she is interested in this student’s individual writing development by no ting progress unique to this student, a move that could strengthen this teacher-student rel ationship. These two samples demonstrate how a teacher-student relationship is p hysically represented on the page and illustrate markedly different motivationally suppor tive potentials. With few words, a teacher can offer relationship support, but few wor ds also have the potential to bring distance to the teacher-student relationship. The s cholarship on response recognizes the

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126 need for respectful responses that echo classroom c onversation, but motivational theories provide understandings of students as human beings with vital needs to feel “securely connected to, and cared for by . their teachers ” (Ryan and Deci “Self-Determination Theory” 73). These intersections work together to b ring fuller meaning to the potentials for relatedness support or frustration in the pedag ogical choices teachers make as they write responses. Competence, Self-Efficacy Beliefs, and Goal Orienta tions Motivational theories’ understanding of students’ p sychological need for support of competence, students’ self-efficacy beliefs, rel ated attributions, and goal orientations also intersect with feedback research showing the v alue of providing students with progress and process information along with specifi c strategies for improvement. Students’ motivation is linked to their efficacy ex pectations, or their “beliefs about whether [they] can effectively perform the behavior s necessary to produce the outcome” (Eccles and Wigfield “Motivational Beliefs” 111). F urther, evidence supports Bandura’s argument that self-efficacy expectations—which are linked to attributions and goals—are a “major determinant of goal setting, activity choi ce, willingness to expend effort, and persistence” (111). Applying this to writing instru ction suggests that students’ motivation to persist in developing writing skills is influenc ed by the beliefs they hold about their abilities to competently address issues in their wr iting. Similarly, in “Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Motivation in Writing Development,” Fra nk Pajares and Gio Valiante observe that “[s]elf-efficacy and writing competenc e increase when students are provided with process goals (i.e., specific strategies they can use to improve their writing), as well as regular feedback regarding how well they are usi ng such strategies” (163). Feedback

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127 helping students recognize where their skills are, where their skills needs to be, and strategies for bridging that gap provides students with support that can influence their competence needs, self-efficacy beliefs, and goal o rientations in motivationally productive ways. Samples A and B of teachers’ written responses illu strate how performance feedback has motivational potentials. The responses written by the teacher in Sample A specifically notes where this student’s skill is in offering specific, accurate support of her statements, explains where the student’s skill need s to be, and provides her with a specific strategy—“scrutinize your development stil l, [ask] yourself whether the statements you make in the words you chose to make them truly are accurate or whether they are overly general”—with which to bridge the g ap (Straub Practice 142). Providing students’ with a specific strategy, in this case, o ne that relates to general writing skills, has the potential to support this student’s self-ef ficacy beliefs and goals. In contrast, the response written by the teacher in Sample B provide s an improvement strategy, but it is so focused on this specific text and written in an indirect manner that it may not explicitly support this student’s self-efficacy beliefs and go als. The teacher does state, “you need to see more of what happened,” which is a direct recog nition of a way to develop the student’s ideas (204). However, the teacher then as ks “Can you see where you might have looked more closely?” (204). Can this teacher’ s pedagogical choice to provide this student with an improvement strategy through using a question effectively support her self-efficacy beliefs or productively situation her goal orientations? While questions may help students engage with and develop their ideas, understanding learning strategies requires more explicit instruction. In this instanc e, the question may not clearly convey

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128 that this is a strategy for improving the student’s idea development. In “Focus on Formative Feedback,” Valarie Shute concludes that “ [i]f feedback is not specific or clear, it can impede learning and can frustrate learners,” which means that this question lacking clear indication that it is providing a strategy mi ght potentially frustrate this student’s motivation (177). The intersections of motivational theories and rese arch in response theories also reveal praise as a complex construct with powerful motivational potentials. Research in written responses shows that students appreciate be st praise that is specific—not just a random “Good” in the margins—but that provides stud ents with information about progress they have made, as, for example, in Sample A, when the teacher observes that “[y]ou can commend yourself for having a stronger t hesis and a more organized piece here than you have had in the previous two assignme nts” (142). This response is praise that specifically provides the student information about how her writing skills are developing. These findings align with motivational theories that show students’ beliefs, related attributions, and goal orientations are bes t supported by feedback providing students with information about their skill levels— not just how to develop their skill level, but also how they are doing in that developm ent. Praise that targets this development then has the potential to influence stu dents’ motivation to persist in developing their skills. Ultimately, the intersecti ons of theories and practice just reviewed combine to help reveal motivational qualities and p otentials happening in the responses teachers write to their students and provide a broa der view of teachers’ responding practices and how they can influence the teacher-st udent, writer-reader process of constructing and construing meaning in the margins surrounding students’ texts.

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129 Implications Implications for Teachers and Students One final concept emerges from the intersection of these theories and sample responses: having student motivation as a conscious reason for responding can increase the efficacy of teachers’ written responses because it keeps the student present in the transaction and emphasizes her over the text. As no ted in the literature review of teachers’ written responses, research shows student -centered, formative feedback is positively related to student achievement, attitude s, and motivation. Using motivational theories as a heuristic for developing written resp onses has the potential to make the student the focus of the response. For example, as a teacher, I would develop my remarks in response to, not only what the text is doing on the page, but also to the needs of the author of the text—the student. Composing a respons e with students’ motivational needs and supports in mind can keep the student—though ph ysically absent—present and even prioritized. Instead of responses indentifying and correcting error or deficiencies in the text on a page, the act of writing a response becom es an act of communication with a student about her or his text and developing writing skills. Stu dent motivation as an impetus for writing a response could also relocate a teacher’s perception of error and deficiency. Joseph Williams, in “The Phenomenology of Error,” notes a profound—and problematic—perception of how error can be located: “error is in the essay, on the page, because that is where it physically exists. But of course, to be in the essay, it first has to be in the student” (155). William’s observation rec ognizes how focusing on the text, and on errors in the text, conflates the text and the s tudent and which, disturbingly, develops a perception of the student as a location of error. U sing a motivational heuristic to develop

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130 responses shifts a teacherÂ’s perception of a studen t as deficient to understanding the student as a location of potential and possibilitie s, a perception that changes responses from marks on a page to a more personal, richer com munication with the student. Implications for Practice Consciously adopting student motivation as a reason for writing responses would not necessarily entail more time and effort, but do es require developing different ways of approaching the practice of responding both in gene ral strategies and with individual students. These different approaches require self-r eflective analysis of personal responding strategies to discern the following: whether oneÂ’s responses consistently represent oneÂ’ s purposes whether oneÂ’s responses show reading for error or r eading for competence to what the responses attribute student failure or success how the responses represent a unique teacher-studen t relationship. This project of analyses and intersections has reve aled certain characteristics of written responses having motivational qualities that are ei ther potentially productive or potentially frustrating. Perhaps the best way of m elding motivational understanding with current practice would be to ask questions of oneÂ’s current responding style. So, if student motivation requires support for psychologic al needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence, and support for studentsÂ’ self-effi cacy beliefs, attributions, and goal orientations, then the following questions could re veal the motivational potential of an individualÂ’s written responses: Autonomy support: 1) Are the language and mode of my responses controlli ng or non-controlling?

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131 2) Do my responses provide the student with opportunit ies to make choices about what is happening in her or his text? 3) Do my responses encourage the student to take contr ol of the text? 4) Does praise that I offer recognize evidence of stud ent control? Relatedness support: 5) Do my responses respectfully engage with the studen t’s ideas? 6) Do my responses have a respectful tone? 7) Do my responses focus only on the specific text, or do they create a bridge to general writing development? 8) Do my responses convey optimistic expectations? 9) Do my responses convey support? Competence, self-efficacy beliefs, and attributions support: 10) What do my responses convey about error? How do the y prioritize error? 11) How do my responses identify competence? 12) Is the praise I offer specifically related to the s tudent’s abilities and efforts? 13) To what do my responses attribute failure and succe ss? Support for motivationally productive goal orientat ions: 14) Do my responses clearly identify where the student’ s level of ability is? 15) Do my responses show where the student’s level of a bility needs to be? 16) Do my responses offer process feedback through prov iding explicit strategies for improvement? 17) Do my responses provide the student with feedback o n her or his progress in development of individual writing skills? Asking questions of current responding practices he lps a teacher align reasons for responding with intention and practice. The actual performance of responding to a student’s text in motivationally supportive and pro ductive ways need not take more of the teacher’s precious and limited time, but simply req uires a change in reading strategies, a change in response wording, or a change in focus as to what the responses address. The extra time required is actually front-loaded—workin g to improve general teaching skills and not necessarily spending extra time on individu al students’ texts. While self-reflective analysis provides insight int o the motivational qualities of a teacher’s responding practices, that insight is rel atively general. As individuals, students

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132 bring personal and unique motivational characterist ics to the classroom juggling game, so, attention to motivational support requires work ing to gain an understanding of students’ current motivational state. One suggestio n for gaining insight into individual students’ motivational state is to incorporate moti vation into early writing assignment. Many teachers already ask students to write a diagn ostic essay in order to begin to identify areas of need in students’ writing abiliti es. Making motivation the subject of that essay provides insight into both students’ writing abilities and their motivational states. A sample prompt addressing student motivation might r ead like this: Welcome to Core Composition 1020! Developing academ ic writing skills is a goal of this class. I am interested in your individual writing experiences and the goals you have as you begin thi s class. For this assignment, please write about an experience you ha ve had with academic writing and address how this experience in fluences your beliefs in your ability to write effectively. Also, identify your writing strengths and what skills you want to improve on in this semester. As we continue in the semester, I will ask you to set a specific goal for the end of the term and to identify specific short-term goals toward that end. If you have a goa l already in mind, please talk about it in this assignment. Finally, c onclude with suggestions for ways this class and I can support y ou in reaching your goals. This prompt does not directly address autonomy, rel atedness, and competence needs but simply assumes that all students require adequate s upport for their psychological needs. It does, however, offer opportunities for insight into students’ self-efficacy beliefs and to what they attribute success and failure. It also ex plicitly identifies the goal of the class and asks students to align their goals with that ov erarching goal. This prompt works further to encourage students to set mastery goals by individualizing the goals, making them unique to each student. A diagnostic essay suc h as this provides teachers with both an idea of a student’s writing abilities and a stud ent’s motivational state—information

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133 that can enhance and enrich teachers’ written respo nses to their students. In the end, incorporating a motivational framework into respond ing awareness can enrich not only responding practices, but other pedagogical practic es as well. Implications for Further Research While this project provides insight into motivation al qualities and potentials of teachers’ written responses, further research is re quired to gain greater understanding of how those responses can support student motivation. Empirical research that gathers data from instruments employed by motivational theory re search could provide insight into the motivational efficacy of teachers’ written resp onses from the students’ perspective. This research would require the measurement of stud ent motivation over a series of assignments and would also require analysis of both student motivation and rhetorical characteristics of the teacher’s written responses. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (see Garcia and Pintrich) prov ides a rigorous measure of student beliefs, attributions, and goal orientations that c ould facilitate research into the motivational efficacy of teachers’ written response s. Further, research would need to incorporate how the dynamic of grades affects stude nt motivation and the efficacy of teachers’ written responses. The external pressure that the grading system exerts on students is significant and pulls students’ attenti on away from the teacher’s responses (see Carless). The dynamic of how grades impact stu dents’ perceptions of teachers’ written responses could also be altered by classroo m context—by how teachers incorporate responses into their instructional patt ern. Simply providing responses has a different influence on how students perceive the mo tivational supportiveness of the responses than does providing responses but also re quiring active engagement with them

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134 through supplemental activities. The melding of emp irical research in student motivation to persist in developing writing skills and its rel ationship with teachersÂ’ written responses will be a complex undertaking, but developing a gre ater understanding of their relationship will be valuable in helping teachers c raft more effective responses which can support studentsÂ’ motivation.

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135 CHAPTER VII CONCLUSION Students write and teachers respond, a multifaceted pedagogical relationship that resembles a complex juggling game. Student motivati on to keep the game going is vital in order for students’ writing skills to develop. I n truth, motivation is part of dynamic transactions among individuals within social and le arning contexts. In their article “Motivation and Writing” in the Handbook of Writing Research Suzanne Hidi and Pietro Boscolo explore research in motivation and writing and recognize that social theories of both motivation and writing reveal intersections wh ere “motivation to write is not a ‘variable’ of writing tasks assigned to students in school or in psychological studies, but is deeply rooted in the contexts in which writing i s a meaningful, authentic activity” (145). Considering motivation as deeply rooted in t he context of meaningful, authentic writing activities confirms that motivation is vita l to writing development, and teachers’ written responses, with their inherent motivational qualities and potentials, interweave with students’ writing development and motivation. Although a few brief marginal responses and a summative response cannot completel y support students’ motivation and writing development, those responses represent vita l one-on-one teacher student interaction. Yet, their very brevity and physically disconnected nature—both teacher and student must work to construe and construct meaning in the absence of the author of the text and the comments—makes them susceptible to mis understanding and disjunction. At their best, written responses have the potential mo tivate and teach, but at their worst, they have great potential to discourage and frustrate st udents. Teachers need to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between st udents’ motivation to develop writing

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136 skills and teachersÂ’ practice of writing responses to them about their texts. These analyses and discussion of apparent intersections provide in sight into the motivational possibilities resident in teachersÂ’ written responses and provide a foundation for further research that could benefit studentsÂ’ motivation to continue to d evelop their writing skills.

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137 WORKS CITED Anderman, Eric M. and Lynley H. Anderman. Motivating Children and Adolescents in Schools. Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice Hall. 2010. Print. Anderman, Lynley, Helen Patrick, Ludmila Z. Hruda, and Elizabeth A. Linnenbrink. “Observing Classroom Goal Structures to Clarify and Expand Goal Theory.”. Goals, Goal Structures, and Patterns of Adaptive Le arning. Ed. Carol Midgley. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. 243278. Print. Anderman, Eric M. and Christopher A. Wolters. (2006 ) “Goals, Values, and Affect: Influences on Student Motivation.” Eds. Patricia A. Alexander and Philip H. Winne. Handbook of Educational Psychology Second Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. 369-389. Print. Anson, Chris M.. “Response Styles and Ways of Knowi ng.” Writing and response: Theory, practice, and research. Ed. Chris M. Anson. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1989. 332-366. Prin t. Anson, Chris M.. “Reflective Reading: Developing Th oughtful Ways of Responding to Student Writing.” The Allyn and Bacon Sourcebook for College Writing Teachers Second Edition. Ed. James C. McDonald. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 20 00. 374393. Print. Anson, Chris M.. “Response and the Social Construct ion of Error.” Assessing Writing 7 (2000): 5-21. Elsevier Science Inc. Web. 8 Nov. 2011. Bandura, Albert. Self-Efficacy: The exercise of control. New York : W.H. Freeman, 1997. Print. Bandura, Albert. “Exercise of Human Agency Through Collective Efficacy.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 9.3 (2000): 75-78. Googlescholar Web. 9 Oct. 2012. Bandura Albert. “Social Cognitive Theory of Self-Re gulation.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 50.2 (December 1991): 248-287. Elsevier Web. 9 Oct. 2012. Bazerman, Charles. “Standpoints: The Disciplined In terdisciplinarity of Writing Studies.” Research in the Teaching of English 46.1 (August 2011): 8-21. Academic Search Premier. Web.10 Jul. 2012. Beach, Richard and Tom Friedrich. “Chapter 15: Resp onse to Writing.” Handbook of Writing Research. Eds. Charles A. MacArthur, Steve Graham, and Jill Fitzgerald. New York: The Guildford Press, 2006. 222-234. Print

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139 Fife, Jane Mathison and Peggy O’Neill. “Moving Beyo nd the Written Comment: Narrowing the Gap between Response Practice and Res earch.” College Composition and Communication 53.2 (December 2001). National Council of Teachers of English. EBSCO Web.14 February 2012. Foss, Sonja K. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice Thir d Edition. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2004. Print. Garcia, Teresa, and Paul R. Pintrich. "Assessing St udents' Motivation and Learning Strategies in the Classroom Context: The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire." New York, NY, US: Kluwer Academic/P lenum Publishers, New York, NY, 1996. 319-339. Evaluation in Education an d Human Services. PsycINFO. Web. 9 Oct. 2012. Gee, Thomas C. “Students’ Responses to Teacher Comm ents.” Key Works on Teacher Response: An Anthology. Ed. Richard Straub. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, 2006. 38-45. Print. Glenn, Cheryl and Melissa A. Goldthwaite. The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print. Haimovitz, Kyla and Jennifer Henderlong Corpus. “Ef fects of Person Versus Process Praise on Student Motivation: Stability and Change in Emerging Adulthood.” Educational Psychology, 31.5 (2011): 595-609. JSTOR Web. 13 September 2011. Handbook of Educational Psychology 2nd. Edition Eds. Patricia A. Alexander and Philip H. Winne. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, New Jersey, 2006. Print. Haswell, Richard H.. (1983). “Minimal Marking.” College English 45.6 (1983): 600-604. JSTOR Web. 8 February 2012. Haswell, Richard H. “Chapter 21: The Teaching of Wr iting in Higher Education.” Handbook of Research on Writing: History, Society, School, Individual, Text. Ed. Charles Bazerman. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associ ates, Taylor and Francis Group, 2008. 405-424. Print. Haswell, Richard. “The Complexities of Responding t o Student Writing; or, Looking for Shortcuts via the Road of Excess.” Across the Disciplines 3 (November 2009): n. pag. Googlescholar. Web. 1 Feb. 2008. http://wac.colostate.edu/atd/articles/haswell2006.c fm Hattie, John, and Helen Timperley. “The Power of Fe edback.” Review of Educational Research 77.1(2007): 81-112. American Educational Research Association. JSTOR Web. 28 Nov. 2011.

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