Faith in phenomenography : a new approach to evangelicalism in the college writing classroom
Slepicka, Aimee Joy
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In this thesis, I argue that a lack of first-person narratives and experience-based research in composition studies may be weakening the field's ability to fully understand and connect with evangelical Christians enrolled in college writing courses. I posit that, while many scholars have done a commendable job of creating new pedagogical space where evangelical students can explore issues of religious identity and faith in writing, more work still needs to be done in collecting student descriptions of and perspectives on the faith-learning integration actually undertaken (or avoided) in these secular contexts. Using phenomenography-a method that seeks to uncover the various ways that individuals experience the world around them-I conduct a pilot study of evangelical Montana Bible College undergraduates who enroll as visiting students at Montana State University in order to fulfill graduation requirements in composition. By augmenting current studies with phenomenographic observations and surveys results, I attempt to offer a more "complex" portrait of evangelical students than the one that typically emerges in most composition research on this topic. I suggest that these experience-based methods have the potential to reveal key student struggles and needs, which should be explored further as faith-learning integration pedagogies are designed and implemented in future college writing curriculums.