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Rehearsing New Roles

Rehearsing New Roles

How College Students Develop as Writers

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Lee Ann Carroll


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
5.5 x 8.5

Studies in Writing and Rhetoric


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About the Book

In Rehearsing New Roles: How College Students Develop as Writers, Lee Ann Carroll argues for a developmental perspective to counter the fantasy held by many college faculty that students should, or could, be taught to write once so that ever after, they can write effectively on any topic, any place, any time. Carroll demonstrates in this volume why a one- or two-semester, first-year course in writing cannot meet all the needs of even more experienced writers. She then shows how students’ complex literacy skills develop slowly, often idiosyncratically, over the course of their college years, as they choose or are coerced to take on new roles as writers.

As evidence, Carroll offers a longitudinal study of a group of students and the literacy environment they experienced in a midsize, independent university. Her study follows the experiences that altered their conception of writing in college and fostered their growing capacities as writers.

Carroll’s analysis of the data collected supports a limited but still useful role for first-year composition, demonstrates how students do learn to write differently across the curriculum in ways that may or may not be recognized by faculty, and evaluates the teaching and learning practices that promote or constrain students’ development.


Lee Ann Carroll is a professor of English at Pepperdine University, specializing in composition theory, research, and adult literacy. She has published a number of articles on composition pedagogy.


“I want to commend Lee Ann Carroll for undertaking a project that will undoubtedly contribute much to our understanding of how writing plays itself out in the academic lives of undergraduate students. Carroll reminds writing teachers that we must never—not for a moment—forget the place of introductory writing classes in the general college curriculum.”—Juan C. Guerra, University of Washington at Seattle