About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6869-6873
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain


D. Comer

Duke University (UNITED STATES)
Nearly eight years ago, Catherine G. Latterell lamented in “Training the Workforce...,” the homogeneity of many GTA [Graduate Teaching Assistant] training programs: “What is immediately noticeable about … descriptions of GTA education programs … is their rough similarity given a wide range of programmatic options” (141). While Latterell issues an important call for a “re-consideration of the kinds of reading (or lack of it) we require for GTAs in these courses,” her remedy nonetheless reflects another univocal disciplinary approach: "Balancing [practical advice and theory] is the difference between providing GTAs with a vocabulary of key words and teaching them a language. … [P]edagogy courses need to help GTAs develop a language for teaching writing, … contextualizing these key words within … rhetoric and composition studies” [my emphasis] (152). Significantly, like the homogeneity she critiques, Latterell’s own argument assumes that the appropriate “language” for new teachers of writing must be that of composition and rhetoric. In effect, her call for increased heterogeneity merely replicates at a fundamental level the homogeneity.

Eight years later, with increasing multidisciplinarity across writing programs in the United States and across the academy more generally, the same homogeneity largely—and surpisingly—remains in many of the ways in which we prepare teachers. One can see this operating through listserv discussions about preparing teachers, by the articles collected in anthologies designed for newer teachers, and through the readings most often assigned to teachers in pre-service training. However, one can also see glimpses of this homogeneity beginning to broaden into a richer heterogeneity, especially in the work of such scholars as Betty Bamberg, Katherine Gottschalk, and Keith Hjortshoj, as well as in several recent writing-related conferences and initiatives.

Focusing on these instances, and through my own work with a multidisciplinary writing faculty for over a decade now, I have increasingly sought to develop strategies for embracing and enfranchising multidisciplinary pedagogies. Rather than training new faculty to teach writing by sharing what I know as a scholar of writing studies, I instead ask the following questions: How can I more effectively balance the expertise in writing pedagogy from Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies with a visible, overt inclusion of the scholarship, practices, and pedagogies that other disciplines can bring to the teaching of writing? How can I emphasize that in asking a multidisciplinary faculty to draw on their disciplinary expertise to teach writing, we are not only asking them to draw from the content of their discipline, but also from their disciplines’ pedagogical practices and methodologies? How can interdisciplinary conversations help impact the acts of translation within and between disciplines?

This talk will begin by asking these questions and then share several strategies that foster this more engaged multidisciplinary pedagogy in the training of new teachers and throughout their careers through professional development. The hope is that this talk will spark more conversation and ideas about how to continue sustaining multidisciplinary epistemologies for pedagogy across all disciplines.
author = {Comer, D.},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {6869-6873}}
AU - D. Comer
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 6869
EP - 6873
ER -
D. Comer (2010) FOSTERING MULTIDISCIPLINARY PEDAGOGIES, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 6869-6873.