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Offering a First-year Composition Classroom for Veterans and Cadets: A Learning-Community Model Case Study

Author:

Tara Hembrough

Southeastern Oklahoma State University, US
About Tara
Dr. Tara Hembrough is an Assistant Professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She teaches military-friendly composition and professional and technical writing courses for the English Department. Her current research focuses on Native American student-veterans.
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Abstract

This article discusses my university’s creation of first-year-composition courses designed with a learning community or cohort approach for student-veterans, service-members, and cadets desiring this model. At my locale, neither the standard sections of Composition I nor II had been created to provide a military population with a common student community, customized readings, flexible attendance policies, and seamless communication with university veteran services that might better facilitate the transition to college for some student-veterans. Thus, as writing program administrator, I piloted linked composition courses for a service-member, veteran, and ROTC learning community, with the latter course also enrolling a nontraditional-student population. In a year-long study, I investigated the impact of enrolling military-affiliated students in linked courses within a traditional classroom to interact under a continuing instructor, engage with military-based readings, and opt to write about their military backgrounds. In presenting patterns that emerged, I argue that these experimental learning-community courses, contingent upon some local factors, supported many military-affiliated students’ engagement with first-year composition, as well as facilitated their transition to academia, through a loosely-structured, cohort model promoting aspects of students’ common but broadly-defined identities.

How to Cite: Hembrough, T., 2017. Offering a First-year Composition Classroom for Veterans and Cadets: A Learning-Community Model Case Study. Journal of Veterans Studies, 2(2), pp.140–171. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.21
Published on 07 Nov 2017.

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