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Matthew Herzog

Professor Erin Workman


ENC 2135-009
14 July 2015
Research Proposal
As I have been researching and skimming through online resources for articles, I have
concluded that it will be too difficult to write about student-teacher communication and teacherteacher communication in each of the four major subjects: mathematics, English or humanities,
social sciences, and natural sciences. I came to this conclusion because of the lack of resources
that cover written communication in specific subject education areas. Since I cannot write about
this subject, I have now decided to write to the question of how do certain written forms of
communication between a student and a teacher in the classroom affect the education of the
student and the effectiveness of the teacher.
I also initially thought about not researching anything about education at all and solely
looking into how writing is used in mathematics. However, I decided that it would be kind of
uninteresting since I am not that interested in doing mathematical research. I do believe it would
be good experience to learn about the genres used in this field, but that purpose does not reflect
my purpose.
The reason why I chose this research question is because I plan on becoming a high
school teacher. I do plan on specifically becoming a high school math teacher, but I am in it more
for educating in general. I also came to this final research question due to the initial research I
conducted through the FSU online library resources. As I was searching for specific articles on
teacher to teacher communication, I stumbled upon a book called From Communication to
Curriculum by Douglas R. Barnes. Even though I was not able to read any of the passages within
the book, the brief description that read off of Google Books lead me to finalize my research
question.
I have considered the issues that may arise from looking into my research question, such
as most of it being common knowledge. It is widely known that most written communications
between students and teachers are based in emails, comments on essays, and either typed or
handwritten notes that students must summarize or copy. However, I believe the impact of
written communication on a students education is a less discussed topic that should considered
as our ways of written communication are rapidly changing. This constantly morphing
communication also gives way for me to research some into the four main subject education
areas that I mentioned above. However, I do not plan spending much time discussing the distinct
communication methods of each subject area unless it is vital to answer my research question.
An issue that has risen from selecting this topic is the observation portion of my research.
Since most student and teacher communication is done either in privacy, online, or at ones
home, it is not a viable research method for me to use. Instead, I shall be conducting two or three
interviews, depending on what information I decide I need. These interviews will be with people
who have or are working in the education field as a teacher or instructor and take part in written
communication with students on a daily basis.
One of the interviews that I will conduct will be with Teresa Van Ochten, an instructional
assistant at Gulf High School in New Port Richey, Florida. Even though she has never taught
professionally, I plan on using the information I obtain from her as a baseline for other research I

will conduct. The questions I will be asking her will be very broad but will allow me to get a
sense of what genres of writing are used in an educational setting. These questions include what
genres are used to communicate with students, what information is mentioned within these
genres, and how does this communication, do you believe, affect their education.
I shall also be conducting another interview with Erin Workman, a PhD student who
teaches Research, Genre, and Context and other composition course at FSU. I will be asking
her the same questions as Teresa Van Ochten. However, I will also include questions about the
specific genres of writing within the context of the English classroom in and how they affect the
students learning of composition and writing. I am interviewing Erin Workman to gain a more
specific perspective on written communication in education. This is will also allow me to see
communication between students and teachers from a teachers perspective, since I am a student
of hers.
If I decide I need more information, I will interview a previous teacher that I had in high
school. This is also another source of subject specific information, since I can contact teachers of
all of the four main subject areas. However, I most specifically plan on interviewing my
Chemistry and AP Environmental Science teacher Heather Legrand through email. The reason
for choosing her is because she represents, in my opinion, the polar opposite of Erin Workmans
field. This will give me a different perspective on written teacher and student communication.
Hopefully with the information I gain from these interviews, I can apply it to my experiences as
a student and the research of others in order to synthesize some plausible answers to my research
question.
Even though I have built upon my research question extensively, it might change slightly
as my research into the topic of written teacher and student communication continues. The two to
three interviews I will conduct could also be a catalyst of change in my research question. Once
these interviews are conducted, a specific subject area might interest me more or even a whole
different field than education might pique my interest.
After conducting my research and writing on the research, I hope to gain information
about education and other fields such as psychology, the natural sciences, and composition. I also
hope that my research will aid me in finalizing a career goal for myself. Even though Im set on
becoming a high school teacher, I have very mixed feelings about what subject I would teach.
With my research into communication between students and teachers, I hope to gain some
insight into certain teaching methods that can help me in deciding on a subject to teach.