English Ph.D. Dissertations


Process and PostProcess in China's Educational Context

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English (Rhetoric and Writing)

First Advisor

Kristine L. Blair (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Patricia K. Kubow (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Sue Carter Wood (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Lance Massey (Committee Member)


This dissertation investigated China's college-level composition instruction for English majors through the lenses of Western rhetoric and American composition theories. Historically, the teaching of writing in China belongs to the field of applied linguistics, and its classroom assessment followed EFL testing theories. However, viewed from the perspective of rhetoric and composition, China's teaching methods fall into the category of current-traditional rhetoric, a product-oriented methodology. The limitations of the approach lie in an excessive emphasis on structure and accuracy but insufficient attention to rhetorical strategies. This teaching method conforms to the literate tradition of the Chinese language, its competitive society, and its test-driven educational system. However, effective communication skills are neglected.

To solve these problems, I proposed Chinese writing instructors implement some effective mainstream writing pedagogies but adapt them to China's educational context. Chinese instructors could consider a “community-based socio-cognitive instruction approach” that stresses revision skills with reference to assessment criteria. With the process- and postprocess-based framework created by employing cognitive theories and Bruce McComiskey's postprocess theories, instructors could partially integrate Asao B. Inoue's community-based assessment pedagogy, tailoring it to a specific site. McComiskey's theory advocates three levels of composing-”“textual,” “rhetorical,” and “discursive”-”which ensure improvement of writers' linguistic, rhetorical, and social skills. Inoue's pedagogy involves students in creating assessment criteria, assessing, and assigning grades. This pedagogy empowers students, encourages collaborative learning, and connects assessment to teaching and learning, all of which gives students the opportunity to practice social and rhetorical skills.

This study utilized two major research methods: 1) a textual analysis of scholarly publications in English and Chinese, and 2) a teacher research method related to my own teaching and learning experiences in both Chinese and American universities. This project exemplified a community-based teaching approach. Additionally, I also suggested professional development for Chinese instructors so that their updated epistemology can aid in their research and curriculum reform. This research can broaden Chinese instructors' academic visions and enable ESL instructors to know about the Chinese culture, literate tradition, and educational systems, which promotes cooperation, exchange and business between the East and the West.