Purdue University Graduate School
Dissertation - Phuong Tran 2.0.pdf (3.98 MB)

Developing a Multicultural Reader for First Year Writing Courses: A Backward Design Approach

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posted on 2021-07-28, 10:37 authored by Phuong M TranPhuong M Tran
This dissertation features a curriculum development project on redesigning a piloted multicultural reader which serves to cultivate intercultural competence in diverse domestic and international students in first year writing courses. My redesign process was guided by pedagogical implications from the preliminary results of the implemented multicultural reader and from composition scholarship on multicultural readers. Specifically, my redesigned multicultural reader must(i) achieve pedagogical alignment among learning objectives, assessment practices, and instructional materials and (ii) overcome the commonplaces in multicultural reader design regarding cultural and linguistic inclusivity of authorship, content and student audience, genre diversity, text sequencing vigor, and intervention authenticity. I adopted Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) Backward Design framework to the (re)design of the Multicultural Reader and illustrate my material development principles in one Sample Section that moves students from the Minimization of difference orientation to the Acceptance of difference orientation.

First, I converted the definition and indicators of intercultural competence emerged from Deardorff’s (2006) study as well as the pedagogical implications from Bennett’s (1986) DMIS into learning outcomes for the Reader to aligning learning outcomes and assessment. Second, I integrated the DMIS into the Reader to align assessment practices and instructional materials. I divided the Reader into four sections correspondent to the five stages of intercultural development on the DMIS, namely(i) from Denial to Defense, (ii) from Defense to Minimization, (iii) from Minimization to Acceptance, and (iv) from Acceptance to Adaptation. I selected, designed, adapted, and sequenced the readings and intervention tasks based on stages and strategies of intercultural progression as highlighted in the DMIS scholarship. In my Sample Section, I also provided guidelines on how instructors can map students’ reflective writings onto the DMIS for both formative and summative evaluation. Finally, my redesign of the Multicultural Reader addresses the limitations in previous multicultural readers. To improve the social representativeness of authorship and content, my Reader showcases exemplary texts written by a diverse author group which foreground contemporary issues in different multicultural societies. Reading instructions do not forward any assumptions about the potential student audience, overcoming the issue of audience misrepresentation. The selected readings also exhibit genre diversity in terms of rhetorical modes and types of sources. Readings and interventions are sequenced based on the DMIS guidelines and projects a progressively complex trajectory of affective, cognitive, and behavioral practices for students’ intellectual growth. Each multicultural reading is augmented with intervention tasks adapted from composition studies and intercultural training scholarship to sharpen students’ academic writing and research skills. My interactive tasks also require students to move past passive reading by activating their reading knowledge into real world cross-cultural encounters and purposefully reflecting on their experiential learning in writing assignments.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • English

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tony Silva

Additional Committee Member 2

Margie Berns

Additional Committee Member 3

Kris Acheson-Clair

Additional Committee Member 4

Bradley Dilger