Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Douglas B. Fisher, PhD; Nancy Frey, PhD; Robert L. Infantino, PhD


children & youth, education, extracurricular programming, informal learning environment, Phenomenology, teachers, ungraded, writing instruction, Young Writer's Camp


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate and describe the teaching of writing in an informal setting through the voices of teachers and students. The intent of this study was to describe the roles of teachers and students in this learning environment and specifically to describe the role of writing response groups in this environment. Research in both writing instruction and informal education suggests that writing instruction is a good contextual match to camp-style informal education. Both informal education and writer's workshop-style writing instruction put the individual and their choices at the center of the experience. VI This phenomenological study used the language of teacher and student participants gathered through the use of open-ended surveys, individual interviews, and focus group discussions in order to describe the experience of individuals at Young Writer's Camp, and to look at these experiences collectively to answer the question, "What really happens at Young Writer's Camp and how does that happen?" By contributing to a greater understanding of the interrelationship between this informal learning environment and the content of writing instruction, this study supports efforts to create more successful opportunities for writing instruction both inside and outside of the traditional English classroom. The results have implications for classroom teachers of writing, as well as schools and extracurricular programming agencies looking for information on how to effectively structure enrichment activities outside the context of the formal classroom.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access