English, Department of


First Advisor

Robert Brooke

Date of this Version


Document Type



A dissertation presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: English, under the supervision of Professor Robert Brooke, May 1999.


Copyright 1999, the author. Used by permission.


"Education is a fearful enterprise," says teacher and philosopher, Parker Palmer. Student-centered/ processoriented pedagogy asks teachers to step out from behind the relative safety of the teacher mask and to enter the risky arena of learning. For the writing teacher, a special challenge is to help students negotiate the risks inherent in the act of writing and in sharing writing with the "Other."

To prevent fears from dominating our students, teachers must model risk-taking and risk negotiation. In my own teaching, my fears around students' reactions to learning my sexual identity meant that I more often reinforced fears than dispelled them or demonstrated to my students how to negotiate them.