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As recent studies have shown (Ferris, 2014; Reid, Estrem, & Belcheir, 2012), formalized types of pedagogical instruction may be less effective on new instructors than previously thought. In new instructors continuing to form beliefs about responding to student writing, they may rely heavily on knowledge gained from extracurricular sources and prior experiences in shaping their beliefs about feedback. This study aims to examine these informal influences on feedback beliefs on beginning first-year writing instructors. Specifically, this study uses both surveys and interviews with teachers in their first two years of teaching at a single university in the United States to uncover influences on these individuals that result from informal training. The purpose of this study is to then examine how personal experiences, values, or beliefs based in their own experiences as students and writers may affect the beliefs with which instructors respond to their students’ writing in the classroom. This study suggests that informal training is a valuable tool to new teachers in helping to both motivate them to respond and assist them in a more concrete manner than formal training, and it should be taken into account in teacher training.
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