A Critical Writing Pedagogy toward Mental Health: Novice Teachers and Collective Memory Work

Thumbnail Image

Persistent link to this item

View Statistics

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


A Critical Writing Pedagogy toward Mental Health: Novice Teachers and Collective Memory Work

Published Date




Thesis or Dissertation


Trauma studies in education (Dutro & Bien, 2015) emphasize that while teachers and students may experience acute traumatic events, they are also subjected to the ongoing trauma of institutional spaces that attempt to bracket the emotional from the cognitive. This study engages novice teachers in critical writing pedagogy to examine what teaching is doing to teachers. To engage in critical writing pedagogy, novice teachers participated in collective memory work (Haug, 1999) to write and analyze memories from teaching. Critical writing pedagogy is an urgent area of study. Defined as an approach to teaching writing that engages cognitive, sociocultural, and critical orientations (Kline & Kang, 2022), critical writing pedagogy is necessarily evolving and contextualized (Kamler, 2001; Anzaldúa, 1987). This interpretative study (Erickson, 1986) analyzes novice teachers’ engagement with artifacts, collective analysis, and “rewrite questions” to theorize what is possible in a critical writing pedagogy toward mental health. This study is significant because of the way critical writing pedagogy revealed the mental health of the novice teachers to them. Findings demonstrate how artifacts interrupted self-gaslighting, the tendency to minimize or suppress the trauma, pain, or uncertainty (Bendt, 2020). Collective analysis invited introspection, generated consensus, and called out the unreasonable. The outcome of “rewrite questions” is interpreted as a space for addressing discomfort (Kumashiro, 2002) and unsettling emotions such as resentment. Informed by a framework of critical writing pedagogy according to Kamler (2001) and Anzaldúa (1987), this study highlights how relocating the personal and sustaining contradictions with a collective can increase the visibility and accessibility of mental health.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2023. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Timothy Lensmire. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 160 pages.

Related to




Series/Report Number

Funding information

Isbn identifier

Doi identifier

Previously Published Citation

Suggested citation

Schick, Anna. (2023). A Critical Writing Pedagogy toward Mental Health: Novice Teachers and Collective Memory Work. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/258659.

Content distributed via the University Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor. By using these files, users agree to the Terms of Use. Materials in the UDC may contain content that is disturbing and/or harmful. For more information, please see our statement on harmful content in digital repositories.