Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Caroline Dadas

Committee Member

Emily Isaacs

Committee Member

Laura Jones


In this study, I interviewed 3 graduates from Kino School, a small, private, alternative school, about their experiences with writing before, during, and after graduation in order to determine how alternative education impacted their writing self-efficacy beliefs. Kino School embraces many of the tenets of free school philosophy, which is centered on democratic learning, self-sufficiency, and student choice. This study explores how free school philosophy impacted these graduates' writing and attitudes toward writing. All three graduates described an overall experience at Kino that left them confident in their writing, expressing high writing self-efficacy beliefs. Kino School's use of creative writing, writing across the curriculum, teacher feedback, peer revision, and collaboration ultimately established writing as enjoyable for these graduates, which resulted in positive associations with writing into college. I discuss what each graduate said on these topics and link it to theory on best practices in the field of Writing Studies. By establishing this connection, I hope to affirm the legitimacy of the free school philosophy, while also highlighting the potential for best practice in the writing classroom in both public and alternative schools.

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