Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2021 Kadiata Diallo. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department

First Advisor

K. Ann Renninger


Voice is power in and outside of the classroom. It is to the detriment of students of color that it has been so understudied. Voice is typically introduced to students in an English Language Arts (ELA) classroom as a set of rules and definitions. Choice, vocabulary, tone, and rhetorical devices are all elements of writing that are cited as crucial in cultivating one’s voice as a writer. However, discussions of voice often ignore contextual influences (e.g., race, class, gender) , and by extension what is at stake for students learning how to articulate themselves, especially students of color. To the extent that there is available information, this thesis explores Black youth’s experiences with voice in the classroom. In my experience and that of those with whom I have discussed it, these students are not introduced to their voice until the college level, from which time they can begin developing it more fully. I argue for supporting voice in writing earlier in students’ development as writers, namely middle school. Supported by a literature review connecting isolated theories on voice, identity, interest, belongingness, and writing principles, this thesis proposes ways in which ELA educators can begin voice development in their writing classrooms. Voice as a writer’s unique form of expression as informed by their grammatical and rhetorical choices, but also by the context under which they are supported to learn how to write. With this definition of voice in mind, I propose practices that range from the writing process to the classroom environment.

Included in

Education Commons