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Additional English Flashcards




"Inventing the University"
Author: David Bartholomae
David Bartholomae, in “Inventing the Univeristy,” shows how students adapt a foreign discourse in their academic writing. In adapting the academic discourse, Bartholomae illustrates how students use “commonplace,” or culturally and conventionally accepted concepts in their writing. Thus, these “commonplaces are the ‘controlling ideas’ of our composition textbooks, textbooks that not only insist on a set form for expository writing but a set view of public life” (Bartholomae 627). Not only is teaching writing a “set form for expository writing,” but it insists on a particular view of public life that is in alignment with a particular discourse. Bartholomae goes on to say that the writer loses “himself in the discourse of his readers.” This new academic discourse does not describe the world, “but a way of talking about the world, a way of talking that determines the use of examples, the possible conclusions, acceptable commonplaces, and key words for an essay” (Bartholomae 627). In adapting a new discourse from an institution, the student, perhaps examines a world—or reality—not fully through his or her own understanding, but in the language of the taught discourse, and in a manner that “determines” which examples, conclusions and commonplaces are acceptable. He goes on to argue that the "better" writing are from writers that work against a conventional point of view and these commonplaces. He uses two essays on Jazz to illustrate how one works against convention, "placing himself in the context of what has been said and what might be said" and thus places himself within a "context of conventional discourse about the discourse" and refutes it. He has a formula for this writing: "most people think..." but "I think..." He concludes that the "more successful writers set themselves in their essays against what they defined as some more naive way of talking about their subject" which is "privilege enabled writing." ("By trading in one set of commonplaces at the expense of another, they could win themselves status as members of what is taken to be some more privileged group")

The last part of the essay discusses "Basic writers." He defines basic writers as showing the "presence of sentence-level error...This approach to problems of basic writers ignores the degree to which error is less often a constant feature than a marker in the development of a writer. A student who can write a reasonably correct narrative may fall to pieces when faced with a more unfamiliar assignment." Bartholomea discusses two essays, "White Shoes" and "Clay Model" to show that even though the "White Shoes" essay has fewer sentence errors, the paper stays within a "safe, familiar territory." Whereas the "Model Clay" essay, although has many more errors, is better prepared for education. He reasons that the "syntactic difficulties appear to be the result of the writer's attempt to use an unusual vocabulary and to extend his sentences beyond the boundaries of what would have been 'normal' in his speech or writing." Unlike the "White Shoes" author, this writer shows his willingness to work within new discourses even if he produces more sentence-level errors, and thus will be better abled to face new and foreign discourses in education.
Aristotelian Theory
Truth/Knowledge: Truth is known through mind operations of sense data and deductive reasoning. Truth is pre-existing and located in the rational operation of the mind. Deductive/Syllogistic (form of reasoning to produce a conclusion from two given propositions)

Writer: Discover truth through the process of the mind, and reason. Exalts writer, but circumscribes their effort by its emphasis on the rational.

Reality: Known and communicated with language (unproblematic). The world exists independently of the observer and is knowable through sense impressions.

Audience: Finds the means necessary to persuade the audience of truth, uncomplicated (It is what it is) Audience: no real role except to agree.

Language: Inventional devices the speaker uses in the argument: rational, emotional, and ethical.
Relies on language as referential and having denotations. “Available means” arrangement does not matter b/c truth is objective

Goal: Find the means necessary to persuade the audience of truth.
Current Traditional Rhetoric Theory (Positivists)
Dominates meta-writing today.

Truth/Knowledge: Knowledge is also founded on the correspondence between sense and mind, but discovered by through inductive methods. Truth is pre-existing, located in the correct perception of reality. Truth discovered "outside rhetorical enterprise" through scientific method.

Writer: Writer must be as objective as possible to discover truth. Shed personal and social concerns to un-obstruct perception of reality. (also audience)

Reality: Does not rely on the operation of the mind, but on the senses of the world to discover truth ("The world surrenders truth to anyone who observes it properly")

Audience: Adapt discourse to the audience. Audience must be objective. Reproduce argument in the mind of the Audience.

Language: Also relies on language being referential, focuses on developing skill in arrangement and style: understanding, description, narration, oratory.
Platonic Theory (Expressavists)
Truth/Knowledge: Truth not based on senses or material world, but discovered through internal apprehension and a “private vision of the world” (intuition). Truth can be learned, but not taught. Truth is pre-existing, and lies within the individual.

Writer: Writing is personal, we consult our private vision of truth as we write.

Reality: The material world is always in flux and unreliable.

Audience: Dialectic: dialogue with each other to “correct error” but not personally involved. Error is in-authenticity not digging enough for your authentic self.

Language: Reliance on metaphor. Language can only deal in the realm of error since truth is incommunicable. Avoid Imitation.
New Rhetoric Theory
Ann Bertoff and David Bartholomae are proponents of New Rhetoric.

Truth/Knowledge: Truth is dynamic and dialectical: the result of a process involving the interaction of opposing elements. Truth is something we create. Reliance on metaphor to tell truth.

Writer: We are interpreters of experience that organizes and structures truth. “Creator of meaning”

Reality: Every component operates in relation to each other. Reality is created by perceiving the world in our own particularities.

Audience: Truths are operative only within a given universe of discourse, and this universe is shaped by all of these elements, including the audience. Interaction with audience changes your truth.

Language: Center between individual and world. Language embodies and generates truth. Language is prior to truth.
Four elements to Composition Rhetoric
Writer, Reality, Audience, Language
"Pedagogy of the Oppressed"
Author: Paulo Freire

Banking Model: students are empty vessels to be filled with knowledge, teacher fills, students have no authority, creating automatons, no power, don't change circumstances in life.

Problem-Posing education: problematize accepted issues to raise consciousness. "Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with student-teachers. The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teachers, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow."

--teleological: "Problem-posing education affirms men and women as beings in the process of becoming--as unfinished, uncompleted beings in and with a likewise unfinished reality." They must adopt "a concept of women and men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent on the world." The dialogue between student and teacher unveils reality.


"The students, alienated like the slave in the Hegelian dialectic, accept their ignorance as justifying the teacher's existence--but, unlike the slave, they never discover that they educate the teacher."

"Based on a mechanistic, static, naturalistic, specialized, view of consciousness, it transforms students into receiving objects. It attempts to control thinking and action, leads women and men to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power."

"Authentic liberation--the process of humanization--is not another deposit to be made in men. Liberation is praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it. Those truly committed to the cause of liberation can accept neither the mechanistic concept of consciousness as an empty vessel to be filled, nor the use of banking methods of domination in the name of liberation."

"The students--no longer docile listeners--are now critical co-investigators in dialogue with the teacher"

"Whereas banking education anesthetizes and inhibits creative power, problem-posing education involves a constant unveiling of reality. The former attempts to maintain the submersion of consciousness; the latter strives for the emergence of consciousness and critical intervention in reality."

"In problem-posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation."

"Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects."

"No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so. Attempting to be more human, individualistically, leads to having more, egotistically, a form of dehumanization."
"A Teaching Subject"
Author: Joseph Harris

Chapter One: Growth

History of Changes in English:
• 1966-Dartmouth Seminar organized by the Modern Language Association, National Council of Teachers of English, and the British National Association of Teachers of English.
o Define English as a school subject
o Outline ways it might best be taught
o No agreement reached on theory or practice
o Shifted from skills and knowledge to growth

• Legitimation Crisis
o British - saw themselves as teachers
o Americans - saw themselves as scholars

• 1959 - Project English at Woods Hold Conference (PE)
o "The scholar discovers the structure of his subject; the teacher transmits some version of that structure to the student."
o 2 step theory to Education
- First define substance and method
- Second look for process to impart the substance (6).
o Make goals of teaching more disciplinary and less general (6)

• Basic Issues Conference (BIG)
o Call to reconceptualize English as a "fundamental liberal discipline" (6).

• 1965 Report: Freedom and Discipline in English (FDE)
o Defined English program as the "study of Language, Literature, and Composition".

• PE, BIC, and FDE had consensus over "civilizing value" of literature and need to formalize its study (7).
o This was attacked at Dartmouth

• Renewed interest in personal and expressive forms of talk and writing (8).

• Dartmouth: Two conflicting views of English between British and Americans
o Americans: forms of standard written English could and ought to be taught.
o British: felt that was of marginal concern and should not be the focus of teaching at any level (11).
o Withdrew into separate camps.
o "Growth theorists failed to challenge the mainstream thinking and thus helped assure their own marginalizing" (14).
o "They did not so much argue against the scholars' view of English as to say they were no interested in it."
o Growth theorists believed the student would develop their own style and control in writing on their own - teachers and school should get out of the way of the students' personal growth.

Chapter Two: Voice (adapted from Andreas’s original wiki post)

In chapter two of his book “Teaching in Writing” Joseph Harris gives his view on the idea of voice in writing. He starts off giving examples of two classroom situations to show the different ways writing can be dealt with.

In the first classroom, the students are supposed to look at the writing of the student with knowledge of what the student intended to say. This approach “links writing closely to speech” (24), and focuses on what the writer meant to say, not what the text actually says.

In the second classroom, the students focus relies on the text itself, as the peer editors don’t even know who wrote the text, let alone the ideas the writer had, when he or she composed the writing. This puts the focus more on the phrasings and stylistic elements of the text.

According to Harris, both those ways of dealing with writing allow the reader to find a writer’s voice in the text at hand; in the first instance through the writer’s thoughts directly, in the second one through the way his writing is shaped.

Harris also states that “what we need to do […] is to make students more aware of how they can work not only within but against the constraints of a given discourse”.

The idea of being creative and unique within the boundaries of a genre is often not taught in the classroom. Harris comes back to this discussion when he presents Coles’ findings in “The Plural I”.

He wants his students to see they have written pieces that were for the most part indistinguishable from one another, which allowed him as he moved from one to the next to feel he was reading the same generic them. Voice thus becomes that quality of a writer’s work which resists such easy kinds of appropriation, that somehow marks a phrasing or sentence as the writer’s own. (38)

Another interesting point Harris makes is that many teaching methods have “urged students to find their own voices (at least in part) through reading and imitating the poems, stories, and essays of others” (28).

Harris also brings up Elbow’s idea of “group work in writing classrooms” (31). He mentions that readers in Elbow’s workshops only have to provide their feelings about the text, not elaborate on their understanding of the writing. The writers only need to deal with the questions that seem useful or interesting to them. According to Harris, Elbow’s workshops thus try to help the writer reflect on their own feelings rather than to make a text cater to the feelings and expectations of others. This seems like an interesting idea of helping students find their own voice, and put their actual feelings into writing, rather than writing to please an expected audience.

Harris contrasts the ideas of Elbow and Bartholomae. He argues that in Elbow’s view, the restrictions of a certain genre – such as academic writing or a critical discourse – might distract or prevent the writer from putting into words what he or she really wants to say, and that common language might be the better way to accomplish that. On the other hand he explains Bartholomae’s idea that the “self [is] formed (in large part) through the pressures of various social discourses and institutions” (42).

Chapter Three – Process

• 1970’s – 1980’s – Growing interest in composing process resulted in a new research agenda
• It ended up in being more about research and theory rather than about teaching
• Resulted in: “process people” (yeah!) vs. “current-traditionalists” (boo!)
• Objective: Teach writing as “process not product”
• Two scholars most associated with process movement 1) Janet Emig and 2) Linda Flower
• Emig – 1967 – used ‘composing aloud’ while observing 8 students
o Emphasized feeling and introspection
o Two types of writers
• Mozartians – compose with little effort
• Beethovians – agonize over composing
o Harris believe Emig’s preconceived notions about ‘writing process’ lead her to discount Mozartian writers
• Flower used think-aloud to describe what experienced writers do when they write
o Use results to teach students how to imitate the experienced writer
o Problem is expectation of student to produce the ideal text rather that self discovery
o She aspired to tech student to write “reader friendly”
o Ends up with “prose meant less to persuade than to simply sound persuasive.
• Problem with both Emig and Flower is that they have an idea of the text they want and they work backwards to achieve their desired end. Once they have the text they stop.
• Harris believes you need to go beyond the text
• 1980’s literacy project in Pittsburg – Flower worked with a diverse community to write about their concerns

Chapter Four – Error

• Goals of the chapter:
o “To work through what might actually be at stake in this argument over error and socialization, to sort out what competing views of the aims and practices of teaching” (77).
o “To try to understand why this particular issue in teaching, more than any other than I know of, seems to spark such strong feeling” (77).

• Mina Shaughnessy’s 1977 Errors and Expectations:
o A book about teaching “basic” or underprepared college writers (77).
o Highly revered in the composition world
o Criticized for a “relentless focus on the teaching of grammar” (77); the sample lesson plan in the book focuses wholly on correctness (81).
o Politically liberal, but intellectually conservative (78).
o “[Errors and Expectations] says that basic writers can also do the kind of work that mainstream students have long been expected to do; it doesn’t suggest this work be changed in any significant ways” (79)
o Created awareness and a sense of urgency in teaching underdeveloped and basic writers (79).

• Geneva Smitherman’s 1977 Talkin and Testifyin:
o Smitherman had a strong influence in the framing of the 1974 CCCC statement on “Students’ Right to their Own Language” (82).
o Emphasis on “forming something to say and working to say it well” – very different than Shaughnessy’s approach (82).

• Mike Rose’s 1989 Lives on the Boundary:
o Widely accepted and acclaimed
o Aligns with Shaughnessy, except that he feels that strict rules and dull learning will “dim [students’] ambitions and limit their chances of success” (83).
o Students need to become engaged in learning, excited about the books, writing, and ideas that they are working with (83).

• Idea of the basic writing course similar to a graduate seminar where “students read, write, and talk together about a particular intellectual issue over the course of the term” presented by Bartholomae and Petrosky (84).

• Struggle between people inside of composition studies and people outside composition studies – those outside want teachers to “just do something about it” (85).

• Joseph Williams’s 1981 “The Phenomenology of Error”:
o Shows that the writers of grammar books make the same mistakes that they decry (87).
o Thinks that we should focus on the mistakes that matter (87).

• Mid-1980’s, many writing teachers argued that their job was to “initiate students into the working of the academic discourse community, to learn the specific conventions of college writing” (88).

• Joseph Harris’s thoughts, “I believe we need to be wary of an increasingly narrow professionalization of knowledge – and thus that we should resist equating the ‘critical’ and the ‘academic’” (90).

Chapter Five - Community

How Do We Describe Community?

•Many times we identify a community through labels we attribute to them. Interestingly enough, many times members of this community may not even know such labels exist for them. (Teaching 98)

•Raymond Williams’ Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society points out that ‘Community,’ as a term, “never seems to be used unfavourably.” (98)

•David Bartholomae and Patricia Bizzell both have put significant study into what community is.

•Williams’ full definition:
Community can be the warmly persuasive word to describe an existing set of relationships, or the warmly persuasive word to describe an alternate set of relationships.
What is most important, perhaps, is that unlike all other terms of social organization (sate, nation, society, etc.)_ it seems never to be used unfavourably, and never to be given any positive opposing or distinguishing term. (Keywords 66)

Us Versus Them?

•One issue that Harris brings up is how we are constantly being pressured into one community or another.

•A common example of ‘opposing’ communities is “academic discourse” vs. whatever students were involved in before being “initiated” to academic discourse communities. (Teaching 101)

•We can see an example of this with Bartholomae’s "Inventing the University," in which Bartholomae focuses on students being required to learn the language of the academic discourse community.

Assumptions About Academic Discourse Community

•“While the members of an ‘academic discourse community’ may not meet each other very often, they are presumed to think much like one another (and thus also much unlike many of the people they deal with everyday: students, neighbors, coworkers in other disciplines, and so on. . . we (discourse communities) are given like-mindedness.” (102)

Harris’ Arguments

•Harris believes that in a writer there should be an “unwillingness to reduce his or her options to a simple either/or choice” meaning that a writer should not limit themselves to a single discourse community but should have the ability to agree as well as counter each communities' “beliefs and practices” that can “conflict as well as align” (105).

•Most people are inherently part of the academic discourse community regardless since schooling is part of them growing up.

•The Arguement of Stanley Fish:
“ One does not first decide to act as a member of one community rather than some other, and then attempt to conform to its (rather than some other’s) set of beliefs and practices. Rather, one is always simultaneously a part of several discourses, several communities” (105-106)

•In other words communities are not always a like-minded collective, rather, they should all have similar interests but still be free for their life’s experiences to generate discussion and further learning amongst its members.

Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing
•An example Harris uses involving a group of undergraduate students writing about the above mentioned film, dealing with hard subjects such as police brutality and racism.

•Instead of focusing on what students agreed on, Harris instead took three different arguments presented in students' papers and divided the class into groups meant to find support for just one particular argument.

•Not surprisingly, plenty of proof was discovered concerning each argument and helped lead to discussion instead of simply picking a conclusion and moving on. This shows how similarly interested individuals are still able to bring their own feelings to the community and generate discussion.
The Rhetoric (books I and II)
Author: Aristotle

Mostly concerned that you understand the "soul" of your audience. Believes Pathos is manipulative and arguments should appeal to logos mostly. Maxims: saying commonplace statements, short statements about general truth or rule of conduct. Rhetoric and dialectic interplay towards a synthesis. Must move beyond stasis to be rhetorical. Rhetoric is the "available means of persuasion" (ethos, logos, pathos). Look at an argument and break up these elements so you'll be less susceptible to bad arguments.

Enthymeme and Syllogism: Syllogism is a three part argument (if x, then y = z) Major premise and minor premise. Enthymemes skip the syllogism steps and makes the audience make connections, put trust in audience.


"Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion...Rhetoric we look upon as the power of observing the means of persuasion on almost any subject presented to us."

Ethos/Pathos/Logos or "Modes of persuasion"--"The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second n putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of speech itself."

Credibility/ethos: "Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and more readily than others."

Pathos: "persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions"

Logos: "Persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question"

Syllogism/Enthymeme: "Just as in dialectic there is induction on the one hand and syllogism or apparent syllogism on the other, so it is in rhetoric. The example is an induction, the enthymeme is a syllogism, and the apparent enthymeme is an apparent syllogism"

Rhetorical Situation: "Rhetoric falls into three divisions, determined by the three classes of listeners to speeches...speaker, subject, and person addressed"

Three divisions of oratory: political (urges us either to do or not to do something), forensic (attacks or defends someone), and ceremonial (either praises or censures somebody).

Example vs. Enthymeme--two kinds of oratory (Maxim is part of enthymeme). "We will first treat of argument by Example, for it has the nature of induction, which is the foundation of reasoning. This form of argument has two varieties; one consisting in the mention of actual past facts, the other in the invention of facts by the speaker. Of the latter, again, there are two varieties, the illustrative parallel and the fable" Fables are easier to invent that finding past parallels in actual events.

Maxims: short statement about general truth or rule of conduct. Example of Maxim: "never should any man whose wits are sound have his sons taught more wisdom than their fellows" With explanation (it makes them idle and therewith they earn ill-will and jealousy throughout the city) then it becomes an Enthymeme.

"One great advantage of Maxims to a speaker is due to the want of intelligence in his hearers, who love to hear him succeed in expressing as a universal truth the opinions which they hold themselves about particular cases"

"The orator has therefore to guess the subjects on which his hearers really hold views already, and what those views are, and then must express, as general truths, these same views on these same subjects. This is one advantage of maxims. There is another which is more important--it invests a speech with moral character. There is moral character in every speech in which the moral purpose is conspicuous: And maxims always produce this effect because the utterance of them amounts to a general declaration of moral principles"

Two kinds of Enthymemes: demonstrative--formed by the conjunction of compatible propositions. refutative--by the conjunction of incompatible propositions.

Lines of Proof: opposites, key-words, correlative ideas, a fortiori (a quality does not in fact exist where it is more likely to exist, it clearly does not exist where it is less likely), consideration of time, apply to other speaker what he has said against yourself, defining your terms, logical division, induction... etc.

"The refutative Enthymeme has greater reputation than the demonstrative, because within a small space it works out two opposing arguments, and arguments put side by side are clearer to the audience"
Is Teaching Still Possible?
Ann E. Berthoff; 1984

Starts with a quote from Kenneth Burke on how “how thinking which does not include thinkging about thinking is merely problem solving, an activity carried out very well by trouts.” Human beings have a species-specific ability to be critical of criticism, which is the “ground of hope” in comp.

The hazards of developmental models and the positivist views of language:
Currently we have a pedagogy of exhortation:
We exhort; we do not instruct.

We must shift to a pedagogy of knowing (borrowed from Friere): Until the mind of the learned is engaged, no meaning will be made, no knowledge can be won. No more rote learning. Positivists views of language, in which language is a “communication medium” are not helpful. Language is the muffin tin that we pour meaning into. We must see language as a means of making meaning, thus it can only be studied in terms of non-empirical data—with language—and interpreting the interdependencies of meaning. There is no raw data, or context free evaluation. Researchers cannot account for meaning. She tries to shift to researching “discourse analysis”: the study of information management, thematic structure, sentence rules, and cohesion.

How alternate views of language and learning can help us invent a pedagogy that views reading and writing as interpretation and the making of meaning:

The challenge to empirical design is not to reduce meaning or to try to eliminate it, but to control language so that there are not too many meanings at a time, so students are conscious of their minds in action, can develop their language by means of exercising deliberate choice.

She connects this to Friere’s conscientization, Burke’s “intepretation of our interpretations.”

As teachers, we have to question the research of the past; if we let our practice be guided by what we have been told has already been validated by empirical data, we will get what we have gotten: a conception of learning as contingent on development in a straightforward, linear fashion; of meaning as a one-directional, one-dimensional attirubute.

Now, the positive bit:

“Astraction is natural, normal: it is the way we make sense of the world in pereception, in dreaming, in allk expressive acts. We have to show students how to reclaim their imagination so that :the prime agent of all human perception” can be for them a living model of what they do when they write. We must show our students how to use what they already do so they can learn how to generalize:

The process: Move from abstraction in non-discursive modes, to discursive abstraction, to generalization.

Do not confuse the message with the signal (semiotics). Envision a triangle, with “symbol” at the southwest corner, “interpretant” at the top, and “object on the remaining corner. A dotted line seperates the symbol from the object, meaning it must travel through the interpreant before there is meaning (the triadic interpreation of the sign). The triadic conception of the sign, the symbol-user, the knower, the learner is integral to the process of meaning making. The triangle serves as an emblem for a pedagogy of knowing.

We start with meaning, not language. The chief hazard of a developmental model of teaching is that it sanctions the fallacy that what comes first is simple, not complex, and what comes after is a bigger version of a little beginning.

Perception is non-discursive abstraction: the questioning of perceptions is the beginning of generalizations,. Students can discover what they are already thinking. Our assignments, she insists, should not be mere topics; instead, they should make students aware of their own thinking and become opportunities for them to discover their minds in action. In other words, writing is not a formula or a series of exercises that can be drilled and corrected; it is an unruly activity at the center of the educational process.

Language is a means of naming the world: “We teachers will assure that language is continually exercised to name and establish likes and differents so that by sorting and gathering, students will learn to define: they will learn to abstract in the discursive mode; they will learn to generalize, They will thus be able to think abstractly because they will be learning how meanings make further meaning possible, how form finds further form. And we will, in our pedagogy of knowing, be giving our students back their language so that they can reclaim it as an instrument for controlling their becoming.
“A Curious Triangle and the Double-Entry Notebook; or, How Theory Can Help us Teach Reading and Writing”
In her essay “A Curious Triangle and the Double-Entry Notebook; or, How Theory Can Help Us Teach Reading and Writing,” Ann E. Berthoff suggests that criticism should be developed as a method in the composition classroom; it should be considered a path that leads to the realization of process and its relationship to reading and writing. As Berthoff states, “The essential significance of criticism in the classroom is that it enables us to teach reading for meaning and writing as a way of making meaning” (46). When students enhance critical thinking skills, language becomes an “instrument” giving insight into the varied ways of interpreting something rather than an arbitrary groups of signifiers. Berthoff suggests a triangle model diagramming Word, Reference, and Referent as its three points. This model can be used as a tool to increase our awareness of how meaning is constructed from part to whole. Berthoff posits that students can keep a “double-entry notebook”, where they map out a “continuing audit of meaning.” On the right side of the notebook, students detail key points, images, and quotations based on the text in question; on the left side, students provide commentaries and revisions on their notes, creating what Berthoff dubs a “dialogue” between pages (48). This offers an artifact of the critical thinking process, a personalized record of looking deconstructively at texts. Berthoff’s ideas can be helpful in regarding to approaches to teaching composition. Students must be taught to deconstruct how meaning is made through reading for meaning (45). We can look at Berthoff’s double-entry notebook as a possible element of the writing process; brainstorming and analyzing our thought in written form can create early patterns of the composing process. In addition, looking at the author’s version of the triangle is an interesting jumping off point for looking at texts; in the composition curriculum, it is essential that students understand how meaning is created – not just through language as signifier – but also through awareness of audience, purpose, author, and the rhetorical appeals. Students can gain familiarity with these mechanisms of effective writing, and then, hopefully through an organic process achieved through textual analysis, journaling, writing practice, and reading model texts by skilled authors, begin to utilize these components in their own work. I often have used small group discussion to analyze texts rhetorically and how the author’s are creating meaning.
The Phaedrus
written by Plato, is a dialogue between Plato's main protagonist, Socrates, and Phaedrus, an interlocutor in several dialogues. The Phaedrus was presumably composed around 370 BC.

Socrates runs into Phaedrus on the outskirts of Athens.Phaedrus has just come from the home of Epicrates of Athens, where Lysias, son of Cephalus, has given a speech on love. Socrates, stating that he is "sick with passion for hearing speeches", walks into the countryside with Phaedrus hoping that Phaedrus will repeat the speech. They sit by a stream under a plane tree and a chaste tree, and the rest of the dialogue consists of oration and discussion.


The dialogue consists of a series of three speeches on the topic of love that serve as a metaphor for the discussion of the proper use of rhetoric. They encompass discussions of the soul, madness, divine inspiration, and the practice and mastery of an art.
As they walk out into the countryside, Socrates tries to convince Phaedrus to repeat the speech of Lysias which he has just heard. Phaedrus makes several excuses, but Socrates suspects strongly that Phaedrus has a copy of the speech with him. Saying that while Lysias is present, he would never allow himself to be used as a training partner for Phaedrus to practice his own speech making on, he asks Phaedrus to expose what he is holding under his cloak. Phaedrus gives in and agrees to perform Lysias' speech.

Lysias' speech
Phaedrus and Socrates walk through a stream and find a seat in the shade, and Phaedrus commences to repeat Lysias' speech. Beginning with "You understand, then, my situation: I've told you how good it would be for us in my opinion, if this worked out", the speech proceeds to explain all the reasons why it is better to give your favor to a non-lover rather than a true lover. Friendship with a non-lover, he says, demonstrates objectivity and prudence; it doesn't create gossip when you are seen together; it doesn't involve jealousy; and it allows for a much larger pool of possible partners. You will not be giving your favor to someone who is "more sick than sound in the head" and is not thinking straight, overcome by love. He explains that it is best to give your favor to one who can best return it, rather than one who needs it most. He concludes by stating that he thinks the speech is long enough, and the listener is welcome to ask any questions if something has been left out.
Socrates, attempting to flatter Phaedrus, responds that he is in ecstasy and that it is all Phaedrus' doing. Socrates comments that as the speech seemed to make Phaedrus radiant, he is sure that Phaedrus understands these things better than he does himself, and that he cannot help follow Phaedrus' lead into his Bacchic frenzy. Phaedrus picks up on Socrates' subtle sarcasm and asks Socrates not to joke.

Socrates retorts that he is still in awe, and claims to be able to make an even better speech than Lysias on the same subject.

After Phaedrus concedes that this speech was certainly better than any Lysias could compose, they begin a discussion of the nature and uses of rhetoric itself. After showing that speech making itself isn't something reproachful, and that what is truly shameful is to engage in speaking or writing shamefully or badly, Socrates asks what distinguishes good from bad writing, and they take this up.[Note 38]
Phaedrus claims that to be a good speechmaker, one does not need to know the truth of what he is speaking on, but rather how to properly persuade, persuasion being the purpose of speechmaking and oration. Socrates first objects that an orator who does not know bad from good will, in Phaedrus's words, harvest "a crop of really poor quality". Yet Socrates does not dismiss the art of speechmaking. Rather, he says, it may be that even one who knew the truth could not produce conviction without knowing the art of persuasion; on the other hand, "As the Spartan said, there is no genuine art of speaking without a grasp of the truth, and there never will be".

To acquire the art of rhetoric, then, one must make systematic divisions between two different kinds of things: one sort, like "iron" and "silver", suggests the same to all listeners; the other sort, such as "good" or "justice", lead people in different directions. Lysias failed to make this distinction, and accordingly, failed to even define what "love" itself is in the beginning; the rest of his speech appears thrown together at random, and is, on the whole, very poorly constructed. Socrates then goes on to say, Every speech must be put together like a living creature, with a body of its own; it must be neither without head nor without legs; and it must have a middle and extremities that are fitting both to one another and to the whole work. Socrates's speech, on the other hand, starts with a thesis and proceeds to make divisions accordingly, finding divine love, and setting it out as the greatest of goods. And yet, they agree, the art of making these divisions is dialectic, not rhetoric, and it must be seen what part of rhetoric may have been left out.

When Socrates and Phaedrus proceed to recount the various tools of speechmaking as written down by the great orators of the past, starting with the "Preamble" and the "Statement Facts" and concluding with the "Recapitulation", Socrates states that the fabric seems a little threadbare. He goes on to compare one with only knowledge of these tools to a doctor who knows how to raise and lower a body's temperature but does not know when it is good or bad to do so, stating that one who has simply read a book or came across some potions knows nothing of the art. One who knows how to compose the longest passages on trivial topics or the briefest passages on topics of great importance is similar, when he claims that to teach this is to impart the knowledge of composing tragedies; if one were to claim to have mastered harmony after learning the lowest and highest notes on the lyre, a musician would say that this knowledge is what one must learn before one masters harmony, but it is not the knowledge of harmony itself. his, then, is what must be said to those who attempt to teach the art of rhetoric through "Preambles" and "Recapitulations"; they are ignorant of dialectic, and teach only what is necessary to learn as preliminaries. They go on to discuss what is good or bad in writing. Socrates tells a brief legend, critically commenting on the gift of writing from the Egyptian god Theuth to King Thamus, who was to disperse Theuth's gifts to the people of Egypt. After Theuth remarks on his discovery of writing as a remedy for the memory, Thamus responds that its true effects are likely to be the opposite; it is a remedy for reminding, not remembering, he says, with the appearance but not the reality of wisdom. Future generations will hear much without being properly taught, and will appear wise but not be so, making them difficult to get along with.

No written instructions for an art can yield results clear or certain, Socrates states, but rather can only remind those that already know what writing is about. Furthermore, writings are silent; they cannot speak, answer questions, or come to their own defense.

Accordingly, the legitimate sister of this is, in fact, dialectic; it is the living, breathing discourse of one who knows, of which the written word can only be called an image. The one who knows uses the art of dialectic rather than writing:
The dialectician chooses a proper soul and plants and sows within it discourse accompanied by knowledge- discourse capable of helping itself as well as the man who planted it, which is not barren but produces a seed from which more discourse grows in the character of others. Such discourse makes the seed forever immortal and renders the man who has it happy as any human being can be.

Rhetoric, philosophy, and art
The Phaedrus also gives us much in the way of explaining how art should be practiced. The discussion of rhetoric, the proper practice of which is found to actually be philosophy, has many similarities with Socrates's role as a "midwife of the soul" in the Theaetetus; the dialectician, as described, is particularly resonant. To practice the art, one must have a grasp of the truth and a detailed understanding of the soul in order to properly persuade. Moreover, one must have an idea of what is good or bad for the soul and, as a result, know what the soul should be persuaded towards. To have mastered the tools of an art is not to have mastered the art itself, but only its preliminaries. This is much like the person who claims to have mastered harmony after learning the highest and lowest notes of the lyre. To practice an art, one must know what that art is for and what it can help one achieve.
The role of divine inspiration in philosophy must also be considered; the philosopher is struck with the fourth kind of madness, that of love, and it is this divine inspiration that leads him and his beloved towards the good- but only when tempered with self-control.
Writing, examined separately but ultimately equated with philosophy and rhetoric, is somewhat deprecated; it is stated that writing can do little but remind those who already know, somewhat reminiscent of the archetypical Zen master's admonishment that "those who know, know". Unlike dialectic and rhetoric, writing cannot be tailored to specific situations or students; the writer does not have the luxury of examining his reader's soul in order to determine the proper way to persuade. When attacked it cannot defend itself, and is unable to answer questions or refute criticism. As such, the philosopher uses writing "for the sake of amusing himself" and other similar things rather than for teaching others. A writer, then, is only a philosopher when he can himself argue that his writing is of little worth, among other requirements.
This final critique of writing with which the dialogue concludes seems to be one of the more interesting facets of the conversation for those who seek to interpret Plato in general; Plato, of course, comes down to us through his numerous written works, and philosophy today is concerned almost purely with the reading and writing of written texts. It seems proper to recall that Plato's ever-present protagonist and ideal man, Socrates, fits Plato's description of the dialectician perfectly, and never wrote a thing.
There is an echo of this point of view in Plato's Seventh Epistle (Letter), wherein Plato says not to write down things of importance.
Institutes of Oratory

Due to a repressive authoritarian government, the role of the orator had changed since Cicero's day. Now, they were more concerned with pleading cases than anything else. Into this time, Quintilian attempted to interject some of the idealism of an earlier time. “Political oratory was dead, and everyone in Rome knew it was dead; but Quintilian deliberately chooses the oratory of a past generation as his educational ideal.”

Quintilian references many authors in the Institutio Oratoria before providing his own definition of rhetoric (Quintilian 10.1.3). His rhetoric is chiefly defined by Cato the Elder’s vir bonus, dicendi peritus, which translates to the “the good man speaking well” (Quintilian 12.1.1). Later on, he states: “I should like the orator I am training to be a sort of Roman Wise Man” (Quintilian 12.2.7). Quintilian also “insists that his ideal orator is no philosopher because the philosopher does not take as a duty participation in civic life; this is constitutive of Quintilian's (and Isocrates' and Cicero's) ideal orator" (Walzer, 26). Though he calls for imitation, he also urges the orator to use this knowledge to inspire his own original invention.

Book I : Boys are not put under the professor of rhetoric early enough; reasons why they should begin to receive instruction from him at an early age; The professions of the grammarisn and teacher or rhet should be in some degree united.

Chapter II: Choice of teacher. How the teacher should conduct himself toward his pupils; how the pupils should behave.

In the first two books, Quintilian focuses on the early education of the would-be orator, including various subjects he should be skilled in, such as reading and composition. “He offers us indeed not so much a theory as a curriculum. For instance in ch. iv of Book I he discusses certain letters, the derivation of words, and parts of speech; in ch. v, the necessity of correctness in speaking and writing, choice of words, barbarisms, aspiration, accent, solecisms, figures of speech, foreign words, and compound words; in ch. vi, analogy, and in ch. viii, orthography” (Laing). Regarding the age at which the orator’s training should begin, Quintilian refers to the views of Hesiod and Eratosthenes, but accepts Chrysippus’ view that a child’s life should never be without education (Quintilian 1.1.15-19).
Quintilian sees these formative years as the most critical to the education of an orator: “The infancy of the mind is as important as the infancy of the body and needs as much attention” (Quintilian 1.1.1-24). The role of the orator’s nurse is greatly emphasized as “it is she that the boy will hear first, [and] it is her words that he will imitate” (Laing, 519). Parents play an equally important role, their education being a determining factor in the orator’s progress. Thirdly, the paedagogus, (the slave who attends the young orator) “must be well educated and ready at all times to correct errors in grammar” (Laing, 520). Finally, Quintilian stresses that the orator should be educated by “the most accomplished teacher” (1.1.22). This ideal teacher is moral and disciplined. He should adopt the feeling of a parent toward the students and have no vices. He should no be angry but patient and fond. He should respond readily to questions; he should praise his students but not overpraise them.
In Book II, Quintilian defines rhetoric as an art, while classifying the three types of arts: theoretical, practical, and productive (2.17-18). He concludes that rhetoric partakes of all three categories, but associates it most strongly with the practical (2.18.1-5). Rhetoric is also divided into three categories: (1) art, (2) artist, and (3) work (2.14.5). Quintilian then moves into an exploration of rhetoric's nature and virtue, following it with a comparison of oratory and philosophy (2.19-21). It should also be noted that Quintilian uses these two terms, rhetoric and oratory, interchangeably (see Book II).

After listing about 2 dozen different definietions, Quintilian defines rhetoric as the "sicence of speaking well". He equates the perfect orator with the good man, and says that the good man should be exceptional in both eloquence and moral attributes. Rehtoric, he says, is noth useful and a virtue. Hence his notion of speaking implies a moral exhortation, not just a pragmatic skill at the service of any cause.
The Philosophy of Rhetoric
Author: I.A. Richards (1936)

Richards defines Rhetoric in two ways: as "how words work in discourse" and as "the study of misunderstanding and its remedies." These definitions summarize two distinctive features of Richards's work: first, his theory that the meaning of words is a function of their interpretation in context and, second his mission to promote better understanding by criticizing impediments to understanding and by creating tools for effective communication.

Distinction between old and new Rhetoric: old--dispute or persuasion new-- language is abstract, ambiguity is inevitable, no one meaning for a word, all depends on context.

--Meaning is dependent on context. Richards gives a lucid explanation of the need for a contextual theory of meaning to combat the "proper meaning superstition"--the belief that words have inherent meaning. The notion of context, which he equates with rhetoric's attention to the effects of discourse on the audience, will become the foundation of a new rhetoric. Richards then repeats the definition of context as the set of associations clinging to a word through experience. Finally, he moves on to the "literary" sense of context, which he calls "the interinanimation of words"...In communication generally, as in literature, meaning depends on the immediate verbal environment; not on dictionary definitions of words. The paradigmatic case of the internianimation of words, for Richards, is metaphor. He offers "the principle of metaphor" as a model of all language. The "tenor" and "vehicle"--the two things compared in a metaphor--mutually limit the range of interpretation. In understanding metaphor, we understand the one by the other, taking only certain characteristics of the vehicle (beauty of the rose, not thorns) because of the tenor (my love). All discourse, Richards argues, works this way. We understand language by context.


"Rhetoric...the study of verbal understanding and misunderstanding"

Two problems he explores: 1-The division of the various aims of discourse, the purposes for which we speak to write; in brief, the functions of language. 2-What is the connection between the mind and the world by which events in the mind mean other events in the world? or What is the relation between the thing and its name?

3 problems:

1-One meaning?: "if a passage means one thing it cannot at the same time mean another and incompatible thing"

2-interplay of words: "we try to isolate the discrete meanings of the words of which [the sentence] is composed"

3-context: "rivalries between different types of context which supply the meaning for a single utterance"

Ambiguity: "But where the old Rhetoric treated ambiguity as a fault in langauge, and hoped to confine or eliminate it, the new Rhetoric sees it as an inevitable consequence of the powers of language and as the indispensable means of most of our most important utterances."

Veil: "Intense preoccupation with the sources of our meaning is disturbing, increasing our sense that our beliefs are a veil and an artificial veil between ourselves and something that otherwise than through a veil we cannot know."

Sentences-Unit of discourse. "But in most prose...the opening words have to wait for those that follow to settle what they shall mean--if indeed that ever gets settled...The intonation of the opening words is likely to be ambiguous; it waits till the utterance is completed for its full interpretation."

No Judgment in Isolation: "I have been leading up--or down, if you like--to an extremely simple and obvious but fundamental remark: that no word can be judged as to whether it is good or bad, correct or incorrect, beautiful or ugly, or anything else that matters to a writer, in isolation."

Explains morphemes but also shows words with similar sounds that do not share meanings (pare, pear, pair): "Why should a group of words with a sound in common have similar meanings unless there was a correspondence of some kind between the sound and the meaning?"

"The meaning of a word on some occasions is quite as much in what it keeps out, or at a distance, as in what it brings in. And on other occasions, the meaning comes from other partly parallel uses whose relevance we can feel, without necessarily being able to state it explicit. But with these last leaps I may seem in danger of making the force of a word, the feeling that no other word could possibly do so well or take its place, a matter whose explanation will drag in the whole of the rest of language."
Lives on the Boundary
Author: Mike Rose (1989)

Rose interweaves personal narrative, rhetorical argumentation and scholarly ruminations in order to show how the underprivileged are marginalized in the American education system. Academia, he argues, labels these students as “remedial” without taking into a account their specific, individual backgrounds; the students, then, internalize this limited self-definition. He posits five barriers that these “outsider” students must overcome to gain entry into the academic insider community:

1. Socioeconomic and Cultural History
Rose identifies that labeling individual students as “remedial” glosses over their specific socioeconomic class status and cultural history that influences their success (or lack thereof) in academia. Students from underprivileged backgrounds can, and will, internalize society’s low expectations of them; which, in turn, forces them to consider themselves permanently defined according to how academia perceives them, and unable to succeed outside of their socioeconomic environment.

2. Dissonance
When students enter into the university their expectations of classes and what they actually encounter in the classroom do not always align; this results in a dissonance that they cannot fully grasp. This dissonance causes the individual to either forsake their own perspective or refuse to enter fully into a discussion with the standard.

3. Academic Discourse
The dissonance between students’ actual experiences and the expectations of the academy can often be the result of their unfamiliarity with the language of the academy. Students encounter “terms and expressions” that they do not understand, resulting in an alienation and “outsider” feeling.

4. Error
A focus on error inhibits the students’ “higher-level cognitive pursuits” such as style and critical analysis. Consequently it also “robs writing of its joy” and discourages students from even trying to write, because it ignores content and critical ability for the sake of being correct.

5. Critical Analysis
Students entering into an academic environment often lack the ability to move from summary to analysis, because they believe, based on past experience, that they have to demonstrate that they understand the material and, consequently, do not critically analyze the material and seek to synthesize the information.

Rose suggests that the educational system needs to adopt a pedagogy that: invites a diverse group of students to participate in the classroom, does not reduce their educational abilities to correcting error, celebrates the diversity of language, and that, ultimately, seeks to bridge the gap between outsiders and insiders.

“At heart, we’ll need a guiding set of principles that do not encourage us to retreat from,
but move us closer to, an understanding of the rich mix of speech and ritual and story
that is America” –Rose 238

In Lives on the Boundary, Mike Rose argues that there exists a group of people who, because of their societal/familial background and outsider status, are at a disadvantage surviving in academic discourse. These students, he argues, largely build their identity based upon how academia defines them. For example, he argues: “You’re defined by your school as ‘slow’; you’re placed in a curriculum that isn’t designed to liberate you but to occupy you, or, if you’re lucky, train you, though the training is for work the society does not esteem” (28). The students placed in the vocational track are defined as “slow” by their school, and thus have no opportunity to change their prescribed fate- a fate which is always devalued by society. Therefore, he argues, we need to change the system; we need to stop assuming that their only value to society rests in a working-class field. He supports this argument by providing detailed examples from his own development within academia.

Rose, begins the book by suggesting that the education system needs to be reformed in order to break down the perceived differences between class levels; however, beginning with the second chapter, he delves into a narrative, and by the end of the third chapter has not yet explicitly defined the relationship between his autobiographical narrative and his argument. Therefore, the relationship between his narrative and his argument is, as of yet, not fully developed. Rose himself argues that he does not “see [his] life as an emblem” (8); but his life, as he tells it, reflects some of the issues that the working class experiences when entering academia. As such, Rose's narrative grounds his argument in personal experience and reader sympathy by providing a background to his argument that he knows extensively and cares for intrinsically.

Rose uses different modes of text to connect with his reader from multimodal perspectives. In the book, he includes disparate stylistic modes such as direct narrative, argumentation, dialogue, song lyrics, allegorized imagery and adopted upper-class ideals. For example, he uses television imagery to demonstrate the startling contrast between “what life would be without illness and dead ends” and the “loneliness and sorrow” (44) that he actually internalizes. This amalgamation of stylistic modes enlightens the reader beyond mere observation; the reader is forced to experience the text in an approximation of how Rose experienced the events. His usage of multimodal perspectives, thus, connects his argument with the reader in a visceral sense.

Notes with Shaughnessy: While I was reading Lives on the Boundary, by Mike Rose one composition theorist shinned through more than any other: Mina Shaughnessy. In fact, Rose addresses Shaughnessy directly in his book and calls her an “inspired teacher” (171). Perhaps Rose admires Shaughnessy because they focus on such similar problems: both Rose and Shaughnessy seem to be responding to a time in academia and English curriculum that solely focused on error and grammatical correctness. Shaughnessy enters into the conversation pleading that since “teachers’ preconceptions about errors are frequently at the center of their misconceptions about BW students, I have no choice but to dwell on errors” (391). Similarly, Rose discovers that “the English curricula that I saw, and the English textbooks particularly, were almost entirely oriented toward grammatical analysis” (109). Both recognize the central role error plays in schools’ curriculums and they note how this emphasis affects students—specifically remedial students or basic writers.
One danger in focusing on error is that it changes how students perceive or define good writing. Shaughnessy explains that “so absolute is the importance of error in the minds of many writers that ‘good writing’ to them means ‘correct writing,’ nothing more” (392). With the myopic attention to error, basic writers assume “good writing” can only be achieved by correctness. Rose identifies the exact same problem: “it teaches them that the most important thing about writing—the very essence of writing—is grammatical correctness, not the communication of something meaningful, or the generative struggle with ideas” (211). Good writing cannot be reduced to an error free paper, but Rose explains that good writing encompasses many aspects such as communication, finding meaning, and a struggling with ideas. However, if curriculums fail to incorporate the vast complexities of what constitutes “good writing,” then the students will fail to recognize any higher cognitive rewards in perusing literacy.
In fact, not only does the focus on error deceive the students’ notion of good writing, it also inhibits their ability in the writing process. Shaughnessy explains how error has become such a large stumbling block to students’ writing processes that they no longer see error as a “mishap” but a “barrier that keeps him no only from writing something in formal English but from having something to write” (394). To these basic writers, errors sink much deeper then topical syntax accidents, but Shaughnessy identifies that a concentration on error actually inhibits ideas. Rose also explains the erroneous assumption that only when error is eradicated, can the writer engage “in higher-level cognitive pursuits: until error is isolated and cleaned up, it will not be possible for students to read and write critically” (141). However, this assumption that error is an inhibitor to “higher-level cognitive pursuits” such as ideas, analysis, and developing style is false, and unfortunately, since students internalize this assumption they begin to believe that in order to communicate effectively their writing must be error free. Rose rightly describes that such beliefs about writing “tremendously restrict the scope of what language use was all about. Such approaches would rob writing of its joy” (141). If students are completely preoccupied with correctness, they will consequently neglect the ideas that are behind their writing and the “joy” of creating knowledge and critical thinking.
Not only do Shaughnessy and Rose focus on ways in which error affects students’ writing abilities, they also go much deeper into the identity of students and how language is constructed in their social and home lives. Shaughnessy observes the “number of interacting influences” that make up language in students social lives: “the pleasures of peer and neighborhood talk, where language flows most naturally; the contagion of the media, those hours of TV and radio and movies and ads where standard forms blend with all that is alluring in the society” (393). People are surrounded by language before they enter into academia—peers or “neighborhood talk,” familial dialects, and a plethora of media—students bring the convergence of these languages with them to school, and thus “the writing that emerges from these experiences bears traces of the different pressures and codes and confusions that have gone to make up ‘English’” (393). Shaughnessy identifies one of the primary influences that confuse basic writers, which is based on their very definition of the “English” language itself. If students have not been exposed to the privileged standard American English, they will undoubtedly struggle to adapt this foreign discourse. Rose expands on the social construction of language by giving personal examples of students from underprivileged backgrounds; he too observes that “children who had not been prepped in their homes to look a language in this dissected, unnatural way” (110) struggled to find their place in the classroom. Socioeconomic class and personal history lie at the heart of his book, and he goes on to explain that because teachers are blind to the “logic of error” they “misperceive failed performance[s]” which only results in perpetuating “the social order” (205). Similar to Shaughnessy, Rose argues for a diverse linguistic understanding of the English language.
Ultimately, Shaughnessy and Rose seek to empower students to overcome these misperceptions of error and find success in our society. Both authors recognize that while error should not be the sole focus of any English curriculum, helping students overcome problems will empower their control of literacy. Shaughnessy states that, to many students, grammar “symbolizes…one last chance to understand what is going on with written language so that they can control it rather than be controlled by it” (394). Giving students tools to overcome their weaknesses will help them control language and thus help them in our literate culture. Shaughnessy goes on to explain her motives, and that “a person who does not control the dominant code of literacy in a society that generates more writing than any society in history is likely to be pitched against more obstacles than are apparent to those who have already mastered that code” (395). Giving students control over language ultimately enables them to overcome obstacles in our highly literate culture. Rose also shows how America tends to punitively focus on the efficiency of language and our cultural literacy has a “strong desire…to maintain correct language use. It is very American in its seeming efficiency. And offers a simple, understandable view of complex linguistic problems” (208). While society still maintains a “simple” view of the “complex linguistic problems,” Rose also seeks to empower his students to be able to adapt to these standards, but also desires to maintain the balance between error and other literate developments. I believe that, ultimately, Shaughnessy and Rose desire to empower students to break the social order—to invite outsiders to become insiders—and since error has been such a divisive tool to segregate the classes, overcoming misconceived problems with error can be just one way in which students can find success in academia and society.
Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers.
Author: Nancy Sommers (1980)

Nancy Sommers’ article, “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers” discusses the different ways that “student writers” and “experienced writers” think of the term “revision.” Based on a case study of twenty college freshmen, Sommers concludes that “student writers” think revision is an “editing” process rather than a reworking of flaws in their overall argument. They approach writing as if the meaning is already communicated, but it must be said in a better way. Students write from “inspiration,” and lack strategies to determine larger issues with the content of their argument. Students write for teachers that expect them to follow rules, thus they believe that their ability to follow the rules determines their success.

On the other hand, “experienced adult writers” focus on the form and the overall effectiveness of the argument. The goal of the first draft is to find their idea, and the second to refine their argument. They also write with a reader in mind—not necessarily a teacher looking for error—but one who will “re-view” the content. Experienced writers look at the writing process as “holistic” and “recursive,” meaning that every element participates in the essay’s creation and fluidity. They recognize the difference between their “intention” and “execution,” which sometimes results in a dissonance in their writing.

Another important distinction Sommers makes in her article is between linear and cyclical writing processes. The linear process resembles speech in that it is fixed in time and does not allow for the revision. The repetition in speech is not necessary in writing, thus the presentation of ideas change and not the idea itself. Sommers argues that the linear model is dangerous because it promotes change only in surface structure rather than possible flaws in the argument. The cyclical writing model, however, allows for revision on any level at any time during the process. It also functions as a journey of discovery that allows writers to change their original ideas.

Student writers: think revisions are “editing” and not revising any flaw in their overall argument or finding holes in content. Students look at their writing as speech that one can clean-up or edit: the meaning is already communicated, but must be said in a better way. “rewording-activity.” Inspiration is the base of their ideas that do not need to be reformed. Student is writing for a teacher that expects them to follow rules.
Experienced writers: revision is not an editing step at the end, but revising their form and shape of the argument (looking at content), first revision is directed toward narrowing their focus, second revision deciding what should be included and excluded. Make changes on all levels, content and sentence-level formations, look at writing as holistic, writing is a recursive process. Dissonance: experienced writings recognize the difference between their intention and execution.


“Good writing disturbs: it creates dissonance.”

"The linear model bases itself on speech...on traditional rhetorical models, models that were created to serve the spoken art of oratory." The spoken word cannot be revised. "The possibility of revision distinguishes the written text from speech. In fact, according to Barthes, this is the essential difference between writing and speaking."

Definition of revision: "as a sequence of changes in a composition--changes which are initiated by cues and occur continually throughout the writing of a work"

"[Experienced Writers] have abstracted the standards of a reader and this reader seems to be partially a reflection of themselves and functions as a critical and productive collaborator--a collaborator who has yet to love their work. The anticipation of a reader's judgment causes a feeling of dissonance when the writer recognizes incongruities between intention and execution, and requires these writers to make revisions on all level."

"But these revision strategies are a process of more than communication; they are part of the process of discovering meaning altogether. Here we can see the importance of dissonance; at the heart of revision is the process by which writers recognize and resolve dissonance they sense in their writing"

"But student writers constantly struggle to bring their essays into congruence with a predefined meaning. The experienced writers do the opposite: they seek to discover (to create) meaning in the engagement with their writing, in revision. They seek to emphasize and exploit the lack of clarity, the differences of meaning, the dissonance, that writing as opposed to speech allows in the possibility of revision.

Uses metaphor of how revision is like a seed rather than a line.

"I have used the notion of dissonance because such dissonance, the incongruities between intention and execution, governs both writing and meaning. Students do not see the incongruities. They need to rely on their own internalized sense of good writing and to see their writing with their 'own' eyes. Seeing in revision--seeing beyond hearing--is at the root of revision...Good writing disturbs: it creates dissonance. Students need to seek the dissonance of discovery, utilizing in their writing, as the experience writers do, the very difference between writing and speech--the possibility of revision."
Language as Symbolic Action
Kenneth Burke (1950s)

In Counter-Statement Burke announced that effective literature could be nothing else but rhetoric. In so saying, he opposed the aesthetic view of literature as poetic and contemplative, divorced from the world of action. Burke argues that poetries is a subset of rhetoric. Literature and art, he says, have a hortatory function, especially in a capitalistic society, in which they serve as propaganda. His concern is primarily with the analysis of language rather than with the analysis of reality. Burke’s own method is dialectical, although deconstructive may be a better term for characterizing his practive of revealing contrary meanings in supposedly positive terms and his emphasis on how language defeats reality. In a Rhetoric of Motives, Burke presents the dramatistic system, Burke unifies rhetoric and poetic. His concern is the language of analysis of language, rather than the analysis of reality. Burke looks at the way that resources are used to create identification with a group and its world view. Identification means to suggest more powerfully than persuasion. Burke examines the way in which identification work to include the members of a group in a common ideology, while at the same time they exclude alternate terms, other groups, or competing ideology.

The article itself:

Burke draws a distinction between a scientistic approach to language and a dramatistic approach to language.

Scientistic: the naming of things.
Dramatistic: the symbolic-action

The two terms are not mutually exclusive.

The scientistic approach culminates in the kinds of speculation we associate in symbolic logic, and the dramaticist view culminates in the kinds of speculation that find their handiest material in stories, plays, poems, and rhetoric. (Things involving audience).

Even if any given terminology (word choice) is a reflection of reality, by its very nature as a terminology be a selection of reality, and hence a deflection of reality. Ergo, words are not reality.

We all see the world through terministic screens: a lens that “directs our attention” to certain ways of thinking and acting in the world. It is like a lens, or the same photograph taken from a bunch of different angles. Language is a part of that construction. It is symbolic action.

Since we cannot say anything without terminology, they constitute a kind of screen, which necessarily excludes groups and other forms of thoughts. Must we resign ourself to these screens? Yes. We can safely take it for granted that no one’s personal equations are quite identical with anyone else’s. He advocate for a Dramatistic screen, discussing man in general. It involves a method of tracking down the implications of the idea of symbolic action, and of man as a kind of being that is particularly distinguished by an aptitute for such action. Thus, Dramatism is a “technique of analysis of language and thought as basically modes of action rather than as a means of conveying information. It also works as a philosophy of human relations, specifically human motivations.
“Principles of Rhetoric”
Kenneth Burke (1950s)

Adding to Cicero and Quintillian, Burke notes that rhetoric and persuasion are linked, but that persuasion also involves choice, will: “It is directed to a man only insofar as he is free.” Hitler was not a rhetorician inasmuch as he didn’t give his subjects a choice. Insofar as the choice of an action is restricted, rhetoric seeks rather to have a formative effect upon the attitude. Since persuasion so often implies the presence or threat of an adversary, there is the “agonistic” or competitive stress. Thus, Aristotle, who looks upon rhetoric as a medium that proves opposites gives what amounts to a handbook on the manly art of self defense. Plato was always on the search for truth, but truth always starts with opinions. The competitive and public ingredient in persuasion makes it particularly urgent that the rhetoric work at the level of opinions and truth is often secondary. Burke looks at the underlying ethical assumptions on which the enture tactics of persuasion are based.

The rhetor must seek to identify with the audience that he is speaking to; You persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image attitude, idea, indentifying your ways with him. Obviously, it is more effective if it is genuine. “Commonplaces” or “topics” in Aristotle’s Art of Rhetoric are no more than a quick survey of opinions which aids in the process of identification – and they work as well then as they do now. Also, rhetorical devices are functional and not mere embellishments. They are a measure of sublimity and a means of identification (ex: repetition).

Other variants of the Rhetorical Motive
We also use it to gain advantage – it can be individual or the aim of a partisan group, or even universal. It is not necessary bad.

Image and Idea:
A “poetic image” can stand for things complex, unstated ideas. A poetic symbol, as image, is built of identifications (Imagine an appeal to the mother). “Imaginary meanings are fused together.” Thus, the image could be said to body forth a principle. But the image employs the full resource of the imagination; it will not represent one idea, but will contain a whole bundle of principles, even ones that would be mutually contradictory. There is a close relationship between image and ideology. Imagery is the translation of an idea into sensory terms.
"Cognition, Convention, and Certainty"
Patricia Bizzell; 1982

Bizzell claims that recent inquiries into what people need to know about writing gave birth of composition studies. Composition specialists' answers to these questions are incredibly important, Bizzell notes, in that their nascent theories are quickly applied to the classroom and affects students' lives in profound ways. Despite their differences, Bizzells notes that comp specialists genereally agree on these fundamentals of language and thought:

1. The normal human individual possesses innate mental capaictes to learn a language.

2. Language forms thought patterns, which organized and interpret experience

3. The mature exercise of these capbilities takes place within society, and it is this interaction in society that modifies the individual's "reasoning, speaking, and writing.

4. Prolonged interaction in a group leads to the status of conventions that bind the group in a discourse community.

5. An individual can belong to more than one discourse community.

Despite these general agreements, Bizzell describes a composition community split into two conflicting camps: the inner directed theorists and the outer-directed theorists. According to Bizzel, the inner directed theoriests --FLower and Hayes foremost-- believe that the writing process is so innate, that it is, indeed, universal. As such, they seek a universal model or process that can be taught to all students. Inner-directed theorists see differences in lexical communities to be superficial. Paradoxically, ID theorists have identified ASE as an intellectually superior standard. With knowledge and isntruction in the universal structure, ID theorists believe that basic writers will be able to engage in cognitively sophisticcated choices and make concepts of their own. IN contrast, OD theorists purport that universal, fundamental structures can't be taught as thinking and language use can never occure free of a social context that conditions them. Rote essay-writing models have failed the students because those students don't understand the different demand of individual discourse communities that they are writing in and to. Thus, OD theorists think we should explain the differences between discourse communities.

While Bizzell is more critical of ID theorists, she asserts that what we need to know about writing will have to come from both the ID and OD theorists. Otherwise, comp theorists will come to blame cognitive decificency as what keeps basic writers as poor writers (which has lots of bad implications for ESL writers). One universal model is counterproductive; rather, we should be looking for synthesis and paraology. Constant questioning and confrontation is especially necessary in a pluralistc society. Classrooms should embrace disversity, deny the school's function as an agent of cultural hegemony, and emphasize not just discourse, but true community.
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