Comp-Rhet Final Fall 2015

The Final

Re-read Berthoff's essay, "Is teaching still possible?"

Compose a 1000 response to her argument, drawing on our readings and discussion of composition theory.

One way to get started on this is to unpack a select passage from the essay, and center your work on that. There are others.

Don't try to address or respond to everything Berthoff argues. In 1000 words, you'll need to get to your point in the first sentence.

Use informal citation - just name who you're drawing from, as you might do in an in-class timed final. In 1000 words, you don't have the room to quote much.

Because the final is about your work with the theoretical material, bringing in anecdotes from the classroom is a risky strategy.

Due, by email to me, by midnight 16 Dec.


I wanted to specify a starting point to help you gather some ideas together, and so suggest a tone and attitude. So I revisited the articles and essays we read and discussed this semester. Bartholomae, "Inventing the University,” gives us a central set of arguments. So does Berlin, "Contemporary Composition,” and Bizzell, "Cognition, Convention, and Certainty.” In the end, I chose Berthoff’s work: It is an academic essay rather than a research article, and an essay that addresses writing and meaning as central to learning - and learning as central to writing and meaning. It places elements other than aesthetics, correctness, formulas, or genres at the center of teaching writing.

Consider the final a wicked problem. There is no recipe that guarantees a solution, but solutions can be evaluated. Use the final to demonstrate how familiar you are with the ideas we have read and discussed this semester.

I'm asking you to start with Berthoff because we have to start somewhere. Notice that I am asking for a "response." That's intentionally open. It allows you to decide what kind of response you want to make. You might respond by orchestrating your ideas drawn from the theorists we read. Or you might respond by critiquing Berthoff's ideas drawing on the ideas of theorists we've read. You might respond by drawing in one for two or three theorists, or by drawing in theorists from one section of the material we've read. In any case, it's not about the number of theorists you can draw on. It's about the ideas you can bring to the party.

Relax. Deep breaths. Maybe some notes on the single point you really want to make in response to Berthoff's argument. Then draft and edit to 1000 words.

There are no comments on this page.
Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki