week 4: how to read a page and the contexts of reading

New Rhetorical aka Social Epistemic Approaches

Berlin, James. "Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories." A Sourcebook for Writing Teachers. Ed. Gary Tate and Edward P J Corbett. 3nd ed. New York: OUP, 1982. Print.

Dowst, Kenneth. "The Epistemic Approach: Writing, Knowing, and Learning." Eight Approaches to Teaching Composition. Ed. Timothy R Donovan and Ben W McClelland. Urbana, Il: NCTE, 1980. 65-85. Print.

Eight Approaches to Teaching Composition. Ed. Timothy R Donovan and Ben W McClelland. Urbana, Il: NCTE, 1980.

Berthoff, Ann E, and James Stephens. Forming/Thinking/Writing: The Composing Imagination. 2nd ed. Boynton/Cook, Pubs., 1988.

Coles, Jr, and William William. The Plural "I": The Teaching of Writing. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978.Republished as The Plural I and After.

Bartholomae, David, and Anthony R Petrosky. Facts, Artifacts and Counterfacts: Theory and Method for a Reading and Writing Course. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1986.

Coles, Jr, and William William. Seeing Through Writing. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988.

Topic Sentences, Braddock

Back to the actual practice, as w paragraphing. Published in RTE, and making an implicit call for more empirical research in grounding teaching and thinking s out writing.

This section is about testing and rethinking textbook codified concepts and precepts to theorize them. What Emig calls magical thinking. That students learn only what we teach and only because we teach it.

This reading makes a pretty good model for textual analysis. Explicit in what he's doing. Focused on two answerable questions. Method.

Builds on discourse centered rhetoric of paragraph. Starts to make observations that traditional concepts of sentence, paragraph blind us to.

Does surveying professional writing provide solid data for his conclusions? The samples Braddock analyzes are are taught in classes as models, yet do not seem to follow the premises or advice given about writing.

IDing t-units
Linguistic concept. Do some t unit ID in a piece of student writing.

IDing topic sentences
To note is that Braddock recounts the difficulties he ran into as part of method. We see theorizing arising from practical need.

Braddock tries to find topic sentences only to discover that the definition isn't as clear as it has been assumed to be to be and is typically presented. Aka "sentence is a thought" makes an unusable definition. The definition is designed for teaching composing and so fails or presents difficulties is being applied.

Note technique: create sentence outline - as teachers recommend. Problems there. Goes with inter-rater reliability. Acknowledges outline is an interpretive act.

In coding, Bradd0ck discovers and names different kinds or strategies of topic sentenes with some notes on form rather than application. Quietly demonstrates that we're missing some significant possible strategies.

Notes in coding that paras don't always follow at the same level of coordination. Some are superordinate to subordinate chains of paragraphs. These relationships are not necessarily signaled by topic sentences. Show on board. And cf what students tend to (are taught to) do with paragraphs: chains of observations at one ordinate level. One para for each topic -

Comments on table 1

By coding, he develops types, which is a step forward. The types come from his coding, and are likly an artifact of method. But he complicates a sense of reading, and an understanding of how sentences work w in and across paras to signal how to construct coherence.

[Check Lang log for refernce to basing rules on ?]



- Claims of writing textbooks concerning use and distro of topics across paragraphs are not grounded in practice. This might not hold for other kinds of writing. Might want to check that out. It would make a good final project.
- Claims from working authors are just as shaky. Claims based in their texts might mike good grounds for teaching.
  • suggests changes in teaching reading, to ID more sophisticated use of topic-like sentences.
  • see how these findings relate to other genres.

Grammar, Grammar, and the Teaching of Grammar. Hartwell

Magical thinkers, alchemists, and scientists

This article opens up the consideration of grammar and with it error (see Shaughenessy) - and develops an analysis and implications based on that analysis. Hartwell's observations are still operative as prescriptive v descriptive approaches in teaching formal grammar.

Start here
Where do you place yourself in the discussion: Do you teach formal grammar as a way of teaching writing? or do something else? v p 208. Do you subscribe to the idea that students must learn the rules before they can break them? - and is it "break"? Do you have any evidence that that is a grounded pedagogical position, or is this idea used for other, non-pedagogical reasons? Control, perhaps. Or to exercise authority. Those who learn the rules are allowed to flaunt them but those who don't are confined to the corner? Is mastery of writing mastery of formal grammar? It's measurable.

Research is not telling us much about the value of teaching grammar for writing development - rather, we're interpreting results as supporting our positions. so Hartwell aims to look into the confusion by articulating the grammar question in more productive terms.

List, p 208, esp what is our theory of language - the theory we teach by, practice, enforce? Problem defined, 208, last para.

He starts by reviewing the work that has been done, and then turns to theorizing about what direction to take in light of what the research tells us - which is not much. Like the rest of the authors in this section, Hartwell is going to be explicit in his terms and definitions because that's where the confusions seem to lay too often.

To get a handle on this, review what characterizes each grammar.

1. Grammar as it exists in heads of native speakers.
This comes of untaught languagae acquisition but also seems influenced by literacy (214) - a point which could speak to the case for teaching literacy - reading, at any rate. Tacit and usable knowledge. Q here would be what environs influence acquisition of NORMS as norms. To claims that this knowledge is unreachable and not under control, we can invoke the rules by varying situations. Seems to be influenced by acquisition - learning - of literacy. Literacy may change the deep structure. 214.

2. Grammar as an area of linguistics, creating and testing various models of grammars.
There is no relation in the matter of teaching The model to get to performance. Hartwell spends a lot of time in this area because at the time of writing there was a push for applying linguistically discovered rules (regularities found in the language) to teaching - as in the article use flow chart. Discovery that surfaces is that the rules we think we use are inadequate to explain what we do, but they do allow us to access internalized rules. But trying to use the rules as procedures degrades performance, while exposure to rule-driven constructs produces tacit knowledge. 218.

To see grammar 2 in action, read Language Log. For a linguistic critique of StrunkNWhite, read this.

3. Usage. linguistic étiquette
Hartwell sidesteps this as simply off track: this ain't gramma. But usage and etiquette is often taught as though it were grammar, or in the same category of structureation as grammar. Confusing the teaching of grammar with teaching of usage seems to cause a lot of difficulties with student and administrator confusion about the teaching of writing. Even an informal project to tease out the differences between formal grammar and usage would make in interesting final project.

4. Grammar as used in schools.
Incantations that are COIK. These rules are clear and understandable as stated only if the student has already gained the tacit knowledge on which the stated rule is based. But the rules work w a paradox: people who think that the rules actually work use the inadequate rule as heuristics to access the internal rules they do us. 220.

Using this grammar is not connected with literate behavior: that is, literate people don't actually follow the strictures and guidelines that the texts present. The hyperliterate think they are. (The disconnect between what they texts say and actual practice might be a source of the "Learn the Rules before you can Break Them" homily). Based on Latin and logic.

For instance,
- p 221: IDing a fragment. Problem: This school grammar defines the fragment error as a conceptual error: evidence that writer doesn't have a grasp of a sentence - as opposed to an error of idiom as it is taken in academia - a performance error.
- statement of p 223: thinking about error and its relationship to the worship of formal grammar and hyperliterate perception of the value of formal rules.
- redefine error as a problem of metacognition

What it means for teaching,
- teach literacy as a way of teaching metacognition. 223-224: metacognition and literacy: not that metacognition helps literacy but literacy develops metacognition. Meta linguistic play. Literacy artifacts. Nonsense phrases. Puns, fork handles. Games, puzzles, tweeting.
- Print is a cultural code, and perhaps one masters the code from the top down, from pragmatic questions of voice, tone, audience, register, rhet strats, we gain tacit knowledge of surface grammar. 224. No evidence given.

- procedures can hinder. Proofreader's marks.
- set things up to invoke tacit knowledge rather than procedural. ID error with a mark and let student correct.
- write better textbooks and grammar guides
- where do we place drill for skill?

5. Stylistic grammars
Strunk and White, Williams, Lynn Tuss, Wired, AP Stylebook, etc. subsets or flavors of stylistic grammars.

Romantic - stylistic grammars have little place in teaching comp because students need to suffer towards meaning. Go0d writing depends not on grammars but talent. Writers are born, not taught. This conceptualizes writing as aesthetics, literacy as etiquette

Classical - Teachers can find ways to offer suggestions and create curricula to help students develop a prose style. Literacy works in society and serves social functions. Writing is functional.

All the variations are united by method: but both rest on idea that one learns to control the language of print by manipulating meaningful texts in communicative contexts, not by the study of rules of grammar in isolation. 225

Ending with two types of knowledge
Postscript on experimental research
Any active involvement with language is preferable to instruction in rules.

Coherence, Cohesion, and Writing Quality. Witte and Faigley

This article looks at characteristics of text that cross sentence boundaries, characteristics we use to evaluate those texts. That idea takes us back to Braddock and the rhetoric of paragraph but this time internally.
cohesive ties

Distinguish between cohesion and coherence

Lack of coherence comes not of a lack of internal ties but of a violation of the reading script, such as to include only stuff that is important to understanding the message in the context.

The aim of the study is to see if looking at cohesive ties can be useful - and if so, how. p 247.

In the first part of the article, they detail a taxonomy of lexical ties. Not worth memorizing but worth working through to have the concepts at hand to consider cohesiveness.

They are dealing with the kind of implicit knowledge people aquire by reading and writing. Cohesiveness his isn't taught directly, but this is the kind of metalinguistic knowledge students need to pick up. This is what flow looks like when it's considered analytically rather than impressionistically. Teachers who need to talk sensibly about cohesion and who need to be able to diagnose problems in texts and give advice need to know this stuff.

Tech writing teachers need to be familiar with these matters because it can explain how we create meaning or when meaning isn 't working or needs clarification. Experienced writers might be able to create a cohesive text on their rhetorical wits - but not explain it.

part II
They next turn to applying the taxonomies to student papers to see if there is a correlation between cohesiveness and writing quality. By looking at papers rated high- and low, they can design cohesion profiles that characterize the writing - the significance is in the profiles, which suggests that cohesiveness comes about not as a surface level problem but as problems with invention.

It's not difficult to find examples of this in student papers, notes, and drafts:
Throughout this ad are many different strategies. The first one used is Narration because when you look at this ad and see the woman and huskies outside in the cold winter weather its telling a story of how if you live in the cold, you can still stay warm. The second strategy used is example/illustration because the way this product is advertised is having a woman wear their products outside in the snow, showing that they work well. The cause and effect strategy is also used because they demonstrate the benefits of the UGG products by having the woman wear them in the cold weather. The fourth strategy used is definition because this UGG ad does clarify the products purpose and function. The final strategy used in this ad is Process because they demonstrate they way the product can be used by having the woman wear the products out in the cold weather.

Faigley and Witte are impressed by the differences, which are sharp, distinct. The results also suggest what writers of high-rated papers tend to do: use local rather than distant ties. While we might look at a paper and say, "It's loose, disorganized, confusing, hard to read and get the point", or "It doesn't flow', F&W document the differences by looking closely at the internal lexical and semantic structuring.

They take these frequency findings back to skilled writer behaviors / strategies. Skilled writers are better able to expand and connect ideas. We can see that in the way they use lexical and other ties. F&W don't consider whether this is a function of practice or teaching or something else. They imply but don't state that the issue with cohesion they find might reside in invention, in that in order to make something cohere, the writer needs a storehouse of related content to work with.

Contemporary Composition, Berlin

P 235ff
Teaching writing is to argue for a version of reality and the best way of knowing and communicating it. 236. This is not just a matter of different emphasis on elements or processes of writing.

State of the discipline 1980

Surveys the discipline as of 1980 to see what patterns he can see. Berlin's analysis uncovers some historical events that help us explain some anomalies you might be seeing in the discipline itself - like the difference between argumentation, exposition, and persuasion (grounded in faculty psychology, each appeals to understanding and emotion).

Berlin is careful to ground his analysis in historical terms and concepts, and to state his position: New Rhet is the most practical approach - but no matter what approach they take, writing teachers need to be fully aware of the significance of their pedagogical strategies. At the very least, some approaches offer contradictory advice about composing; at its most significant, writing teachers teaching versions of realities and the students places and ways of operating in that reality.

There's an imperative that a comp teacher form and practice in pedagogy a coherent version of understanding rather than pick and mix. Teaching writing is teaching a way of understanding reality, not a mechanical skill, and so the teacher is under a larger understanding made explicit.

The texts that Berlin quotes from and mentions are all classic rhetorical texts - those that had been taught as fundamental and articulate the general knowledge of the discipline.

the ground

Different conceptions of pedagogy are grounded in different rhetorical theories - and are grounded in the way writer, audience, reality, language are conceived - and how they inter-relate. That is, there are different sets of preconceptions and assumptions about language, the world, knowledge ... that shape and ground our teaching of writing - and students' learning of writing. 236

To teach writing is to argue for a version of reality and to argue for the best way to know reality and to communicate it. So as you work with Berlin, understand that he is analyzing how writing is taught, mainly in in university exposition courses. Most creative writing courses fall into expressionist approaches. But that doesn't mean that that approach is appropriate in the FY classroom. We are teaching in a larger context of a state social institution. If in teaching writing we teach more than just writing, we need to be aware of, responsible for, the other things we teach.

The difference and similarities fall into groups
In each, the rhetorical elements - writer - audience - reality - language - are define and related to form a distinct world construct - an epistemic complex - with distinct rules for discovering and communicating knowledge.

Classicist - Neo-Aristotelians

The world exists independently of the observer - and our minds our constructed so to understand the world and its rules. Reality can be known and communicated. Truth is a matter of performing in conformance with logic. - with language an unproblematic medium. Both word and thing referred to are part of thought - Dialectic is the way to discover knowledge in learned discourse. Rhetoric is the means to address probabilistic realms. Business of rhet is to enable speaker to persuade others of that probable truth, a truth that was discovered by other, arhetorical means. Emphasis on invention leads to subordination on arrangement and style - view of language is that the word is an isolatable unit of meaning and that structuring them into sentences creates combinatory meaning

This approach leads today to

Current-Traditional or Positivist approach

Aristotle as realized in Scottish and British philosophers as common sense realism - induction rather than deduction. Denies the value of deduction: closed system. individual sense impression provides the basis for all knowledge, and builds knowledge by induction. the world is rational, but its logic is discovered through scientific / experimental method. Rhetoric becomes the study of all forms of communication - not just one branch - but rhetoric does not deal with invention as it did w Aristotle. Truth is discovered outside of rhetoric - experimental method, study in a discipline, genius - and rhetoric deals with how to communicate that pre-existant truth: how to adapt discourse to hearers. Esp focuses on skill in arrangement and style. When we are freed of biases, senses provide mental facilities with a clear image of the world. College writing is to be concerned with communicating the truth that is certain and empirically verifiable - not probable. Right - wrong - or it falls into the realm of opinion, which is outside rhetoric. Arrangement and style.

A note on the paragraph concerning appeals and faculties. Note how argumentation is distinguished from persuasion: by way of mental faculties. Persuasion is special, making an appear to the will. Argumentation appeals to understanding, especially along disciplinary lines. 240.

In comes the split between lit and comp, by way of branches of discourse and faculty psychology. 241.


Developed in response to CTR. Plato as realized in Emerson, and some current teachers. Truth is discovered through internal apprehension - all writing and knowing are personal - but cannot be communicated. Truth - not writing, but truth - can be learned but not taught. Rhetoric becomes the correction of error, removal that which obscurers the inner vision. The method towards Truth is dialectic, disruptive of day to day perceptual set. This leads to a difficult view of language - truth is beyond the resources of language - but language can speak analogically of truth. Personal truths: true to the expression of self. true to feeling of experience. Some of this is hackneyed, but more generally, the approach places a Self (often a plural essential self) at the center of communication - not the other, not balanced with other, but at the center. Plato argued for transcendent Truth. Expressionist place claims on personal truth - that doesn't necessarily transcend the personal. Solepcism isn't far away.Classroom procedures: provide place to learn rather than be taught. relies on analogical method

The emphasis on dialogue and dialectic in an expressionist approach is not aimed at communicating or adjusting the message to make it communicable. To adapt the message to an audience would be a violation of the self, the inner vision of Truth. The others in the dialogue are at the service of the writer: they are there to help the writer get rid of what's insincere and false to the writer's personal, incommunicable sense of things. Remove the inauthentic.

So: an emphasis on using metaphor to break away from these false ideas: telling writing, etc. Language doesn't refer to shared concepts. To present truth (internal, personal, original) relies on original metaphors to capture what is unique.

Caveat: Just because you see someone using groups doesn't mean they are taking an expressionist approach.
Caveat: All writers are creative writers. This erases any epistemic and methodological difference between poet and first-year student. the only difference is in the forms used.

New Rhetoric aka social epistemic approach

What the first 3 share: knowledge is a commodity situated in a permanent location, a repository that the individual goes to for enlightenment.

New Rhet: knowledge is dynamic and dialectical, the result of a shifting process of synthesis of opposing elements. That relation is created, not pre-existing. The elements are those embedded in the communicative situation: writer, audience, reality, language. Truth and knowledge is always knowledge for someone standing in a particular relationship in a circumscribed situation. writer - audience - reality - language are the things we use to shape knowledge.

There is no knowledge apart from that which can be articulated. And until you can articulate it, you don't really know it.

Perception is active, not mere reception. And language is a medium by which we put the phenomena of the world together so it make sense. Language is prior to truth and determines or influences the shapes truth can take. Language is what we use to shape the world, decide what will be perceived and what not, what will have meaning and what won't. But those choices are social - not strictly individual: truths and knowledge are operable only within a universe of discourse - and that universe is shaped by all the elements, including audience.

The position of the writer

Social-Epistemic - one of the more comprehensive views. Draws in invention as heuristics, arrangement and style are part of meaning and so ay the center of invention. Looks at how contemporary observers have done things - and places an emphasis on method: heuristics.

More recently

Some premises are being challenged by recent models of situated perception. Gibson, James J. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Hilldale, USA, 1977.

The doctrine that we could not perceive the world around us unless we already had the concept of space is nonsense. It is quite the other way around: We could not conceive of empty space unless we could see the ground under our feet and the sky above. Space is a myth, a ghost, a fiction for geometers. All that sounds very strange, no doubt, but I urge the reader to entertain the hypothesis. For if you agree to abandon the dogma that "percepts without concepts are blind," as Kant put it, a deep theoretical mess, a genuine quagmire, will dry up. This is one of the main themes of the chapters that follow.

Semiotics is challenging the New Rhetorical, especially Kress and a new model of communication. Kress, Gunther R. Multimodality : A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. London; New York: Routledge, 2010.

Some texts fall into the new rhetorical by virtue of method and emphasis on the how: how does this text create meaning? The method is to tinker with actual texts - very much inductive or even abductive. versions and compare, to translate, to transduce (change mode) to discover what's vital. The emphasis in these is on the material rather than the abstractions of language and the medium as rhetorical.

Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2006.
Pope, Rob. Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies. London, Routledge, 1995.

Another trend is to borrow methods from other disciplines, primarily ethnographic study, where language is used to self-conscioulsly represent understandings. Tavory, Iddo, and Stefan Timmermans. Abductive Analysis : Theorizing Qualitative Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

And another branch involves rhetoric and design. Again, the emphasis is on New Rhetorical but incorporates notions of contemporary psychological theories of representation

Kaufer, David S, and Brian S Butler.Designing Interactive Worlds with Words: Principles of Writing As Representational Composition. New Jersey: LEA, 2000.
Kaufer, David S, and Brian S Butler. Rhetoric and the Arts of Design. New Jersey: LEA, 1996.

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