Posts Tagged ‘pedagogy

05
Dec
08

Olsen’s Rhetoric and Composition as Intellectual Work

Gary Olsen, ed.
Rhetoric and Composition as Intellectual Work
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
From Joseph Harris’ Review

•    Olson’s Rhetoric and Composition As Intellectual Work brings together two sets of essays-one arguing for composition as an academic discipline and the other offering sketches of what scholarship in that discipline might look like.
•    The quality of writing is high, even when the arguments are familiar:
o    Olson agitating for ideological critique,
o    Thomas Kent explaining paralogic rhetoric,
o    Cindy Selfe urging attentiveness to technology,
o    Victor Vitanza discoursing playfully about sophistics,
o    Stephen Mailloux insisting that theory really does have consequences,
o    Susan Miller and Susan Wells digging around in the archives
•    Olson asserts that “composition should be an intellectual as well as a service discipline” (xii).
o    While Olson makes it clear that he is not arguing against teaching per se but, rather, against a view of the field as one “devoted solely to improving writing pedagogy” (xvi), his phrasing distances intellectual work from service and associates it with discipline.
•    Gary Olson argues against what he calls a “disturbing trend in the discipline” (499) to blur key terms and categories describing our work, arguing that “teaching is not research; it can draw on research and apply research and confirm or discredit research results, but it’s not coextensive with or identical to research”

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29
Nov
08

Petraglia’s Reality by Design

Joseph Petraglia
Reality by Design: The Rhetoric and Technology of Authenticity in Education
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Introduction: Why an Interest in the Authentic?

•    An understanding of contemporary education hinges on what we take authentic learning to mean and how we believe it’s achieved
•    Rhetoric of inquiry: study of how discursive practices constitute and sustain human understanding with special reference to academic investigation
X: “Situated cognition—an approach that again emphasizes the individual’s perception of and responsiveness to the immediate ambient world and motivating activities that seem personally real.”
4:  “Constructivism—the interdisciplinary view that we construct knowledge based on our cultural assumptions and prior experiences at hand.  Therefore, constructivism can be understood as a natural and social scientific complement to the progressivism which it developed alongside of.”
4: “Modern constructivism, Resnick argues, obliges us to view social behavior not just as an influence on thought, but also, as itself, a manifestation of cognitive processing that leads us to ‘analyze the ways in which people jointly construct knowledge under particular conditions of social purpose and interaction.”
5: “Technology can help in this process [of rethinking schooling] because it makes it possible to create learning situations that mirror what is happening in the real world in ways that are difficult to realize in a traditional classroom.”
8: “Thus, the rhetoric of authenticity can refer to how language such as authentic, real-world, genuine, and everyday is used by educators to conserve comfortable epistemological assumptions while linking pedagogical innovations to a more constructivistic intellectual framework.  In this first sense, then, the rhetoric of authenticity is about how and why the desideratum of authentic learning is used as a central trope in the contemporary educator’s vocabulary.  However, in a second and perhaps more technical sense, a rhetoric of authenticity can refer to the way in which the real, and thus, the authentic, can be seen as an outcome of rhetorical processes.”
10:  “The evolution of constructivism through the cognitive revolution of the 1950s and 1960s to what, in hindsight, looks to be the fairly natural resurrection of Soviet sociohistoricism.  It is the sociohistorical perspective initiated by Vygotsky and his colleagues in the 1920s and 1930s that creates the conceptual space in psychology necessary for the treatment of everyday context.  This is accomplished via the quotidianization of learning—that is, by looking to everyday situations and activities as the primary source of learning rather than at deliberately structured learning episodes or learning acquired in school under formal conditions.”
12:  “Rhetorical and constructivist frameworks share many features—for instance, both are preoccupied with an interest in how representations of the world are constructed and modified.  However, the rhetorical tradition usefully distinguishes itself in its focus on the affective dimensions of thinking and knowledge-making and in its long experience with context-dependence.”
Chapter Six: Negotiating the Real world: Conceptual Obstacles and Opportunities for Education
•    A constructivist analysis of knowledge foregrounds rhetoric: the powers of persuasion and the differences of dispute
•    Making students participate in their own learning, rather than students being simply the audience
•    Who is the audience (Bitzer): an inappropriate audience is no audience at all
•    Rhetoric: performative dimension of expertise
o    The status of expert is not necessarily granted to one that knows the content in any objective sense, but is a status granted to the person that possess the means in which to perform the knowledge
•    Who can persuade others of their own expertise (Gorgias)
134: “The challenge of authenticating learning becomes transformed from that of presenting the learner with new and improved ‘reality kits’ to that of persuading learners that the problems with which they are presented correspond in some important way to their own sense of how the real world works.”
135: “The student as audience, a rhetorician would contend, is less a passive sounding board for the educator’s lecture, than an active interlocutor who is fully capable of evaluating claims, assessing evidence, and posing rebuttals.”
137:  “In other words, a rhetorician may observe that technologists often design environments for what Perelman calls the universal audience—that ‘reasonable and competent’ audience to which we direct out idea arguments.  This is rooted in the assumption that rationality is universal and needs no audience.  Yet Perelman reminds us that while the universal audience has its uses, it is only a fiction that serves as a heuristic in helping us define our particular audience—those living, breathing, alternately reasoning, and alternately competent audiences that we actually encounter in the real world.”
141:  “In recognizing that expert performance is rhetorically constructed at various times for various reasons, educators are reminded that authentic assessment—a critical subject in many education-based literatures—is entirely dependent on the norms of, and consensus among, evaluators.  New ripples, trends, tastes, and politics can quickly dethrone experts and replace them with individuals whose performance was previously considered highly inexpert.”
149:  “A rhetorical perspective reminds us that there is no guarantee of success in making learning authentic: Although we may argue for a given task’s authenticity, evidence one audience finds compelling, another audience fins inadequate.  What Aristotle identified as rhetoric’s natural concern with probable outcomes instills in the rhetorically sensitive educator an explicit awareness of the limits of persuasion and thus success.  In Book One of Rhetoric, for instance, Aristotle reminds us that the rhetorician who discovers the available means of persuasion does so with no assurances that the means employed will succeed.  He advises us to set out sights a bit lower and suggests that a more reasonable objective is to come ‘as near such success as the circumstances of each particular case allows.’”

26
Nov
08

Soliday’s Politics of Remediation

Mary Soliday
The Politics of Remediation: Institutional and Student Needs in Higher Education
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Chapter One: The Politics of Access and the Politics of Representation

•    Crowley: “the discourse of student need”
o    The institutions’ standards for writing don’t change, the students’ abilities do
•    In clarifying “political,” we also identify what constitutes a meaningful avenue for reform (Gary-Rosendale)
o    Developing process-pedagogy
o    Involving more full-time faculty in programs without displacing adjuncts for first year composition
o    More “microlevel” as opposed to “macrolevel” research
1: “This book argues that remediation exists also to fulfill institutional needs and to resolve social conflicts as they are played out through the educational tier most identified with access to the professional middle class.”
3: “The changing fortunes of remedial English teaching in this respect are partly a consequence of an increasing middle-class need to protect the exclusivity of an institution that, now more than ever, most defines itself as a social class.”
6:  “I locate reform within structures that would alter the conditions for learning that affect who teaches whom, and where.  I use the history of composition, and the sociology of education as analytical frameworks to read historical documents, for instance surveys of composition teaching and archival sources form my institution.  In the book’s second half, I examine how remediation and remedial students have been represented in the post-open admissions era.  Here I locate reform in curriculum development and in ways of writing about composition teaching.  I use cultural studies, sociolinguistics, and the anthropological of education as frameworks for reading student writing, ideological debates, and literary and ethnographic accounts.”
7: “’Politics’ (as in the currently fashionable image of the multicultural university) was isolated from ‘economics,’ and the conflict was duly transformed into struggles over language, now safely removed from larger political and economic battles.”




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