Revolution Lullabye

May 25, 2011

Simmons, Encouraging Civic Engagement Through Extended Writing Projects

Simmons, Michele  “Encouraging Civic Engagement Through Extended Writing Projects: Rewriting the Curriculum.” The Writing Instructor: Special Issue: Disruptions of/in Professional Writing Pedagogy (May 2010).

Simmons points out the pitfalls of single-semester, single-course service learning projects (for students, faculty, instititutions, and community orgranizations) and, arguing for the real rhetorical benefit of service learning writing courses (she focuses on professional writing), claims that service learning projects need to be envisioned as extended projects that are taken up and valued by an entire curriculum.

These extended projects need to encompass multiple courses, multiple disciplines, and complex problems that require critical inquiry.

Simmons gives an example of a project she did with undergraduate and graduate students: storm water pollution prevention education and outreach website.

Simmons also addresses the issue of assessing a long-range, multi-stakeholder community project and emphasizes the importance of real community collaboration and partnership.

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Lettner-Rust, Making Rhetoric Visible

Lettner-Rust, Heather  “Making rhetoric visible: Re-visioning a capstone civic writing seminar.”   Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society 1.1 (2010).

Lettner-Rust explains the philosophical foundations of an upper-division capstone course on civic writing at her institution, a course that asks students to address, through writing, speaking, and research, a public issue of civic importance. Using Isocrates’ explanation of the goal of education – to create the “active-citizen-orator,” Lettner-Rust argues that the goal of rhetorical education at the university, especially at the upper-division level, is to push students to use their knowledge in cross-disciplinary ways (like the cross-disciplinary public sphere), using open-ended inventive heuristics rather than rules.

A course that emphasizes rhetoric is key at the end  of a students’ education.

Notes and Quotes

in line with calls for “rhetoric across the curriculum”

colleagues across campus are confused about the purpose of the course

“instead of the writing curriculum being a service course to the academy, rhetoric should function as an integral part of the knowledge-making paradigm throughout the academy.”

“The product of the course is a rhetorical education, a process that allows students to enact rhetorical principles.”

learn rhetorical principles – kairos is a key one

students are asked to evaluate their purpose, audience, context; choose appropriate rhetorical devices to meet those needs; analyze and evaluate the effectivenss of their rhetoric and of others’

Hauser, Teaching Rhetoric

Hauser, Gerald A. “Teaching Rhetoric: Or Why Rhetoric Isn’t Just Another Kind of Philosophy or Literary Criticism.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 34.3 (Summer 2004): 39-53

The Association for Rhetoric Societies’ 2003 conference in Evanston led to an alliance among rhetoric scholars to promote the centrality of rhetorical education in civic education. This article lists the five areas where Rhetoric Studies needs sustainable structures in order to reinvigorate rhetoric into the curriculum.

The scholars underscored that rhetoric is inherently tied to teaching: there is no rhetoric without teaching. What has happened in the modern academy, one that values theory and knowledge over praxis, is a divorce of rhetoric from the public and civic sphere, which rhetoric depends on. Hauser and those at the conference call for rhetoric to be reunited to the concerns of the public civic sphere, of preparing citizens and leaders. The Association for Rhetoric Scholars, through Hauser’s article, argues for a manifesto about rhetorical education that can be adopted by institutions, a forum to share rhetorical pedagogy material between scholars, and a way for individual institutions to circumvent the balkanization that happens with rhetorical pedagogy, coordinating it into one collective pursuit.

Notes and Quotes

“Free societies require rhetorically competent citizens. Without rhetorical competence, citizens are disabled in the public arenas of citizen exchange—the marketplace, the representative assembly, the court, and public institutions— and democracy turns into a ruse disguising the reality of oligarchic power.” (52)

Rhetoric has always been a central part in educating future leaders and citizens. Rhetoric is practical, is human, is considered with the right time and right place (kairos.) It seeks to give students a way to pursue and articulate knowedge, not a set content.

Rhetoric is about seeking truth and excellence (aerte), questioning, reflection, learning about values and beliefs, and moving to action. Very similar to Ignatian pedagogy

“Rhetoric is a practical discipline; it has a strong tradition that merges theory and praxis in the concrete conditions of performance, especially as these are realized in democratic societies.” (42)

Students need rhetoric – need to learn how to present their ideas, understand their audience, evaluate their sources and claims, negotiate between different perspectives, see the connection between ethics and action. Rhetoric is needed in a democratic society (so a small elite does not take over power.)

Ideas for the assessment of a first-year writing and speaking course: students develop analytical skills, performance skills (written and spoken), invention skills, an awareness of language, civic skills, consequences of rhetoric

call for K-12 and university educators to come together in the Association for Rhetoric Scholars to talk about rhetorical education, collaborate, work together

Byron, Why Jesuits Are in Higher Education

Byron, William J. “Why Jesuits Are in Higher Education.” In Jesuit Saturdays: Sharing the Ignatian Spirit with Friends and Colleagues. Ignatian Spirituality.com http://ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-voices/education-arts-and-sciences/why-jesuits-are-in-higher-education/

Byron explains that the root of Ignatian spirituality is cultivating discernment through a search of God’s will. Through discernment, people are prepared to choose wisely.

Ignatian pedagogy tries to provide the kind of environment (and with the teacher, a guide) that will help students in this journey towards discernment, wisdom, and God’s love. Students must be active and willing seekers in order for this education to happen.

Notes and Quotes

“In education, as in all else, the Jesuit is not content with simple efficiency—doing something right. Rather, he wants to be effective, which means doing the right thing. ”

“God is in all things human” – the bottom line of Catholic Christian humanism

IgnatianSpirituality.com, Education, Arts, and Sciences

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“Education, Arts, and Sciences.” Ignatian Spirituality.com http://ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-voices/education-arts-and-sciences/

This website contains a wide variety of resources about Ignatian pedagogy, Jesuit higher education, Jesuit secondary education, and about the Jesuit approach to arts, humanism, the sciences.

Many of the links are to essays, articles, videos, and presentations by key international thinkers about Jesuit education and organizations like the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Jesuit Pedagogy, The Notebook

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“Jesuit Pedagogy.” The Notebook 11.4

This is a special issue about Jesuit pedagogy published by The Notebook, a publication at Saint Louis University through the Reinert Center for Teaching Excellence. It includes reflections from faculty across a wide variety of disciplines about how they incorporate Jesuit and Ignatian principles in their teaching.

Ignatian Pedagogy, The Notebook

“Ignatian Pedagogy.” The Notebook 13.1

This is a special issue about Ignatian Pedagogy, published in The Notebook, a publication from the Reinert Center for Teaching Excellence at Saint Louis University. The issue reflects on a 2-day workshop on Ignatian pedagogy.

Hammond, Jay. “Two Simple Techniques that Build Rapport with Students”

Hammond emphasizes the importance of a close teacher-student relationship in Ignatian pedagogy and suggests two ways that teachers can help build those relationships. The first is coming to class early to ask students how they are and how their day is going; the second is quodlibit (what you please), inviting students to ask questions on or off topic. The quodlibit was standard pedagogical practice in medieval institutions. Both ideas also cultivate an environment of conversation, encouraging students to talk and discuss in the classroom.

Sharff, Darcy. “Jesuit Principles We Already Use.”

Sharff notes that her faculty at the School of Public Health already put into place several key tenets of Ignatian pedagogy: asking students to reflect on their experiences, providing students with feedback, and encouraging the cultivation of student-teacher relationships.

Greenbaum, Talmudic Rhetoric

Greenbaum, Andrea  “Talmudic rhetoric: Explorations for writing, reading, and teaching.”  In Judaic perspectives in rhetoric and composition studies. Greenbaum, Andrea; Deborah Holdstein (Eds.), Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press (2009).  151-169.

Greenbaum explains some key features of Talmudic rhetoric (which has Greek influences) and points to ways Talmudic rhetoric can be used by teachers of writing as an alternative mode of rhetorical instruction in the writing classroom. Talmudic rhetoric points to deep philosophical and religious beliefs in the Judaic tradition – it is a cultural rhetoric.

Notes and Quotes

Rhetorical devices it uses: heteroglossia, metaphor, polysemy, dialogic discourse, discursive critique, imagistic narrative, juxtaposition, associative logic, nonlinearity, social consciousness

The Talmud has no page one – you begin in the middle (in media res) – which contrasts traditional linear Aristotiliean rhetoric. That has a rhetorical purpose – the discussion and studying of the Talmud has not beginning or ending, everyone who does it is part of the conversation.

Heteroglossia: Commentaries on the text are on the page, in the margins – multiple points of view on one page; multiple languages (Hebrew and Aramaic primarily, but influences with Greek, French, German) that gives the Talmud a complex cultural and linguistic identity

Highlights the contrast between faith and reason: it is rich in metaphor, stories, tales, advice, medical cures, philosophy and history. It has to be interpreted on a variety of levels.

“Judaic hermeneutics emphasizes what cannot be seen” as opposed to the highly visible ideas and rhetorics (and idea of God) in Christian or Greek rhetoric. (158)

The power of language – words do things (Let there be light), people change their names to reflect new identities, concept of “nomancy” – “the ability to create an alternative reality and identity through language” (161)

Talmudic rhetoric is not utilitarian – its purpose is to seek the truth (162) It has connections to Aristotle’s mythos

“Acts of kindness are inherently related to literacy” (167)

Bizzell, Rhetorical Agendas

Bizzell, Patricia (Ed.). Rhetorical agendas: Political, ethical, spiritual (Proceedings of the 11th biennial conference of the Rhetoric Society of America, May 28-31, 2004, Austin Texas). 2006.

These essays were collected from the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2004 conference, which called for papers based on the theme Rhetorical Agendas: Political, Ethical, Spiritual, and the conference featured speakers who took up the theme to talk about a wide range of histories, theories, and pedagogies.

Bizzell argues against the postmodern idea that human beings have no agency, claiming that rhetoric is based on the idea that individual rhetors have choices (constrained, yes, but still have agency), and part of what scholars of rhetoric do is “investigate the conditions that produce rhetorical agency” (xi).

In the collection:

Faigley, Lester. “Rhetorics Fast and Slow.” 3-9.

Faigley distinguishes between “fast rhetoric,” the rhetoric that seems to define our information-saturated, fast-paced world, and “slow rhetoric,” a kind of rhetoric that encourages students and people to think deeply and consider problems from multiple points of view. He argues that developing pedagogies of “slow rhetoric” can better equip students to deal with and solve the complex problems of our world.

“That most of our problems are human-created is both a cause for optimism and depression. Many problems could be addressed if people choose to do so. Yet a sense of inevitability – that nothing can be done – pervades our culture. Fast rhetorics are manifestation of a culture that suffers from attention deficit disorder, a culture where things are quickly used and discarded, a culture where the abuse of the environment and gaping inequalities are ignored. As Jackie Royster puts it, we need better ways of being and better ways of doing. We need pedagogies that encourage students to develop a sense of place, a sense of stewardship, a sense of equity, and a sense of connectedness to the world around them. We need to make better arguments about the value of slow rhetoric and be more imaginative about creating spaces where slow rhetoric can be practiced. The fate of future generations will depend on how well the students we teach can use slow rhetoric” (9).

Gold, Rhetoric at the Margins

Gold, David . Rhetoric at the Margins: Revising the History of Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1873-1947.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press , 2007.

Gold challenges a monolithic history of rhetorical education based on Eastern liberal arts institutions by describing the rhetorical education practices at three Texas institutions between 1873-1947. By showing the unique, context-specific rhetorical education at Wiley College (private all-black liberal arts college), Texas Women’s University in Denton (public women’s university), and East Texas Normal College in Commerce (independent teacher-training school), Gold argues that the history of rhetorical education is far more complex than we think. At all these institutions, rhetorical education played a key role in encouraging community and civic responsibility and connecting education to students’ day-to-day realities. The rhetorical pedagogy in these three institutions helped to educate previously underserved students (blacks, women), preparing them to take on leadership roles in their local communities.

Historiography discussion in the Introduction – microhistory, local history, third-wave history, archival history

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