Revolution Lullabye

May 26, 2011

Covino, Rhetorical Pedagogy

Covino, William A.  “Rhetorical Pedagogy.” In A Guide to Composition Pedagogies. Eds. Tate, Rupiper, and Schick. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. 36-52.

Covino explains rhetorical pedagogy as one of the possibilities writing teachers can employ when teaching composition. Corbin also describes the history of rhetorical education from ancient times to its “fall” with Ramus in the 17th century, to the move toward current-traditionalist rhetoric in the 18th and 19th centuries, to the resurrgence of new rhetorics (Burke, Richards, etc) in the 20th century.

Rhetorical pedagogy emphasizes a deliberate attention to the history of rhetoric and to rhetorical theory, using concepts from rhetoric to help develop students’ flexibility as writers. Instead of using formulas or set “modes” to teach writing, rhetorical pedagogy encourages students to develop their ability to invent, be attentive to kairos and constraints of audience and context, and think about the broader ethical consequences of rhetoric.

Notes and Quotes

Crowley, Corbett, Schiappa, Enos, Jarratt, Murphy, Kennedy, Lunsford, Knoblauch and Brannon, Horner

Uses ancient, modern, postmodern rhetorical theory

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Enos and Miller, Beyond Postprocess and Postmodernism

Enos, Theresa and Keith D. Miller; with Jill McCracken (Eds.). Beyond postprocess and postmodernism: Essays on the spaciousness of rhetoric. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum (2004).

This collection centers on a discussion of Corderian Rhetoric (Jim Corder), a rhetoric that plays between narrative, creative nonfiction, expressivism, classical rhetoric, and academic discourse, asking in various essays how this rhetoric can impact the field’s scholarship and teaching. It looks to see how the field might begin to value nonacademic, nonprofessional writing and rhetoric, including expressive writing, seeing it as something to be practiced and theorized as a legitimate way of knowing.

Corder advocates dialogic rhetoric with the goal of discussion and dialogue instead of “winning” an argument.

Quotes and Notes

A collection inspired by and dedicated to Jim Corder (“Argument as Emergence; Rhetoric as Love”); Corderian rhetoric, pushing boundaries of academic/nonacademic rhetoric, style – a combination of classical rhetoric and expressivism

“Certainly, rhetoric and composition studies is now – and perhaps has always been – a complex field characterized by agreements and tensions, as bodies of thought crash, merge, and shift like the tectonic plates of the earth’s surface” (vii)

“gentle persuasion” (ix)

Corder wrote Uses of Rhetoric, was a friend of Winterowd, Berlin, Corbett, Kinneavy, D’Angelo, Burke.

Explored ancient, modern, postmodern rhetoric, weaving them together in his own thinking.

Fleming, Becoming Rhetorical

Fleming, David.   “Becoming rhetorical: An education in the topics.”   In Bahri, Deepika; Joseph Petraglia (Eds.), The realms of rhetoric: Inquiries into the prospects for rhetoric education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2003.

Fleming shows, through an investigation of the topics (topoi), how there is true rhetorical knowledge and how that knowledge can push students to develop in discursive ability. He calls for scholars and teachers of rhetoric to turn back to the heart of rhetoric, which depends upon a multiyear curriculum where students have the opportunity to develop, naturally and deeply, as rhetoricians influenced by ethics and virtue towards civic, responsible ends. He warns against rudimentary definitions of rhetoric  – “checklists” of terms and ideas divorced from a larger ethical base – and also all-encompassing theories of rhetoric that, in their largeness, make rhetoric also meaningless. The goal of rhetoric, Fleming argues, is not so much to transmit a certain kind of knowledge but to develop a certain kind of person, an ethical, productive, civically-minded, knowledgable leader. That development depends on practice, imitation, exercises, and repetition.

Topics depend on understanding the commonplaces of a particular culture – what that culture values, what opinions are generally accepted, the “endoxa”  of a community, what allows people to meet together on the same ground.

Rhetorical education, Fleming argues, can’t hope that students will absorb a rhetorical sensibility through mere exposure to many different disciplines and ways of knowing, the foundation of liberal arts education. Rather, rhetorical education needs to help students develop a rhetorical self-consciousness, flexible but still concrete in vocabulary and purpose, “an art that, once learned, confers on students a genuine practical and ethical ability” (105).

Fleming, with this goal in mind, proposes a richer, teachable theory of the topics that includes five broad categories of rhetorical knowledge: 1. circumstantial knowledge; 2. verbal formulae, 3. common sense; 4. models of textual development; and 5. logical norms.

Notes and Quotes

“The topics we organize this way shuold be infinitely malleable, capable of being adapted and used in multiple ways in different situations. What I am after, in other words, is a theory that can accomodate diverse kinds of resources, one that is focused on situated practice in particular communities, and one that sees the words and things of those communities as practically plastic in the hands of its speakers, hearers, writers, and readers” (104).

rhetoric can’t be taught in one course – it needs to be infused into an entire curriculum

“Where classical rhetoric took a remarkably precise language and dedicated it to an ambitious political-ethical project, the new rhetoric takes a highly elastic vocabulary and puts it to rather trivial ends” (93).

topics: “an ancient set of pedagogical resources designed to help speakers and writers invent arguments for public debate” (94): “My appraoch will be to see the topics as a species of political knowledge that, through theory and practice, can be made part of the student’s very character” (94)

“Rhetoric is at once overburdened and underburdeded with content” (94) – the challenge is to find a place between particularilty and generality (95)

the topics are commonplaces – places to go to discover arguments, a set of heuristics to help invention

connection between Toulmin’s warrants and Aristotle’s topics.

modern rhetorical theory has taken out the content and context of the original topics in order to create a more universal form of rhetoric.

Problem: “A theory of argument situated at the intersection of politics [specificity] and logic [generality] will always elude us; the best we can do is choose one path or the other and stick to it, hoping that our students, at least, will learn to merge the two in their practical lives” (103)

need something more substantial than the rhetorical triangle

Fleming’s theory of topics:

  • circumstantial knowledge – context, history, people, places, familiarity
  • verbal formulae – discursive resources and languages of the community, through wide reading and listening
  • common sense – values, truths, preferences that exist in that community
  • modes of textual development – the structures of everyday arguments in the community, patterns, modes, things that direct and shape thought in that community
  • logical norms – the norms that authorize arguments, warrants, inference

The problem of the paper cycle in typical freshman composition classes: (110)

  1. they are too long for close work but too short to do real work: “they are neither the kind of discursive chunk that constitutes an utterance, a move in written or spoken discourse, nor the kind of project that results from weeks, months, or even years of active engagement with real intellectual or practical problems.
  2. they aren’t sequenced developmentally, to build off each other
  3. students work on them too slowly, tediously drafting over and over again

Draws on the ideas of the New London Group: inquiry into a specific text or situation, recursive thinking and writing. Gives example of Brown vs Board of Education  sourcebook

Greene and Orr, First-year College Students Writing across the Disciplines

Greene, Stuart and Amy J. Orr.  “First-year college students writing across the disciplines.”  In Blurring boundaries: Developing writers, researchers and teachers: A tribute to William L. Smith.  O’Neill, Peggy (ed.) Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2007. 123-156.

Students do more argumentative writing in their first-year composition class than in other classes across the disciplines or in their major, where the focus of their writing is to synthesize extant knowledge in the field in order to gain mastery of the material. However, the first year composition’s class emphasis on the disciplinary nature of writing – that writing serves different functions and looks differently in different discourse communities – helps students negotiate later writing assignments. Greene and Orr conducted a four-year longitudinal study of 30 students, collecting their texts, assignments, instructors’ written comments, and interviews with both the students and the instructors in order to investigate the connections between the work they did in their composition classes and the work they did writing in other disciplinary courses. The purpose of their study was to investigate what challenges students face when meeting the shifting demands of writing across the disciplines and also what the critical features are of successful college writers.

Notes and Quotes

Collected 689 student papers as part of the study. They were coded and categorized into four groups: narrative, explanation, argument, interpretative. The claims were categorized into interpretative or evaluative.

Ronald and Ritchie, Asking ‘So What?’

Ronald, Kate and  Joy S. Ritchie  “Introduction: Asking ‘so what?’ Expansive Pedagogies of Experience and Action.” Teaching rhetorica: Theory, pedagogy, practice. Ronald, Kate; Joy S. Ritchie (Eds.),   Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2006. 1-12.

Ronald and Ritchie are co-editors of the collection Teaching Rhetorica, which was designed to question how our practices are affected by women’s rhetorical practices and to recover women’s rhetorical practices in order to expand our definition of rhetoric. With the resurrgence in scholarship about women’s rhetorical practice and rhetorical theory (both contemporary and historical), Ronald and Ritchie ask scholars the all-important ‘So What?’ question – how does the expansion of rhetoric through the inclusion of women change how we practice as teachers, scholars, administrators, and community members? They claim that features of much women’s rhetoric include using experience to discover truth, a move towards action, and attention to context.

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.

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

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