ERIC Number: ED214176
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Static Abstractions and the Teaching of Writing.
Connors, Robert J.
The element of static abstractions (SAs)--any pseudoheuristic listing of derived nominals whose purpose is to define good structure in prose writing--is one of the important historical components of the current traditional rhetoric inherited from the nineteenth century. SAs, of which unity, coherence, and emphasis are the best known examples, have been the revered "master terms" of hundreds of composition courses. The educational revolution of the 1930s, however, started in motion forces that undercut SAs by reducing the need for them as content in writing courses. After 1960, only a few textbooks used SAs to organize whole chapters, and none used them to organize whole books. Today SAs are found only in outdated texts. One of the main reasons for the failure of SAs to work well is the very abstractness of the terms, which may create a neat descriptive list, but in fact be so general as to be useless as prescription. Today, teachers realize that the convenient generalities of SAs do not help students compose or edit their own work. Perhaps, this experience with SAs will make teachers beware of neat, comprehensive sounding conceptual schemes that are easy to teach but that have no real contact with what students need to learn. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Static Abstractions
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (33rd, San Francisco, CA, March 18-20, 1982).