ERIC Number: ED344207
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Not Hearing Voices: Bakhtin and Development in the Composition Classroom.
Students in college composition courses should experiment with a variety of discourse styles--referential, persuasive, literary, and expressionistic--as opposed to a more traditional focus on the mastery of academic discourse. David Bartholomae assigns freshmen writers the goal of becoming like academics by assuming a "language not their own." However, the attainment of such a goal may not be best served by privileging academic discourse alone, for three reasons: undergraduates do not have access to a single community of scholars; they do not usually communicate ideas requiring academic discourse; and students may have a fairly clear idea of what they need. Instead, teachers might superimpose the model of the assimilation of discourse as introduced in Mikhail Bakhtin's essay,"Discourse in the Novel," thereby downplaying the privileging of one style over another. For Bakhtin, assimilation is the process of turning authoritative discourse into internally persuasive discourse. Several points concerning Bakhtinian assimilation suggest a different climate for the composition classroom: (1) Bakhtin does not rank internally persuasive discourse over authoritative discourse; (2) Bakhtin does not privilege any particular style of discourse; and (3) assimilation is both subjective and selective. The goal of composition instructors should be to create an environment in which a number of languages can be tried on like hats, allowing the customers to choose whichever is most suitable. Thus, instead of enforcing a particular style, teachers should listen more closely to the voices presented by their students. (HB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bartholomae (David); Mikhail Bakhtin; Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).