ERIC Number: ED344221
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar-20
Reference Count: N/A
Balancing Politically Charged Social Issues in Freshman Composition: The Ethical Epistemic Approach.
"Politically correct" is a pejorative label applied to activities that in some way question, subvert, or threaten the dominant power structure. In discussing how best to educate students, some composition professionals assume that the composition classroom can be made apolitical. Freshman English, like all classes, is politicized already, and its political assumptions should be made overt. Teaching becomes indoctrination unless the assumptions behind a discipline are exposed and discussed. An alternative to the overtly political classroom can be called the ethical epistemic approach to teaching. The approach assumes that: (1) composition is a study of written language use; (2) content is more important than form in producing intelligent, interesting papers; and (3) texts, including freshman essays, participate in and express the views of the dominant cultural system. In this new approach, the freshman composition classroom is run as an ongoing writing workshop. During the semester, students write essays on whatever topics they choose and evaluate each other's work. Students are encouraged to question research sources and their writing for underlying ideologies hidden in familiar, rarely-questioned concepts. The ethical epistemic approach seeks to achieve a balance between indoctrination and the pretense of depoliticization while still promoting writing skills. (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Issues; Politically Correct Communication
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).