ERIC Number: ED345274
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar-20
Reference Count: N/A
Rhetorical Pedagogy: Ethos and Ethics.
Beliefs about distinct differences between expressive and academic discourse unnecessarily complicate the teaching of writing. A composition pedagogy which fails to attend to the complications arising from the rhetorical aspect of language leads to the promotion of reasoning as separable from context. Reasoning then becomes a skill to be learned in order to prevail, not an activity which shapes itself to the needs of the audience. Academic discourse as skills suggests a commodified view of knowledge, perpetuating a view of the instructor as one who has knowledge. Writing classes best serve students if they persuade them to engage in the effort to reclaim themselves and their culture by engaging in critical inquiry. Peter Elbow (1991) argues that essential differences between academic discourse and ordinary language do not exist, and that both modes present the same features: reasoning and evidence, conventions, etc. Elbow champions the use of personal writing as a means for students to increase the use of writing throughout their lives. However, Elbow insists on emphasizing the learning of conventions. Critical inquiry, a fundamental activity in a democratic society, offers the best approach to the teaching of writing. Classical rhetoric, especially as in dialectical modes described by Plato and Aristotle, provides a basis for composition teaching. By enlisting the rhetorical insights of these philosophers concerning how people are persuaded, composition teachers may be able to show that academic and expressive writing are matters of style and convention which, in turn, are secondary matters contingent upon audience and questions at issue. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aristotle; Elbow (Peter); Expressive Writing; Plato
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).