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ERIC Number: ED360635
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Issues in TA Training: Does Postmodernism Preclude Teaching Structure?
Woolever, Kristin R.
A variety of desperate questions come from frustrated teaching assistants who want to teach well but have fallen into the widening gap between postmodern theory and daily practice. Too often, TA training consists of an overwhelming load of postmodern theory insufficiently counterbalanced by practical methods. Does postmodernism preclude teaching methods? Instead of issuing dictates about writing, Helene Cixous would have the writing instructor encourage questions about the nature of the knowledge a student writer is trying to transmit. The following suggestions may be useful for writing teachers: (1) focus on reading discourse as well as writing it; (2) ask students to identify the discourse of authority for various situations (the teachers' role here might be one of devil's advocate as students first look at surface elements such as format and grammar rather than style, their approach to the subject, and the organization of ideas); (3) examine texts to see what is "absent" and to find traces of what is "present"; (4) determine what voices are possible in the text; (5) question whether readers should hear more than one voice; (6) compare the different meanings students as readers construct from the texts; and (7) examine what student texts say to readers and determine how student texts stand up to the above questions. Following these suggestions allows teachers to offer students the tools they need to be full participants in the power struggle of writing. In doing so, they appropriately teach the questions, not the answers. In postmodern society, the answers will inevitably fail. (SAM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A