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ERIC Number: ED430230
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Applied This, Applied That, and the Other: The Counterproductive Professionalization of Composition Teaching.
Zorn, Jeff
Recent books and scholarly journals directed to English composition teachers reveal something like conceptual chaos, a Babel of mutually unintelligible academic tongues. "New Professional Compositionism" has taken a fundamentally wrong view of the relationship between knowledge (including theoretical knowledge) and practice. An examination of case studies of such "applied" scholarship leads to a "reactionary" view of what is left after the dust settles. Albert Kitzhaber published an influential study of college writing instruction, "Themes, Theories, and Therapy," (1963) in which he opined that in the future, college English departments would no longer have to offer writing courses but could teach literature (as they had been trained) because high schools would demand more rigorous work from their students. The fault lines of generative/transformational grammar's "implications for practice" clearly manifested themselves in the research of Kellogg Hunt into syntactic maturity and the subsequent curriculum projects aimed at syntactic maturity acceleration. The classroom-oriented John Mellon and Frank O'Hare developed programs of sentence-combining drills for high school students, habituating them to write longer, denser clauses. But English teachers rated Mellon's control group's less syntactically mature writing as "better" writing. Sidney Dobrin's "Constructing Knowledges" (1997) expresses enthusiasm for recent composition theory. For students, "What works?" is the pertinent question, not "From what research findings, epistemologies, political ideologies, and other theories should the profession derive its direction?" (Contains 23 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A