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ERIC Number: ED467285
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Learning How To Fail: Freshman Composition and Social Sorting in an Age of Diminishing Expectations.
Hendricks, William A.
This paper looks at an idea that the fundamental "social" purpose of college composition is not to expand but to contract students' capacities to function in and transform their world. The paper manifests interest in this conception of composition for intellectual, historical, and political reasons--historically, it addresses the contrast between this moment and the post-World War II era in composition when it was often accepted that not only was freshman composition a social sorting mechanism but that of course it should be. According to the paper, one of the most influential sources for composition studies' nervousness about the political and cultural meanings of freshman composition has been the work of Susan Miller. The paper discusses the use of Miller's essays "The Home Colony" and "Composition as a Cultural Artifact: Rethinking History as Theory" (which describes the beginnings of modern freshman composition at Harvard in the 1890s) in a graduate class in composition theory. It then considers the Spring 1993 issue of "Journal of Basic Writing," a special issue which collected papers presented at the fall 1992 National Basic Writing Conference, papers which could be seen as complementary to Miller's work. The paper also describes the experiences with university administrations of two instructors who have been teaching composition for several decades. It finds that in the 1990s, capitalism's conundrum with respect to higher education is how to get the right "kind" of student failure into the mix. (Contains 10 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A