ERIC Number: EJ788573
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Reference Count: 8
Interchanges: Commenting on Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle's "Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions"
Miles, Libby; Pennell, Michael; Owens, Kim Hensley; Dyehouse, Jeremiah; O'Grady, Helen; Reynolds, Nedra; Schwegler, Robert; Shamoon, Linda
College Composition and Communication, v59 n3 p503-511 Feb 2008
In this article, the authors comment on Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle's "Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions." As Downs and Wardle note, a one-year academic writing course will not prepare students to write in all fields, and evidence suggests limitations on the transfer of skills. The authors agree, in addition, that the study of writing qua writing is legitimate. They do not agree, however, with Downs and Wardle's dismissal of the importance of teaching situated procedural knowledge at the first-year level. First-year courses rooted in the concept of "rhetorical situation" typically ask students to approach different contexts and tasks from different directions. In such courses, practices and strategies are being taught and knowledge from the field is readily offered without miring all students in the specialized discourse of an advanced discipline. From their perspective, then, Downs and Wardle's course sequence--in which the only rhetorical situation worth writing for is the scholarly research article--is simply not rhetorical enough. They reject such a view. Downs and Wardle share with many others in the field a limiting and limited perspective: a continuing emphasis on first-year composition (FYC) as a predominant frame for defining the authors' work. They believe that as a result of its first-year focus, Downs and Wardle's proposal limits disciplinary thinking. The authors advocate an approach extending beyond the first year, based on a more complex and inclusive view of Writing Studies, and on an alternative vision of how first-year courses might function. As a response to Downs and Wardle, the authors suggest a more generative framework: thinking vertically.
Descriptors: Curriculum Design, Writing (Composition), Misconceptions, Rhetorical Theory, Rhetorical Criticism, Freshman Composition, Curriculum Evaluation, Review (Reexamination), Reader Response
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A