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ERIC Number: EJ818644
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 47
ISSN: ISSN-1534-9322
Writing between Two Worlds: Science and Discourses of Commitment in the Composition Classroom
Brauer, David
Composition Studies, v34 n1 p71-93 Spr 2006
This article discusses a theoretical aspect of composition studies concerning the development of "an irenic multicultural composition classroom." The author notes that such a classroom environment, where all parties learn how to get along and perhaps learn to "agree to disagree," has been a long-time goal of composition studies theorists. However, such reflective cultural spaces have been difficult to realize because scholars revert to idealizations and political abstractions that tend to create an agonistic environment in which consensus takes a back seat to an emphasis on differences and heterogeneity. Circumstances where this is particularly prevalent are noted in composition course assignments involving a moral component that often creates conflict between personal beliefs among students. The author offers a detailed example of this as it applies to "the collision between a student's personal beliefs and the discourse of the natural sciences." He explains that the pedagogical aspects of scientific discourse, as presented in composition studies classrooms, have only been given inconsistent attention because of a research void within composition studies scholarship. The result appears to oversimplify scientific discourse when presented to composition studies students, treating it as "a discourse about facts that stands in favorable relief next to the values-laden (i.e. ideological) discursive formations of literature and politics." The author provides a number of examples of how writing instructors can combat oversimplification of scientific discourse by presenting their students with writing exercises that help them recognize "how their own preconceived notions about a given topic intersect with the various political, ethical, and scientific discourses that inform the parameters of the topic." The author explains that with this understanding, writing instructors can encourage the development of what he calls "democratic pedagogy," in which students are able to openly discuss classroom topics that differ with their personal beliefs without feeling the need to compromise "in order to either please the instructor or engage the subject in question." The author concludes that students, once they are taught to embrace conflict rather than avoid it, become better critical thinkers who can navigate in the world using "more informed belief and less dogma, scientific or otherwise." (Contains 15 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A