For our online discussion questions this week, I have attempted to pull some questions from each of the readings in order to generate an online discussion environment. Some ask merely for your thoughts on the readings while others are formulated in a somewhat activity style. You don’t have to answer every question (although it is encouraged, of course) but you might want to considered a few questions in order to be a part of the discussion. Once you’ve posted (even if it is on Thursday), I am suggesting that everyone come back at some point to check on what other people are writing as well. If you don’t check back, it just becomes another post…not a discussion. Thanks all!!!
James Berlin: “Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories”
Berlin’s piece discusses the 4 major rhetorical groups and gives a short explanation of their beliefs and approaches toward writing. Of the Neo-Aristotelians/Classicists, the Positivists/Current-Traditionalists, the New-Platonists/Expressionists, and the New Rhetoricians, James Berlin believes the New Rhetoricians are the “most intelligent and most practical alternative available, serving in every way the best interests of our students” (Berlin 766). Do you agree with Berlin? Remember that when evaluating each group, you want to look at how each of them address what I call in my notes “The Big 4″. Writer, reality, reader, and language. Also consider Berlin’s statement that, “the Positivist or Current-Traditional group clearly dominates thinking about writing instruction today” (Berlin 769).
Which group do you see yourself falling into as a potential future writing instructor? OR If you are already a writing teacher, which group do you currently fall into?
Peter Elbow: “Writing Without Teachers”
Firstly, what are your thoughts of Elbow’s teacherless classroom? What are some of the benefits to it? What are some of the drawbacks to it? Does removing the “authority” in the writing classroom seem effective to you?
Elbow talks about a successful teacherless classroom having created “a precious culture to be preserved” (Elbow 139). He calls this creation of culture the Yogurt Model. As students that are traveling in and out of classrooms, and eventually as teachers running these classrooms, how can we contribute to the culture in order to create and keep Elbow’s yogurt culture alive?
Finally, on pages 142, 143, and 144 of the article, Elbow creates a checklist of milestones he recalls in from his own learning process and writing experience. Try and create your own mini-list that recounts your major miles stones in writing.
David Bartholomae: “Writing with Teachers: A Conversation with Peter Elbow”
While Peter Elbow argued for a teacherless classroom, David Bartholomae believes that there cannot be a classroom without a teacher. He believes that there is no writing that is writing without teachers because there is no writing within the academy that is not academic writing. Bartholomae writes, “to offer academic writing as something else is to keep this knowledge from our students, to keep them from confronting the power of politics of discursive practice, or to keep them from confronting the particular representations of power, tradition and authority reproduced whenever one writes” (Bartholomae 64).
Do you agree with Peter Elbow that there needs to be a teacherless classroom where students learn from the experiences they create or with David Bartholomae that there must be an authority or power present in the classroom in order to create academic writing?
I think that should get us off to a good start. I look forward to reading and responding to your posts. Thanks again.