Constructing Rhetorical Education

Constructing Rhetorical Education

Constructing Rhetorical Education

Constructing Rhetorical Education

Synopsis

In nineteen essays illustrating its many aspects, this book offers an argument for what it takes to construct a complete rhetorical education.

The editors take an approach that is pragmatic and pluralistic, based as it is on the assumptions that a rhetorical education is not limited to teaching freshman composition (or any specific writing course) and that the contexts in which such an education occurs are not limited to classrooms. This thought-provoking volume stresses that while a rhetorical education results in the growth of writing skills, its larger goal is to foster critical thinking.

Excerpt

This book offers an argument for what it takes to construct a complete rhetorical education. It espouses neither a single methodology of composition research (such as process description or ethnography) nor does it adopt a univocal ideological or pedagogical stance (such as expressivism or neo-classicism). Rather, the approach we take here is pragmatic and pluralistic. We assume that a rhetorical education, like all other rhetorical pursuits, is teleological; it pursues definite goals within specific cultural contexts. a rhetorical education is not limited to teaching freshman composition (or any specific writing course), and the contexts in which it occurs are not limited to classrooms. An effective rhetorical education certainly results in the growth of writing skills, but its larger goal is to foster a critical habit of mind.

A rhetorical education requires that all the inhabitants of a classroom understand the grounds of agreement (and disagreement) that underlie the discourse they examine and produce. Although, as teachers, our goal is to help students recognize rhetorical strategies at play in the discourse they read and incorporate them appropriately in what they write, we must also be aware of the rhetorical character of the classroom itself. the grounds of agreement on which we meet our students are influenced by the makeup of the individuals in the room—their ages, genders, cultural heritages, and so on. But the inhabitants of the classroom alone do not determine what goes on there; as we all know, action is also shaped and constrained by the larger institution, including such agents as university . . .

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