real rhetorical situations

JoAnne Podis and Leonard Podis have a pretty good article in the recent College English about in loco parentis. Overall I found it pretty interesting (and it made me think a bit about how I structure assignments and reflect more on the feedback I give students, as well as how I relate to them). But in particular, at this moment, I’m thinking about this passage:

Moreover, it is difficult to put student writers in real rhetorical situations because of the inverted authority of reader and writer that is so typical in English studies, whereby the teacher-reader has greater authority on the subject of the paper than does the student-writer. (130)

This is something I’ve been struggling with, especially in regards to the ideas in my thesis and my desires to, in the words of Collin Brooke, have a classroom with a system of “intelligent agents,” a “centrifugal” system in which students, as writers and producers of knowledge, circulate their writing outward from the classroom.

Brooke, Collin. “Weblogs as Deictic Systems: Centripetal, Centrifugal, and Small-World Blogging.” Computers and Composition Online (Fall 2005). 28 May 2007

Podis, JoAnne, and Leonard Podis. “Pedagogical In Loco Parentis: Reflecting on Power and Parental Authority in the Writing Classroom.” College English 70.2 (November 2007): 121-143.

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One Response to real rhetorical situations

  1. dawn says:

    I work really hard to create a classroom structure that follows the constructivist model. I’m only the expert to a certain degee. The students in the class are also experts. I don’t need the control (nor do I want it) but I want them to feel empowered and feel like their input and responses are as important as any of my own.

    I’ve learned a great deal from the students, about myself, and about how classrooms can work under different structural models because of this.

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