Writing Recognizes and Represents

The Concept 2 reading recapitulates points made in Concept 1 regarding audience recognition, social/rhetorical activity, and technology of writing (to name a few), in addition to introducing new material (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 35-47).  The reiteration not only connects concepts, but it also keeps precepts from the foregoing chapter front and center in my mind.  If this is a template for the entire text, I find it most helpful in reframing my initial thinking that the concepts are too broad.

There was quite a bit of focus on audience in class last week that correlates with something I just read in Concept 2: “People often take school-based assumptions with them long after they leave school…after schooling, if they come deeply embedded in a set of writing practices associated with their profession or career, they…overgeneralize the practices they learn (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 37).”  Although I’m a creative writer, technical writing is so ingrained in my psyche relative to submitting assignments for class coupled with a career writing grant proposals and engineering specifications, that I subconsciously defer to that formula at times.  It’s almost like I’m too emotionally attached to the style to let go.  My first blog post was a glaring representation of my giving way to the inclination.  Brian’s comment on the post alerted me to my need to recognize that I’m leaning toward technical writing when it may not appeal to the audience in this classroom.

Recognize Audience

Concept 2.1 speaks to recognizing the limitations of how we represent the world, events, ideas and feelings relative to communication in writing.  It helps to consider the following statement: “The recognition that different statements representing knowledge circulate in different groups does not mean all representations are equal, but it focuses our attention on procedures and criteria by which these representations enter a communicative network and are evaluated, held accountable, and established as credible…this concept provides a path to a more  detailed understanding of how things reach the status of truth within different communities and the criteria by which truth is held (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 37-39).”  The point is compellingly illustrated in this video.

Concept 2.4 revealed all writing is multimodal.  I’m one who associated multimodality with digital format only.  I now realize texts may be digital in production without being digital in distribution (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 42-43).  An internet search for more material on multimodality in writing led me to a description that enhances my understanding of the concept.

Concept 2.6 relates how recognizing the intertextuality of writing makes knowledge and the examples of text relying on non-written texts peaked my interest (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 44-46).  I came across a publication entitled Uses of Intertextuality in Classroom and Educational Research by David Bloome and Nora Shuart-Faris in my search for more information on the subject.  The book delves into community practices, meaning construction, construction of voice in textual practices, and cognitive and socio-psycholinguistic constructions of intertextuality.  I plan to explore this work further in the not-so-distant future.

Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts for WritingS tudies. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2016. Print.

Bloome, David and Nora Shuart-Faris. Uses of Intertextuality in Classroom and Educational Research. Greenwich: Information Age Publishing, 2004. Print.

3 Replies to “Writing Recognizes and Represents”

  1. The issue of student’s learning a single style and thinking of only that style as dominant “good” writing speaks to my personal experience. I think our education system naturally assumes that students will understand the difference between academic, creative, technical, or rhetorical styles. I disagree. Unless we teach students away from interpreting rhetorical convention as good writing in any context, they will be stuck with this dominant ideas. Take the five-paragraph essay. So many high school students assume that this style is law, when it is just a tool that will probably get them in trouble some day. Yet teachers in pre-college education grade toward it, instead of grading toward an overall essay quality. There are many students who are not creative or don’t “think like writers,” and we will have to teach those students as well. These are the students who thirst for a dominant formula that can be applied to every piece. Unfortunately, writing doesn’t have dominant formulas unless the writer is participating in a niche genre, like news writing.
    The question is, how do we teach away from formula, and is it always possible to do so? I’d be interested in the class’s thoughts.

  2. I too was very informed about the section of reading discussing multimodality, and did an internet search for more information. My search revealed that there are different definitions of multimodality and I’d like to discuss that in class more. I, too, had thought it only referred to digital writing, and would like to learn more about how to effectively use this in a classroom. The link you shared on multimodality was interesting because it discusses pretty much just digital writing, yet I have also come across many sources that it is not. This is something I want to research more.

  3. Arlene,

    I too have a hard time separating my own writing process from the composition I wish to teach students. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a technical writer, but I definitely am not creative either. Concept 2.1 recognizes the limitations of language in differing contexts, and I think this is especially important to highlight in a classroom setting like you did in this post. For technically oriented writers, our language choices wouldn’t be appealing in any other setting. Some might even consider them dull. It is this understanding of language variation and choice as they relate to specific situations that is an important takeaway from this chapter.

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