Overview of Pedagogical Approaches

Process Pedagogy:

Focus on the writing process which is brought this into the classroom

Class time is spent on writing, exploring, prewriting and discovery techniques rather than on the teacher lecturing

Students’ own experience is a primary source

The students are encouraged to think of themselves as writers

There are different and sometimes opposing strands within the process movement.

Process pedagogy was developed in the 1970s, inspired by the changing attitude to education that the 1960s fostered. It was a reaction against the dominant current-traditional approach to teaching composition, and it gained popularity throughout the eighties.


Expressive Pedagogy:

Focus on developing authentic voice

Puts the student writer in the center of the writing process

Focuses on the student’s development as an individual and on developing the student’s ability to assert her-/himself and become an active citizen.

Expressivism shares roots with process pedagogy and the particularly the ideas voiced by such scholars as Donald Murray and Peter Elbow


Rhetorical Pedagogy:

Focus on the relative usefulness of the history of rhetoric and composition

Focus on the ideologies inherent in the teaching of rhetoric and composition – or teaching as such

Also includes the application of rhetorical analysis to other kinds of texts than written ones


Cultural Studies and Composition:

Reflects the increased attention to the mass media and pop culture in the teaching of composition

Concerned with the breaking down the dichotomies of high and low art within class structures

Furthers such aspects of composition as ideological awareness and critique, attention to cultural codes, literacy, and issues of race and gender, connected to liberatory pedagogy and interdisciplinary/collaborative pedagogies


Critical Pedagogy:

Focuses on power relations, critical awareness, critical examination of dominant discourses, developing students as citizens, often linked to liberatory pedagogies

Origin: 60s process movement, resurfaced in the 70s because of the political climate


Feminist Pedagogy:

Uses gender as a starting point for discussing subjectivity

Asks what’s not there in standard text/student writing to bring out neglected aspect of a story

Investigates ideas about gender critically

Focus on investigate ideology and culture


Collaborative Pedagogy:

Sees knowledge as a social construction

Questions traditional notions of authorship

Emphasizes the relevance of cooperation outside the university


Basic Writing Pedagogy:

Critically reflects on what basic writing means and whether it should be taught separately from other writing courses

Concerned with ensuring that everyone who wants to has access to college


Service Learning Pedagogy:

Calls for a closer relationship between community and classroom

Emphasizes the benefits of service learning for student and community


WAC Pedagogy:

Puts academic conventions in a cross disciplinary perspective

Tries to teach students basic skills they can transfer to discipline specific writing

Focus on writing as an integral part of all disciplines


Writing Center Pedagogy:

Looks at the individual student instead of the finished product

Discusses the settings of tutoring and what challenges virtual learning environments pose

Discusses the place of the writing center at the university and the perception professors have of it


Multimodal Pedagogy:

Focus on teaching with technology/new media/internet resources

Focus in the importance of developing students’ technological literacies

Discusses differences and similarities between the composition process in different media


Sustainable Teaching Pedagogy:

Focus on establishing practices/assignments/institutional structures that will support teaching beyond the span of a single semester


Things I didn’t expect to find on the blogs…

I didn’t have any specific expectations when I started, but I guess one thing that did kind of strike me was the overt criticism of specific institutional practices or organizations. Also, although I had expected the blogs to be relatively informal in tone and to contain a mixture of personal and professional entries, I was still occasionally suprised at the proximity of politics, professional concerns, recipes, and baby pictures. I don’t know if I would like to have by different selves so closely aligned in a site that could be quoted… Yet, as Krause remarked this might have something to do with status and job security, and I can see that keeping them together is a statement of the personal-professional dichotomy itself.

And here are some “not so official” things I didn’t expect (but enjoyed):

Krause provided this quote in a response to an article on declining student moral:

[Krause] I never tire of this passage from Isocrates’ Antidosis written 2400 years ago:

Yes, and you have brought it about that the most promising of our young men are wasting their youth in drinking-bouts, in parties, in soft living and childish folly, to the neglect of all efforts to improve themselves; while those of grosser nature are engaged from morning until night in extremes of dissipation which in former days an honest slave would have despised. You see some of them chilling their wine at the “Nine-fountains”; others, drinking in taverns; others, tossing dice in gambling dens; and many, hanging about the training-schools of the flute-girls.And as for those who encourage them in these things, no one of those who profess to be concerned for our youth has ever haled them before you for trial, but instead they persecute me, who, whatever else I may deserve, do at any rate deserve thanks for this, that I discourage such habits in my pupils.


And I particularly enjoyed this comment from Ratliff which I take to be a comment on election rhetoric (tags: “supposedly rhetoric” and “supposedly politics”):


















Pros and Cons of Steven Krause’s and Clancy Ratliff’s blogs as Professional Development Events

Shared pros: they shoved the human side of academia and academics that department people profiles leave out. I particularly appreciated reading Krause’s entry on skimming where he uses his own experience as an undergraduate who occasionally failed to get through all the reading for a course as a way to argue that skimming was an established study (mis)habit before the internet. Both blogs also revealed snippets of the process of developing a course and the considerations that go into assignment choices, and that I found where interesting and helpful.

Shared cons: some entries were very institution or course specific, and therefore didn’t had little interest to the field in general. 

Additional Krause pro/con: the danger of following link after link after link into the land of neverending Youtube and College Humor procrastination.

Clancy Ratliff (Blog Review)


Surveyed October-November 2008

Clancy Ratliff’s blog has no direct purpose statement, but it seems to function as an outlet for personal as well as academic developments/concerns with the added function of serving as a kind of database and discussion forum for scholars who share Ratliff’s scholarly interests. It has an online portfolio of posts related to rhetoric, digital media, and feminist theory. The posts range from exam responses to exam questions to drafts for encyclopedia entries and conference notes. The portal tab on CultureCat furthermore provides links to academic articles, wikis, podcasts, and websites on a multitude of different topics related to rhetoric and composition, some of which echo Ratliff’s interests in gender, computers and composition, Kenneth Burke, and the ethics of publication. The blog also contains a list of citations for scholarly articles in the form of a link to Ratliff’s citeulike account. Finally, the blog accumulate news from various news services on anything from dvd releases to upcoming courses in areas related to Ratliff’s scholarly interests.

 Clancy Ratliff, author of CultureCat, got her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication with a minor in Feminist Studies in 2006. Her dissertation was entitled “Where Are the Women?” Rhetoric and Gender in Weblog Discourse, and it indicates the joint interest in technology and ethics that can be seen throughout her research. Her publications deal with topics such as feminist theory, Kenneth Burke, postmodernism, computers and composition, intellectual property, especially challenges to conventional copyright law such as social commons, technical writing, and knowledge construction in online networking. Her latest publications are focused on feminist theory as well as questions of gender in the blogosphere. Ratliff is currently an Assistant Professor and Director of the First-Year Writing in the Department of English at University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she teaches a wide range of composition courses.

The blog entries on CultureCat are organized according a number of different tags such as personal, miscellany, food and cooking, composition pedagogy, what passes for politics/rhetoric, feminism, academia, rhetoric, technology and culture and so forth. The personal and miscellaneous entries are the most frequent in the period I have surveyed the blog, but academia and composition pedagogy are close rivals. Personal and miscellaneous entries deal primarily with Ratliff’s son, ironic comments on news items and youtube videos, and bullet points on ideas and thoughts. Entries on composition pedagogy deal with such things as assignments in first-year composition, the main example being a list of reasons for using personal narratives as the first assignment in first-year composition inspired by a lecture by Bruce Horner which Ratliff attended. One of Horner’s argument was that individual and social are not “uniform and monolithic” and that therefore the use of personal narratives should not be seen as something that excluded social issues. The comments on this entry deal with the difference between personal narrative and essays that use personal experience as a starting point for discussion, examples of how personal narratives/essays can be used in class or what the alternatives are, and people who attended the lecture expand on Ratliff’s comments. Most entries in academia are calls for papers or job openings, but they often include a little commentary of varying levels of formality. For example, a post which advertises the opening of a web editing position at CCCC also comments on CCCC’s webpage and use of Blogger and this entry in turn spawns a small discussion of the development on the CCCC webpage.

The tone of the entries is relatively informal and naturally more so in the personal entries than the academic ones. This also goes for the comments to the academic entries which probably have to do with the fact that you need an account to in order to post comments. The debate generally appears to be one among people who are familiar with each other and who are associated with some of the same organizations such as CCCC or journals such as Kairos. Also, the topics under discussion, while touching on theory, have more to do with pedagogy and organizational issues in the field which might also account for the relatively informal tone.

 Ratliff’s interests and the resources she makes available on her blog align her with some of the theory we have dealt with in our sections on feminism, multimodal composition, and rhetoric (specifically Kenneth Burke). Her attention to the question of gender in the blogosphere recalls the arguments made by a number of scholars that the internet does not necessarily erase offline inequalities. This argument was made, for example, by Samantha Blackmon in her treatment of issues of access to technology according to social position and representation of different cultures and social groups on the internet. Ratliff would most like be in line with Blackmon’s call for teaching that aims to make students able to assume a measure of control over representations on the internet and feel more comfortable using it. Ratliff’s scholarly work on postmodernism and feminism also indicates that she is engaging with the changing challenges to feminism outline in Susan C. Jarret’s “Feminist Pedagogy.” Ratliff’s entry on personal narratives furthermore reveals her concern with writing as empowerment, something which is central to feminist as well as critical and expressivist pedagogy.  Her interest in Kenneth Burke would furthermore suggest that she is concerned with language as a social act and with the ideology that underpins it. In terms of multimodal composition, Ratliff is obviously part of the group of scholars who do not merely call for, but also engage with and enact teaching with technology.

Resources and Announcements


Feminisms and Rhetorics conference, which follows below. Bravo to Michigan State for taking out the parentheses — as in feminism(s), rhetoric(s). If we’re going to use the plural, let’s use the plural.


The Louisiana Association for College Composition, http://la-cc.org/



 Enculturation and The Writing Instructor, http://enculturation.gmu.edu/

Job Openings

Web Editor, CCCC (posted on 30 Sept – link no longer functional)

Assistant professor position in emerging communication technologies and digital media, including video and gaming, and with emphasis on production, University of Texas in Austin.  Application deadline is October 31, 2008. Email a letter of application, curriculum vita, dissertation abstract, and statement of teaching philosophy (no longer than one page) to Search Committee Chair Clay Spinuzzi at clay.spinuzzi@mail.utexas.edu.


Full-time, nine-month faculty position beginning fall semester 2009 (August 31, 2009) at the Department of Writing Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.

http://www2.cla.umn.edu/admin/faculty-research/CLAFacultySearchesFY09.html (scroll down to Writing Studies and click on the link)



Steven Krause (Blog Review)

Surveyed October-November 2008 

Steven Krause describes his website in the following way “This is the blog/homepage/portal for one Steven D. Krause, aka Professor Steven D. Krause, aka Steve, aka sitedad, aka a host of names not repeatable here. It used to be two different blogs, but now it is one. Why? Read more here if you really want to know.” Briefly, the decision to put the two blogs – the official (academic, school related) and unofficial (politics, family, etc.) – together was taken after Krause realized that most people who read one, read the other too. Krause maintains that the two are different and should be kept so and therefore keeps them separate on the blog through tagging, and the link sections are divided into academic and non-academic as well. Even the About section features both a “professional” and a “not so professional biography.”


Steven Krause has a Phd in rhetoric and writing and is currently a Professor at the Department of English and Literature at Eastern Michigan University. His research interests are in the area of computers and composition, specifically the use of online communication technology in teaching. He is currently working on a book about blogs as writerly spaces. In addition to his scholarly publications, he has also published a number of short stories. He courses deal with the intersections of writing and technology and currently include the courses: Writing, Style, and Technology and Rhetoric of Science and Technology.


Steven Krause is a very prolific and varied blogger (and entertaining), so in order to be able to say something that is somewhat focused I’ve chosen to focus on those of his entries during the last eight weeks that had academically related tags. The majority of these posts were devoted to “reminders” of and links to articles that Krause thought might be useful for future and present courses. The courses most frequently referred to are 516 and 328, which, research shows, are code names for Krause’s current and future course in Computers and Writing, Theory and Practice and Writing, Style, and Technology respectively. The texts and sites Krause links to and briefly comments on are most often related to such issues as copyright/creative commons, social networking sites and their usefulness or lack thereof to teaching, the effect of internet usage on study habits, and so forth. As his research interests and courses indicate, Krause is openly supportive of the need to investigate and make use of social networking and internet searching in teaching, but he also critically reflect on this usages and the risks they entail both inside and outside the classroom, particularly when it comes to privacy issues.  Krause also adds perspectives such as the fact that concerns about the effect of new technologies on learning go back to the invention of writing. Another recurrent feature is Krause’s commentary on his own workload and the life of an academic. While some of these entries are humorous and remark on his tendency to procrastinate, some of them remark on the institutional structures that shape the work load of academics and occasionally incorporate points from discussions with non-academics (often relatives) about their perspective on academic work loads and tenure systems. 

The tone is very informal and self-conscious of that fact. Krause will occasional begin an entry with a disclaimer about the non-pc nature of the material. The informality of the tone probably stems partly from the fact that Krause’s interest in social networking sites and video composition in classrooms often overlap with his affinity for youtube videos that comment on these things humorously. Krause also openly acknowledges in his about section that he can allow himself to take a lot of liberties on his blog because “the fact of the matter is I do have the protection of academic freedom and tenure and the union. So I think I would have post something pretty crazy to even get noticed by some administrator, let alone get fired.” Also, while Krause’s entries to get occasional comments (which seem to be mostly from friends and colleagues), it appears as though many of his entries, at least the ones relating to the development of his courses, work to a large extent as a kind of note-to-self.  This might also explain the relatively informal tone.


The one essay we’ve read by Krause in the course, “When Blogging Goes Bad: A Cautionary Tale About Blogs, Emailing Lists, Discussion, and Interaction,” had led me to expect a more conservative or cautionary approach to teaching with technology than what is been my impression from reading the blog. There is definitely a critical edge to Krause’s engagement with technology and the usage of internet sites, but the enthusiasm definitely seems to have the upper hand. We read Krause’s essay as part of the unit on collaboration, and it is clear from his course descriptions that this is something he actively implements. It is also clear from his entries and course descriptions that he engages with video composition as well as blogging and list servs. Furthermore, his entries on copyright and social commons recall the views on copyright expressed in some of the texts we dealt with in our multimodal section of the course such as WIDE, “Why Teach Digital Writing.”


Resources and Announcements 


Power Moby-Dick

Working Through Screens

Center for Social Media at American University

Digital Culture Books

A Scott McCloud page about his work on the comic book to explain Google’s browser


Timothy McSweeney, “Fire: The Next Sharp Stick?”

Review of “Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video”

“The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education”

Inside Higher Education, “Taking Facebook Back to Campus”

“Brave New Classroom 2.0 (New Blog Forum)”

“New Study Shows Time Spent Online Important for Teen Development”

Nick Carr,“Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

“Rethinking research in the Google era”

David Carr,“Mourning Old Media’s Decline”

James Harkin,“Net prophets”  

Video Interview

Sustainable Students?