Friday, July 27, 2007

Final Thoughts on 5060

I regret having to let this class go and this great group of colleagues. This class has focused directly on my deepest professional interest, and I have thrived on learning more and digging deeper into it. I don't want to knock Technical Communication, but it has been refreshing to have a class that had Composition and Rhetoric as its main concern. I feel as if I need five more courses like this!

I want to write for a few minutes about a couple areas where I feel I progressed in this class. First, I believe I have made some progress in my project to "make knowledge" in the profession (sometimes called the dissertation). I've been chipping away at North's book The Making of Knowledge in Composition all summer and will soon finish it. This book has opened my eyes to the various ways beliefs about practice in Composition have gained validation or become contested. Harris' chapter on Growth and his examination of the impact of these developmental models on composition teaching when framed within North's different modes of inquiry is one example of how belief is "socially justified" within our field. I'm increasingly seeing how strange a profession we have in terms of how we build knowledge from research.

I focused my annotated bibliography work on finding every research study I could find on "rhetorical reflection" that I could find. This quest was difficult because little or no such studies have been done in the field of composition that I could find, at least using those terms. Reflection is predominantly framed as a post-task activity when it is done in writing. The framing of it as an in-task activity within Composition is practically non-existent under the term "reflection." I'm just landing on revision studies that seem to be a promising area of inquiry, but I need to crack open that research area. As a result, I had to seek out parallel fields and situations that seem to use rhetorical reflection: Nursing, Action Research, Service Learning (formative reflection vs summative reflection), Professional Development, Student Self-Assessment (or Self-Evaluation). I still feel that I am groping in the dark and my hands will land on the mother load of search terms, but it hasn't happened yet. It has been a slow slog.

The 19 research studies I did find (along with 10 related articles) have helped me see various different ways to frame reflection, provided me with lots of bibliographic citations to explore further, and revealed different research designs for how to research reflection. Here is my plan for the rest of August:

1. Finish North's book, chart out different modes of inquiry in summary

2. Create a scenario research design for each mode of inquiry as an exercise

3. Chart out as many different research designs as I can (which includes different research designs based from different research questions). Sketches. Brainstorming.

4. Review all this muck and pull together 5-10 proposed research designs to send to my dissertation committee for review. I'd also like to include a short rhetorical analysis of each proposed design (i.e. the "So What? question analysis) and feasibility analysis (it is do-able?)

The goal of all this is to have a decently clear idea of what my research study design will be by December so that I can begin doing whatever it is I need to do to prepare for that study. It may be that I need it earlier to apply for dissertation research grants? This class has been a wonderful opportunity for me to begin work on this research design. I know I have a lot left to do.

The second thing that sticks with me from this class has to do with big picture views of Composition and what we do as writing teachers--I'm talking about all the taxonomies. My analysis of Berlin's "Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories" ( really helped me dig more deeply into these different taxonomies and their limitations. I have been influenced by Berlin as well as Knoblauch and Brannon's philosophical view toward composition (i.e. find the "right" philosophical view, base you teaching on it, and you have best practice), and I have certainly felt the moral overtones that this perspective as a consequence loads any discussion of teaching methods with. I find these categories describing teaching composition (whether Berlin's, Fulkerson's, or Kinneavy's) helpful and each one is alluring, but ultimately I see them as restrictive. This course helped me to see other restrictive categories--process/product, real vs. academic writing, directive vs facilitative response, writing as subject vs writing as activity (post-process stuff). Once we begin to build fences and set up either/or, us/them, right/wrong delineations, I believe we are mis-using these taxonomies. I struggled with these taxonomies last Fall in my reading of Kay Halasek's Pedagogy of Possibility, and I think I understand better her complaint about the limitations of these taxonomies as well. Her solution--and it is increasingly how I am seeing these categories and labels--is to see these categories in terms of continuums and oscillation between them. These elements often are in dynamic tension as counterparts rather than enemies (like rhetoric and dialectic as counterparts). I am deepening my own thinking, in particular, about the dialectic between writing (rhetoric) as subject and writing (rhetoric) as an activity. Last summer I wrote some about it, but in this class I've begun to think in a more conscious way what that means for my teaching practice. I think there are aspects of writing that need to be taught as a subject--despite all the post-modern complaints about foundational knowledge and conventions. Revisiting my own experience as a freshman writer made me feel again what it was like when I didn't have a better mastery (dare I use that word!) of some writing basics like spelling or grammar or sentence construction. It is a fine line working on both writing as a subject and writing as an activity, and I think in this class I have begun to see more clearly what distinguishes those two and how I might shape my curriculum to work on both (I already do, but I haven't framed it in these terms). I guess what I'm also trying to get at is that teaching writing as a subject often gets looked down upon because it is perceived as reductive and elementary, but here again is one of those dichotomies that becomes less than useful when it becomes a matter of right and wrong, good practice/bad practice. Writing as a subject and writing as an activity are counterparts that dialectically inform each other.

So these are some of the thoughts I am left with from this class. I know I will continue to think about this class for a long time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Last Two Assignments

Annotated Bibliography
I geared this annotated bibliography toward the literature review for my dissertation, focusing on research done on reflection. It is not your traditional annotbib, but I explain my rationale in a preface to the collection.

Teaching Philosophy
This has been a fun an valuable exercise for me. It has made me think hard about what I believe in as a teacher. I hope you enjoy it.


(final course reflection tomorrow morning)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Open Spaces--Toward a New Composition

Open Spaces—Toward a New Composition

I want to write for a moment on Joseph Harris' call at the end of his chapter on Community in his book A Teaching Subject for "a public space where students can begin to form their own voices as writers and intellectuals" (116). Harris seems to advocate the metaphor of public space rather than community for the shared context for communicating and learning in a composition class. He seems to distrust the term community because it connotes a club or false utopia. In Harris' call for public space, I hear my own heuristic for a New Composition—the Rhetorical Forum.

I was particularly interested in Harris' reference to work done by John Swales on discourse communities. Here are some of the characteristics of Swales ideas:
--the discursive "forum" is a shared common space
--one-to-one communication follows some protocols (whether externally imposed or internally generated). Swales sees it as reduced to providing information and feedback, but the nature of the interaction need not only be limited to these.
--forum is not a community, must be some common goal toward which the group is working (or could it also be a common interest).
--It is a free, voluntary gathering of individuals with shared goals and interests, not so much forced together as chosen to associate with on another

Harris envisions a "community of strangers," a civitas, a public forum and gathering place that is not so much about entering the academic community as learning to position oneself and interact (he likes the word "wrangle") within this "city," this public space. This notion of public space is VERY similar to the description of a "rhetorical forum" talked about by Thomas Farrell: "a rhetorical 'forum' is a more or less formal location, where types of reasoning and argumentation are practiced. …an encounter setting sufficiently durable to serve as a recurring 'gathering place' for discourse. As such, the forum provides a space for multiple expressed positions to encounter one another" (88). Or as Harris would say, "wrangle" with one another. Farrell's primary argument in his article "Practicing the Arts of Rhetoric" (which is a summary of his book Norms of Rhetorical Culture) is that "rhetoric derives its materials from the real conditions of civic life, the appearances of our cultural world. At the same time, this activity makes room for disputation about the meaning, implications, directions, and value of cultural appearances" (80). Let's dig into this passage in terms of our discussion. A rhetorical forum constitutes just such a public space or gathering place that by its nature participates in civic concerns and codes of civil behavior. Cursing, nudity, or racist comments are not tolerated in this kind of context. And that is the key—the rhetorical forum constitutes a public context, a context that is wider than our classroom. The nature of this forum also is discursive—discussion, debate, dialogue, dispute, collaboration. It is a "talking" forum. But more than that, as Swales says it must be a forum that has some purpose, some mission behind its talk. What might that purpose be for a rhetorical forum?—ah, Farrell tells us: the disputation about the meaning, implications, direction, and value of cultural appearances and civic life. Should we get out of Iraq? What are the ethics of being able to purchase a morning after pill at the drug store without a prescription? Why do so few youth vote? What could be done to get more youth to vote? These are just a few examples of these "public" topics, but the topics could be more traditional. Why does Hamlet hesitate? As a rhetorical forum, the communication would follow certain codes and conventions that would be in part created simply by the context of the space, but also by the rules imposed and generated upon the space.

Farrell talks about two interesting qualities of a rhetorical forum. The first is that those interacting within the space begin to both adopt and use the "norms" of discourse and social knowledge to enter the discussion in meaningful ways. I hate to use the example, but radio talk shows are excellent examples of rhetorical forums. This nature of norms can easily be seen if you switch between different shows—say between a political talk show like Rush Limbaugh and a sports talk show like Jim Rome. You will hear the participants not only speaking in "normative" ways that fit with the conventions of that forum but also using various forms of social knowledge (common places) in their arguments. The "blogosphere" has the connotation of a rhetorical forum, disjointed and entwined, organic and untamed. The second special quality of a rhetorical forum Farrell talks about is that within the "two-sided argument, the running controversy, the ritual that becomes a crisis" (85) that those engaged in the forum practice rhetoric and must learn and enact practical wisdom (phronesis). This practical wisdom is learned through experience, through engagement with the forum where the participant sees and learns what works and what doesn't, what gains attention and what doesn't.

Here's my dream. I would like to establish a "rhetorical forum" for freshman composition that is an internet space. It would be a special space for college students from across the country, whether in a class or not in a class. I would envision the space as a key part of both freshman composition I and II. How would we make this work? What would be the interface? How would we make it amenable to new media texts? As well as print-texts that may have document design elements? How would we set up a finely balanced open and closed space—a place where students could freely communicate but it would still stay within what is appropriate for college and maintain its purpose as educational? How could it be a space where composition teachers from across the country would want to make it part of their class too? How could different teacher agendas/curriculums merge, in part? Could a teacher's main goal to be to guide and facilitate the learning of his or her students in this rhetorical forum, but she could also be the main moderator of a section of the forum on a particular book or issue where the participants in that section of the forum could be from across the country with only one student from that teachers class. Hah! Could a student generate a forum and a teacher join in as a co-facilitator? Could teachers participating in this space begin to offer various sessions or lessons available to the whole forum community as well as her students? How to edit? Using MovieMaker? How to do MLA Documentation? How would attention be focused in this forum (since attention is the key commodity in the information economy)? Would there be a main page with certain selected posts/writings and then the breakout forums which might also have some selected posts? How does YouTube select what shows on its main page? Could there be some "algorithm" that floats certain writings to the top? What might that algorithm be? How could this forum become a place where students felt like they were engaging in discourse that truly might have some significance on the cultural/social/political topic they are discussing? How might the environment lead to collaborative writing and documents?

This dream of a rhetorical forum is one key component of what I call New Composition. To make this dream a reality, though, will take a combination of deep thinking of how this forum would work as well as innovative thinking about the technical interface for making it happen, and then how these ideas for the forum will work with the interface. If you are interested in joining me in exploring these possibilities, let me know. And lets get started.

Farrell, Joseph. "Practicing the Arts of Rhetoric: Tradition and Invention." Contemporary Rhetorical Theory: A Reader. Ed. John Jouis Lucaites, Celeste Condit, Sally Caudill. New York: Guilford Press, 1999. 79-100.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Collaborative Learning and the Conversation of Mankind" by Kenneth Bruffee

"Collaborative Learning and the Conversation of Mankind" by Kenneth Bruffee

Reading this article again, I am amazed at how much of his ideas I have absorbed into the fiber of my own belief about language, knowledge, and teaching. Part of my interest in reflection comes from his notions of reflective thought as internalized conversation. His ideas, I see, have been my entrance into postmodern views toward language—that thought and conversation are causally related, that to converse better is to learn to think better: "If thought is internalized public and social talk, then writing of all kinds is internalized social talk made public and social again. If thought is internalized conversation, then writing is internalized conversation re-externalized" (400). Let me chart this process out:

Thought = social talk made internal

Writing = internal thought/social talk made external

Bakhtin and Foucault are the one who most closely say the same thing as Bruffee here, but they would include more than "talk" and include all language (spoken or written or seen). I love this quote in particular: "The way they talk with each other determines the way they will think and the way they will write" (400). Language shapes thought. How we frame reality by the language we use gives reality meaning. I think in terms of teaching that the two most important touch-points for our guidance as teachers of how our students talk to each other and us is in peer response and in writing reviews. I think it is important that we model and request that students talk about writing in certain ways using certain language.

Notion #2 that I am reminded about in this article is the idea of "normal discourse," that the foundation of being considered knowledgeable and worth listening to is that the writer has adopted certain codes, conventions, and baseline knowledge or literacies that are "normal" for that group. It is equivalent to a terministic screen (Burke), a way of looking and seeing the world that is linguistically, gesturally, and ethically subscribed. Of course, this community has different levels, and the sort of "community of knowledgeable peers" we seek to develop in our classes is many steps below the kind of entrance into normal discourse I am seeking to do in this doctorate. Yet, in act and effect (perhaps not in degree) they are the same and develop a kind of practical wisdom of communication that may carry over into other experiences with other normal discourses.

Notion #3: I have been deeply influenced by Bruffee's notion that "knowledge is a social artifact" (404). I think I have mouthed the words for years without really understanding them, but I am getting some glimpses what they truly mean since I have been in this program. These are the two key quotes for me:

"Knowledge is maintained and established by communities of knowledgeable peers. It is what we together agree it is, for the time being."


"We socially justify belief when we explain to others why one way of understanding how the world hands together seems to us preferable to other ways of understanding." (405)

I think about my main goal for this summer—try to understand how knowledge is made in composition, try to see how knowledge about reflection has been made via research, and inquire about how I might go about creating knowledge with my dissertation.

I think what Bruffee is saying, in other words, is that knowledge is rhetorically created! This perspective is the one that I wrote about early in the summer when Harris talked about how Britton was so successful with his theories about writing growth. North said essentially the same thing. What I am coming to see is that some of my premises of what I should be doing with this dissertation research are flawed. I have this idealized version of revealing observation, confirming objective truths about the world, that I can then SHOW everyone and presto—they will believe me. My essential model is a scientific one—find proof in nature for my theory and test it and show the results that confirm the theory. Maybe. Maybe that would work. BUT what am I really after? What can I actually do in my research? I'm after creating "socially justified belief" in whatever manner I can. It seems in this rhetorical endeavor that I need to present some grounds for my proposition/claim/theory. But what sorts of support will lead to this belief and must it be scientific proof? What are the strengths and limits of empirical evidence in the formation of knowledge as a social artifact? It seems clear that whatever I do I must engage in a level of social exchange to create this social artifact called negotiated meaning.

One last connection with Bruffee. I was just this morning summarizing a small study that Linda Flower did on reflection (recounted in chapter 9 of her book The Construction of Negotiated Meaning), and she hints that reflection is a pedagogical tool that can help students acquire better facility with what she calls "literate practice." What she means by "literate practice" is the complex literacy of academia—a particular "normal discourse." Bruffee has a strikingly similar claim to make about collaborative learning. He says, "[collaborative learning] is one way of introducing students to the process by which communities of knowledgeable peers create referential connections between symbolic structures and 'reality', that is, by which they establish knowledge" (410). I hear them saying essentially the same thing—that each one is a pedagogical tool, a classroom practice to use that will help students achieve this "knowledge," this capacity for action based upon knowledge. Ahhh! What happens when a class uses both of these teaching practices! Here, in theoretical terms, is expressed my goals in using peer response and writing reviews so much in my classroom.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Take 20 Piece

This nearly killed me, but I have a video response piece on the Take 20 DVD that is about New Media writing.

It is about 14 minutes long--enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Annotated Bibliography beginnings

I am not that far along with my annotated bibliography so far. I've mostly been researching and researching in the databases and on the web for any research studies I can find that investigate the role of what I call "rhetorical reflection" (in-task, writer-based, validity testing) in the writing process. I have only really found one, but I'm still searching and getting into past research done on metacognition and the writing process by Flower and Hayes and others.

So far I have my list of possible studies. I'm still adding to it--

I also have developed a table to chart out each research study reference:

Chart for Research Assessment


Research Question(s)

What are the focused questions for this research?

Research Approach

Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed Methods

Knowledge Claims


Postpositivism—determination, reductionism, empirical observation and measurement, theory verification

Constructivism—understanding, multiple participant meanings, social and historical constraints, theory generation

Advocacy/Participatory—political, empowerment issue-oriented, collaborative, change-oriented

Pragmatism—consequences of actions, problem-centered, pluralistic, real-world practice oriented (6)

Strategies of Inquiry

Operating at a more applied level are strategies of inquiry that provide specific direction for procedures (or methods) in a research design. (13)


Specific methods performed following the general strategy of inquiry


How did they choose/gather the sample? What is the size of the sample? What forms of rigor were applied to their sampling?

Data Analysis

How was the data interpreted? What forms of rigor were applied to their data analysis?


What were the results of their research?


Overall assessment of this research project?

So far I have only one source fit into this chart:


Anson, Chris. "Talking About Writing: A Classroom-Based Study of Students' Reflections on Their Drafts." Self-Assessment and Development in Writing: A Collaborative Inquiry. New Jersey: Hampton Press, 2000: 59-74.

Research Question(s)

How do writers represent their own writing process? How do they talk about their writing? Can we explore writer's reflections on their emergent texts to understand how writers develop expertise

Research Approach


Knowledge Claims



Strategies of Inquiry

Classroom-based research, purely descriptive, case study

Content analysis? Rhetorical analysis


Talk aloud protocol--"retrospective accounts" done in naturalistic setting (within context of class)


Taped recorded narrative commentaries about the process of writing a first draft turned in with draft. Few strict guidelines put on focus of tapes (i.e. no direct prompts).

Does not specify number of sample—only says "classes."
Selected accounts used for data analysis based on whether they were the very best or very worst writers. No specific number of how many fit into this sample.

Data Analysis

Developed a coding analysis rubric based on two poles:
1) Halliday's functional approach to language
--Ideational (speaker's content)
--Interpersonal (audience)
--Textual (language)
2) Time-oriented dimension
--Retrospective (what he or she did during creation of text)

--Projective (focus on actions the writer says he or she intends to do)
--Temporal (occurs in the present moment)

Developed rubric with nine possible combinations from the two axes (functional/time-oriented)
e.g. : R/ID = Retrospective/Ideational

No evidence of use of inter-rater reliability done

Brings in theories of intellectual development from Perry's Model of Intellectual Development in his interpretation of data


Stronger writers showed more control of their writing process; weaker students lack control, seldom comment projectively. There is an unmistakably "absolutist" quality in the metacommentaries of students who speak of their writing textually and in the past tense, and there is an unmistakably "evaluistic" quality in the talk of both successful novice writers and experienced writers as they shift among functions, retrospect and project, and embrace uncertainty in their own control of their work.

It appears that there is a strong relationship between proficiency and the blending/shifting of functions in scheme.

Concludes with how this metacommentary can enable him in his classroom practice to provide better feedback and direction to struggling writers.


This article is focused directly on the type of "data" I am interested in and develops a VERY interesting tool for coding this data. He varies from me in that he transcribes verbal accounts and I use written accounts. This seems interesting to me and significant since I seem to base a fair amount of my thinking on the importance of the act of writing. His sampling seems problematic to me, but he is being descriptive, qualitative. Should he have used inter-rater reliability checks to assess the usefulness of his coding rubric? Since he is not counting tendencies, perhaps not.

I plan to create charts like this for ten to twenty research studies that I have. The problem is that few focus directly on what I want to study, so I have to interpellate to other instances of reflection that I could consider "rhetorical." I know that I am not far in this process, but that is where I am right now. More progress to come next week.


Monday, July 2, 2007

What Should Be Taught?

What exactly should be taught in composition, in your opinion, how should it be taught, and what should you do in order to know if what was taught was learned?

These are the central questions behind each class of Freshman Composition that I teach, and what I write here will only be a sketch. Up front, I want to voice my strong belief that Freshman Composition should have writing as its "subject"--not literature, not making students better people, not social consciousness. Pardoxically, if writing is only considered as a "subject" (i.e. some definable content of knowledge), a writing class becomes too narrow and prescriptive because writing is predominantly an activity or as Aristotle and other classical rhetoricians called a "faculty"--not just a subject.

I want to open with two curious quotes that get to the heart of this question--what do/can we teach?

"...the degree to which any kind of knowledge or any given skill in writing is generalizable--that is, transferable from one context to another--will always be problematic, in fact, that beyond a few general principles, there may be little we can say about how novices develop the broad knowledge and skills it takes to write" (Smit 133)

Lee Ann Kastman Bruech also says, "I suggest that there is no identifiable post-process theory pedagogy that we can concretely apply to the writing classrooms" (98), and later advises teachers to "let go the curriculum."

Each of these authors seems to throw up their hands and say writing is too complex, so it is unteachable. As composition scholars like James Moffett and Linda Flower have demonstrated, "literacy" involves a whole lot more than just grammatical or even formal proficiency. Linda Flower in her book The Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social Cognitive Theory of Writing charts out this more complex view of literacy (that others like Smit and Bruech say is unteachable). She labels three parts to this literacy: literacy as identity, literacy as practice, and literacy as negotiation. The first literacy involves membership within a Discourse community. She goes on to describe literacy as practice as literate action: "literate action is a socially situated problem-solving process shaped not only by available language, practices, partners, and texts, but by the ways people interpret the rhetorical situation they find themselves in, the goals they set, and the strategies they control" (2). This literate action, she says, can mean the conventions of discourse, but also that it centrally involves the "making of meaning": "Literate actions emerge out of a constructive cognitive process that transforms knowledge in purposeful ways. And at critical moments, this constructive literate act may also become a process of negotiation in which individual readers and writers must juggle conflicting demands and chart a path among alternative goals, constraints, and possibilities" (2). Smit calls this kind of literacy "rhetorical maturity," and I would say my biggest goal in Fresh Comp is to develop this expanded view of literacy, this rhetorical maturity (123). Coming out of my own experience in Freshman Composition and my own development as a writer, I am keenly aware that I cannot get all my students to a high level of literacy and writing skill in Fresh Comp. Instead, I can develop the awareness and ingrain some of the habits of writing that they can use in the future to found their continued development as writers.

What I find curious about some post-process scholars is that they basically throw up their hands and say writing is so situated, so complex, so founded upon interpretation, that it is unteachable. Hah! What is a writing teacher supposed to do with that? Expressivist teachers had this view, advocating the notion that writing can't be taught but it can be learned and the best way to learn to write is by writing. I definitely come from expressivist roots, and this argument against prescriptive, explicit instruction in "rules" of writing certainly agrees with me, yet their is much guidance and support that we can do as teachers and there are skills and strategies we can try to impart. I can't recall which reading from my Contemp Rhetoric class this came from(I.A Richards I think), but I recall a discussion about the trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric), and how you can see in the history of rhetoric how these three have been separated from each other. But this discussion talked about how these three interanimate and depend upon each other. I think I try to teach how all these three aspects of communication together (the technical features of the text used to communicate, the thinking behind what is said, and manner in which it is presented). It can be hard to do, especially if a student has problems in a particular area like comma splices.

Briefly, let me chart out the general trajectory of my composition class as I have done it (though I have not always done it this way).

I tend to follow Britton and Moffett's sequence of moving from narrative/descriptive writing to analytical writing. I start from students writing about their experience as the "text" to base their writing about to begin negotiating their interior views with the world (writing, then, founded upon exterior "texts"). Start IN; then move OUT and back IN. Fresh Comp I is a gradual movement from this interior to exterior. Along the way, I try to inculcate the ability to include specific illustrations or examples for general statements whether this be in descriptive writing or using stories to exemplify some idea. Later in Fresh Comp II, this principle of elaboration (or support or making specific) is the skill of using support from the text. I also begin in Fresh Comp I to teach them researching. If Fresh Comp I (for me) is about a writer gaining more control and proficiency with negotiating their own language (without too much interference from the outside as in excessive readings), Fresh Comp II is where I have students work more diligently with handling outside sources and views in their own writing. I attempt to push my students off center in their thinking by working on topics that have no clear cut answer (that is, move them beyond the stage of dualistic thinking stated by Perry). How will they form their belief with the understanding that it is not THE answer, but AN answer (that is hopefully well reasoned and well founded).

I'm more and more questioning my learning sequence in Fresh Comp, but it seems to have a logical movement that matches well with where Freshman are in their development. The problem with the sequence is that it serves academic writing predominantly, especially Fresh Comp II. I have become more and more enchanted with teaching rhetorical proficiency--not just academic writing proficiency. Those things are not necessarily the same thing. I'm wondering now if there may be a sequence in that academic proficiency is a necessary stepping stone to more higher level rhetorical proficiency. I don't know.

I think my video on Porfolios is a pretty good description of how I teach writing--at least in Freshman Comp I.