Patricia M. Jenkins

A pedagogy for basic writing

Patricia M. Jenkins

  • School: Purdue University
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1998; pp: 141
  • Advisor: Weiser, Irwin
  • Source: DAI-A 59/08, p. 2961, Feb 1999
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Language And Literature (0279)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-591-97123-2
  • UMI Number: AAT 9900200

Abstract:

    • The purpose of this present study was to construct an example of a ‘pedagogy of success.’ An examination of the history of basic writing shows how and why traditional basic writing pedagogy and the view of the basic writer as cognitively impaired became dominant. Open Admissions policies in the late sixties treated the need for a new composition program for a newly distinct population, referred to by Mina Shaughnessy as ‘basic writers.’ Shaughnessy’s work with basic writers resulted in a view of them as competent, but not fluent; that is, she argued that these students were patterned and strategic in their writing, but these patterns and strategies hindered fluency. Despite Shaughnessy’s work and that of others who pursued her ideas, basic writers were viewed as cognitively immature, and error correction and remediation became a primary focus in basic writing pedagogy. This view of basic writers remains dominant today, and this focus in pedagogy continues to characterize basic writing pedagogy, despite ongoing discussions about the need for a different view of basic writers and the need for curriculum reform. In the present study, I seek to promote a change in the way writing instructors view basic writers and they way they teach them by providing an example of what Jerry Cobb Scott calls a ‘pedagogy of success.’ The pedagogy of success is based on James Berlin’s developments that resulted from the intersection of postmodern discourse theory, cultural studies, and social-epistemic rhetoric. I developed a pedagogy of success by (1) articulating a disciplinary context, a theoretical and political position in relation to historical conditions; (2) building a functional definition of pedagogical context, the concepts and assumptions that define appropriate theory and practice; (3) determining an interpretation of a rhetorical theory that lends itself to application; and (4) developing a pedagogy that applies the pedagogical context and theory. Specific assignments are provided.