LIT 501 – Week 7- Rhetorical Precis

Flower, Linda & Hayes, John R. “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 273-298.

In the academic article “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing,” Flower and Hayes (1981) detail a concrete exploration of the decision-making process writers make while writing. The authors support their research through studying and compiling the writing process of numerous writers. Flower and Hayes explore this topic in order to provide an explanation and definition of a process that is, for many people, simply theoretical. The audience for this essay is writers and teachers. This is an extremely helpful essay that provides definitions for parts of the writing process that most people do, but not everybody knows. The “process” is different for everybody, but what this essay accomplishes is providing explanations for each part and showing that, even if it is different for everybody, parts of it are similar, and all of it is important even if not to the same degree for all writers.  The authors say, “By placing emphasis on the inventive power of the writer, who is able to explore ideas, to develop, act on, test, and regenerate his or her own goals, we are putting…creativity where it belongs…in the hands of the working, thinking writer” (296). I think what this essay does is make plain the parts of writing, giving definitions to things we might unconsciously do as writers, which allows us to make more conscious decisions when writing.

Lunsford, Andrea A. “Cognitive Development and the Basic Writer.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 299-310.

In the academic article “Cognitive Development and the Basic Writer” Lunsford (XX) argues the concepts and difficulties that create what she considers a “basic” writer, and how to overcome these hurdles.  Lunsford supports their argument with rhetorical, grammatical, and writing exercises.  Lunsford explores the difference between rote memorization and actual understanding in order to focus on the purpose of learning and teaching; the former is a barrier to learning, and the latter should be the goal of teaching. The audience for this essay is teachers, especially those in early composition or developmental rhetoric classes. Thinking about the difficulties that learning students will encounter is a very fundamental approach to pedagogy, so I appreciated the delineation in “cognitive development” that a “basic writer” might have. The leap from being able to perform a task, as a bais to thinking creatively about said tasks implications and forming one’s own ideas from this is large, but, I think, can be lost when somebody is only concerned about grades.

Rose, Mike. “Narrowing the Mind and Page: Remedial Writers and Cognitive Reductionism.” Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Second ed. United States: National Council of Teachers of English, 2003. 345.

In the academic article “Narrowing the Mind and Page: Remedial Writers and Cognitive Reductionism” Mike Rose (1988) argues that the ways in which academia of the time write, talk, and theorize about “poor” writers can have limiting and adverse impact on both the students, and the teachers of theory and pedagogy. Rose supports his argument with literature review, citing writers such as Merlin Wittrock and Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, and Cox. Rose approaches this topic in order to challenge the assumption some may have of “remedial writers” as poor writers that are unable to “form abstractions; they are incapable of analysis; they perceive the world as an undifferentiated whole” (346). The intended audience is teachers and pedagogical theorists. This was an extremely interesting exploration and defense of so called remedial writers from an established theorist.  He challenges the claims of several articles we’ve read, as well as introducing other theories to explore. There is value in many of the writers he explores, but Rose makes sure to speak about the strengths of each as related to cognitive reductionism, as well as the weaknesses. 

 

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