Monday, August 23, 2010

Composition theories as identified by James Berlin, first 2 of 4

Neo-Aristotelian/ClassicistBerlin, James. "Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories." College English 44.8 (December 1982): 765-777.



  • In this model, rarely used in current composition classrooms, truth is believed to exist independent of the observer and cab known only trough the senses. Truth is not certain; therefore, the student is not engaged in a quest for individual truth, but rather truth as it can be proven through rational method. As a result, the pedagogical emphasis is on logic and the development of ideas with little emphasis on the analysis or critical thinking of the writer.

Positivist/Current-Traditionalist

  • In this model, popular up until the early 1980's, truth is discovered through induction alone. Truth is created by the interplay of sensory impressions and the interpretation of those impressions. The writers task is to shape thought for the reader. Therefore, pedagogical approach is one that focuses on arrangement and style. As invention, either that of thought or design, is not specifically desired, the analysis or critical thought of the student is not emphasized.

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