Re: Cathy and Russ's recent comments on (1) "American style"
composition approaches and (2) the theoretical positions
of those who teach "bottom up," skills-based courses
I'm _very_ interested in the whole issue of how cultural
context affects what & how we teach--working with Henry, it
would be difficult to ignore such issues, eh? But, as
someone who has been accused (in print) of importing
USAmerican ideologies into my critical & editorial practices,
I'm wary of putting too much emphasis on an "us/them"
framework. The 49th parallel is a highly permeable boundary,
especially when it comes to the free trade of ideas. I'm
uncomfortable with dividing up the field into process and
product orientations--with the US championing process
pedagogy, and Canada left arguing for well-edited products.
A lot of process-oriented teaching & learning gets done
(in English) here in Canada. What we lack is support
for programs, journals, and organizations that would
help "institutionalize" this teaching & learning? Inkshed/CASLL
seems an important exception to this rule.
Part of the problem, as Cathy suggests, may be a kind
of "frame conflict" between theory and practice--though
I suspect that some forms of deconstruction and even
PoMo are highly compatable with what's being described as
the "mechanistic" approach to language & literature.
> What I find truely perplexing, however, is that some of these (often well
> meaning) folk who advocate such mechanistic courses often have intense
> theoretical backgrounds in deconstruction, culture theory, various forms of
> postmodernism etc. These positions contradict their actual practices in
> ways that I find difficult to fathom. Do their brains turn off or what?
> And by the way I think it is cheaper to run a "mechanistic" course--no
> drafts, multiple choice grammar and style tests.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Russ Hunt <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: March 3, 1999 7:57 AM
> Subject: Re: Issues in Composition at Cdn. universities
> >Seems to me this is quite consistent with Rick's take on style-
> >centered as opposed to effect-centered pedagogies.
> >> What counts now as "American" style compostition are many of the
> >> practices that many of us currently advocate. So for example
> >> interactive workshops, attention to invention, drafts,
> >> collaborative projects etc. etc. are often viewed (within English
> >> departments) as strange foreign and not-to-be trusted practices.
> >> What counts as "Canadian" seems to be the mechanistic style focused
> >> courses as present in many of the handbooks that have been revised
> >> into "Canadian" editions.
< < W.F. Garrett-Petts > >
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