Curated by Jonathan M. Marine and Paul Rogers
In their proposal for the republication of James Moffett's work, Jonathan M. Marine and Paul Rogers observe:
Marine and Rogers argue that “Moffett provided a conceptual framework or theory of pedagogical practice that for the first time based the entire English curriculum (including all assignments for writing) on principles that derive their authority not from mere tradition but from a well-informed modern understanding of the linguistic and cognitive development of learners, and an equally well-informed and empirically testable taxonomy of the kinds of writing that literate students and adults write and read throughout their lives.” In his career, Moffett wrote ten books and numerous articles and book chapters, all of which had a substantial impact on the field. Yet a great deal of his writings are out of print and are not available digitally. This lack of accessibility makes it unnecessarily difficult for teachers, graduate students, and scholars in English education and Writing Studies to make use of Moffett’s contributions. Working with Moffett’s estate and Southern Illinois University Press, they have obtained permission for the WAC Clearinghouse to digitize and republish the following books. Follow the links below to view the books in digital format.
Considered one of the landmark books in the teaching of language arts, writing, and English Education, James Moffett's (1968) Teaching the Universe of Discourse revolutionized the teaching of English by pushing back against the skill-and-drill dogma of the mid-twentieth century and pushing forward a student-centered view language learning conceived of as a deeply social act in which learners developed through dialectic interaction with one another.... More
Arguably the most comprehensive, practically detailed, and original book on English Education, the 4th edition of Student-Centered Language Arts (first published along with Teaching the Universe of Discourse in 1968) sets forth the rationale and practices for an individualized, interactive, and integrative language learning curriculum designed to work across grade levels and from early literacy through general reading and writing.... More
Published in 1992, Detecting Growth in Language presents James Moffett's attempt to offer an expanded and alternative perspective on the standardized testing which he spent the latter part of his career decrying. Using a “what-to-look-for” approach, Moffett describes growth in all aspects of language, from vocabulary and sentence structure to compositional form and types of discourse.... More
Comprised of twelve chapters drawn from speeches and published work from 1970 to 1980, Coming on Center: English Education in Evolution attempts to bridge the gap between theory and practice, past and future, student and society, and in doing so to help educators think more effectively about the teaching of language which Moffett believed played a vital role in our sense of self, culture, and society.... More
In presenting an individualized, integrative, and project-centered form of learning in lieu of subject organized curriculums, Harmonic Learning: Keynoting School Reform advances a vision of a curriculum that is based on the inherent resonances of life and learning, or what Moffett calls “harmonics.” Taking his holistic thinking to a new level to make the case for the interconnection between education and society, Moffett inseparably links school and societal reform (in ways that include ethical, moral, and spiritual issues) in order to argue for the binding together of the intellectual, social, and spiritual aspects of life.... More
Speaking to some of the most urgent issues we are facing in education today, Storm in the Mountains (recipient of the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English in 1992) recounts the aftermath of one of the most prolonged, intense, and violent textbook protests in American history. The protests were a response to Moffett’s comprehensive language learning program, Interaction: A Student-Centered Language Arts and Reading Program (1973), which he developed after garnering widespread acclaim for his early publications, including Teaching the Universe of Discourse (1968).... More
Series Editor: Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University
Blau, Sheridan. “Theory for practice: James Moffett's Seminal Contribution to Composition.” Composition's Roots in English Education, edited by P. Lambert Stock, Boynton, 2011, pp. 81-104.
Paré, Anthony. “Discourse and Social Action: Moffett and the New Rhetoric.” Changing English, vol. 17, no. 3, 2010, pp. 241-250.
Warnock, J. “James Moffett.” Twentieth Century Rhetorics and Rhetoricians: Critical Studies and Sources, edited by M. G. Moran & M. Ballif, Greenwood Press, 2000, pp. 258–265.