Reassessing our practices

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 13:06:22 -0500

On Mon, 12 Feb 1996, Michael Hamende wrote:

> Most American businesses and government agencies still don't know what
> to do with someone who is bright, articulate, visionary, and skillful
> at the use of the "essay" (and all that entails). They still want
> people who will sit down, shut up, and do as they are told. And this
> is what many of our schools turn out. K-12 and Higher Ed.

On the contrary I would say that there is pretty much complete stuctural
agreement between school-essaying and industrial workplace-obedience.
Once a person is trained to respect monologic forms of communication, it
is a short step to swap the authority of the monologic text for the
authority of the monologic boss. In other words I would say the
parenthetical "all that it entails," in regard to the essay, needs to be
fleshed out a bit. Another example; we can't forget that once students
have bought into monological essaying, they are placed in a great
hierarchical chain of being which places them pretty low to the bottom --
again making it a short step to "starting at the bottom" in an industrial
era job.

> It seems to me that we really are discussing how
> people think and not simply a genre of writing.

Yes! Although I think at least one thread of this discussion concerns the
important connections between different material practices (i.e.,
genres of writing) and how people think.