Phyllis Ryder (pryder@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 09:40:19 -0700

To jump in on this thread of conversation:

On Thu, 1 Aug 1996, Darlene Sybert wrote:

> On Thu, 1 Aug 1996, Michael Hamende wrote:
> > Lisa,>
> > "How does one take a "rhetorical approach' to the teaching of
> > writing?"
> >
> > Teach rhetoric. (The use of language to persuade.) It has applications
> > to both oral and written "speech." If students know and know how to
> > apply the principles of rhetoric, they can apply them to their
> > writing. And they will be better writers.
> But, HOW do you do this? For example?>
> Darlene Sybert

It seems easy enough to talk about "the use of language to persuade," and
we can teach the basics of ethos/logos/pathos and that kind of appeal,
but aren't we giving false hope if we let our students assume that if
they get the right mix of reason and emotion into an essay, they can
persuade any audience? How do we get them to more fully analyze the
context and see the ideologies and underlying assumptions at work? I'm
thinking of John Clifford's example in Contending with Words: can our
students (or anyone, really) persuade jesse helms, through writing, to
support abortion rights or fund AIDS research? As I say this, I realize
I sound like I don't believe in the power of words. I do, very much so.
But I think that power is tied up so much with context, ideology, and
other factors that we need to make these part of our rhetorical analysis.
A rhetorical approach to teaching writing, it seems to me, has to include
strategies for recognizing these underlying forces in context. HOW do we
teach students to recognize that ideology at work? How do we identify
context through rhetorical analysis--what do we look for in texts that
show us the contexts? --Phyllis