Darlene Sybert (c557506@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 12:32:23 -0500

On Thu, 8 Aug 1996, Steve Finley wrote:
[text deleted in the interest of space, although I admired your
reasoning here...and enjoyed the philosophical approach...)
> Anyhow, none of this thread of discussion really means that revealed
> truth cannot be true, only that the academy requires a different mode
> of operation that doesn't depend on it. For the reasons mentioned

With which I am not arguing. What does concern me--just to reiterate
since we have strayed away from it--is that instructors do not ENFORCE
this requirement with freshman comp students, but rather use the
impulse when it surfaces to help students learn to "know your audience"
and "use effective evidence and rhetoric." It is learning by doing
instead of by being told...
" Help students learn" should
mean that the student chooses...the student discovers that his use of the
"Bible says so" or any other evidence...doesn't "work" if his audience
doesn't recognize the authority of his source. And that the "bSS"
attitude can have the opposite effect of destroying his credibility with
some readers so he must know whom he wants to persuade. Then, you see, the
student CHOOSES whether he would rather have
the credibility and be effective or blazon his convictions across the world.
And even if the student chooses this alternative (and he seldom
does because the instructor who is grading seems so attached to this idea
of being an effective writer! I saw you cringe, Eric...)
But if he does choose the latter, at least he KNOWS
what is effective...and the knowing is supposed to be the end result of
the comp class...right? As Steve suggests, it shouldn't be an issue to
us as instructors whether our students BELIEVE or what they believe, but
rather, do they understand the importance of purpose, audience, persona and
rhetoric when writing academic and professional papers? And have they
made some progress towards writing more acceptably...

Darlene Sybert
University of Missouri at Columbia (English)
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
It's loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
-John Keats "Endymion"