Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Concepts in Composition

Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing, 2nd Edition

By Irene L. Clark


488 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415885164
pub: 2011-08-29
SAVE ~$19.59
Hardback: 9780415885157
pub: 2011-08-29
SAVE ~$45.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203806807
pub: 2011-09-01
from $48.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing is designed to foster reflection on how theory impacts practice, enabling prospective teachers to develop their own comprehensive and coherent conception of what writing is or should be and to consider how people learn to write. This approach allows readers to assume the dual role of both teacher and student as they enter the conversation of the discipline and become familiar with some of the critical issues.

New to this second edition are:

  • up-to-date primary source readings;
  • a focus on collaborative writing practices and collaborative learning;
  • additional assignments and classroom activities
  • an emphasis on new media and information literacy and their impact on the teaching of writing

These new directions will inform the content of this revision, reflecting significant advancements in the field. Each chapter addresses a particular theoretical concept relevant to classroom teaching and includes activities to help readers establish the connection between theoretical concepts and classroom lessons. Online resources include overviews, classroom handouts, exercises, a sample syllabus, and PowerPoint presentations. Bringing together scholars with expertise in particular areas of composition, this text will serve as an effective primer for students and eductors in the field of composition theory.


"One of the stronger features of the book is that the chapter authors treat the teaching of writing as a scholarly enterprise….The greatest strength of the chapter is that John Edlund draws on a fairly wide range of theory to explain how second-language learners learn a second language….Clark and her contributors have chosen readings that have been influential in the field….Concepts in Composition should appeal to faculty who…work with first-year teaching assistants….A book such as Irene Clark's can help these and other new teachers of college composition by engaging them in the concepts and topics that define our important work with undergraduate students"

Rhetoric Review

"A very useful blend of history, theory, and practice…"

Duane Roen

Arizona State University

Table of Contents

1. PROCESSES Irene L. Clark

Readings: Muriel Harris, "Composing Behaviors of One-And Multi-draft Writers."

Mary Jo Reiff, "Moving Writers, Shaping Motives, Motivating Critique and Change: A Genre Approach to Teaching Writing."

2. INVENTION Irene L. Clark

Reading: Mike Rose, "Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language A Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block."

3. REVISION Betty Bamberg

Reading: Nancy Sommers, "Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers."

4. AUDIENCE Irene L. Clark

Reading: Peter Elbow, "Closing My Eyes as I Speak: An Argument for Ignoring Audience."

5. ASSESSING WRITING Julie Neff Lippman

Readings: Donald Daiker, "Learning to Praise."

Nancy Sommers, "Across the Drafts."

6. GENRE Irene L. Clark

Reading: Anis Bawarshi, "Sites of Invention: Genre and the Enactment of First-Year Writing."

7. VOICE Darsie Bowden

Readings: Tom Pace, "Style and the Renaissance of Composition Studies."

Peter Elbow, "How to Get Power Through Voice."


Reading: Patrick Hartwell, "Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Writing"

9. NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH John R. Edlund and Olga Griswald

Reading: Tony Silva, Ilona Leki, and Joan Carson, "Broadening the Perspective of Mainstream Composition Studies: Some Thoughts from the Disciplinary Margins." 10. LANGUAGE & DIVERSITY Sharon Klein

Readings: Wayne O’ Neil, "Dealing With Bad Ideas: Twice is Less."

Paul Kei Matsuda, "The Myth of Linguistic Homogeneity in U.S. College Composition."


Reading: Madeleine Sorapure, "Between Modes: Assessing Student New Media Compositions."


Developing Effective Writing Assignments

Constructing a Syllabus

About the Author

Irene L. Clark is Professor of English, Director of Composition, and Director of the Master’s Option in Rhetoric and Composition at California State University, Northridge. She previously taught at the University of Southern California (USC), where she also co-directed the university’s Writing Program and directed its Writing Center. She has won multiple awards from the National Writing Centers Association, and has authored several textbooks for both undergraduate and graduate students. She holds a B.A. in Music from Hunter College, an M.A. in English from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from USC.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing


The materials included on this page are intended to help writing instructors apply the theoretical and pedagogical approaches discussed in Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing to their work in the classroom. They include overviews, classroom handouts, exercises, a sample syllabus, and PowerPoint presentations. All materials reflect the approach to Composition pedagogy on which the book is based. The PowerPoint presentations were developed by Margeaux Gamboa and Michelle Mutti, whose preparation for teaching writing occurred in a seminar which used Concepts in Composition as the primary text. Margeaux and Michelle currently teach writing in the English Department at California State University, Northridge, and the materials they have developed for this project were based on those they have used in their own classrooms. Lisa Gerrard prepared Writing in Multiple Media Overview and Additional Resources. Other online resources are also suggested.

These resources supplement those in the book, and you might find that many of them fit your needs exactly. Others, of course, you may wish to adapt or modify. As is emphasized in the book, the teaching of writing is always situated and there is no "best" way to help students learn to write. We hope these materials will be useful—both for you and for your students.