This book offers a much needed alternative to the more traditional texts used to teach writing instruction. Grounded in history, the book clarifies changing theoretical and practical approaches to teaching writing, critically assessing each approach in relation to the social and political movements of the day, both within and beyond the university. The author takes us inside the real world of writing instruction; not only from the viewpoint of instructor, but as seen through the eyes of students struggling to make sense of the expectations of writing class. Mitchell emphasizes that "writing" entails far more than putting words to paper, and delves into contextually variable culturally defined expectations, that include multiple linguistic forms - both oral and written - highlighting the complexity of writing(s), while engaging the reader in lively academic debates about language and society.
Candace Mitchell has written one of the most important and powerful books on composition studies yet published in North America. Theoretical rigor, poetic prose, intellectual courage, and pedagogical inventiveness are easily woven together so as to produce both a work of art and an outstanding book. It is filled with beauty, brilliance, and insight. This book does not merely make a contribution to composition and literacy studies, it is a landmark example of what a powerful mind and a masterful teacher can produce. Bravo!
Introduction. The Traditional Approach. The Cognitive Approach. The Expressive Approach. The Social/Cultural Approach. The Social Construction of a Writing Instructor: Sarah's Ideology. From Ideology to Practice: Sarah Teaching. Proficient Student Writers in Context: Alan and Zola's Stories. Less Proficient Student Writers in Context: Tan and Arays's Stories. The Dialogical Construction of Success: Alan in Conference. Student and Instructor Spar for Control: Zola in Conference. Oral Competence Supersedes Written: Tan in Conference. Discourse without Dialogue: Araya in Conference.