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Spring 2003, 31.1

 

Editor's Note

Peter Vandenberg Editor's Note

 

Articles

John Trimbur Changing the Question: Should Writing Be Studied?
Janet Bean, Maryann Cucchiara, Robert Eddy, Peter Elbow, Rhonda Grego, Rich Haswell, Patricia Irvine, Eileen Kennedy, Ellie Kutz, Al Lehner, Paul Kei Matsuda Should We Invite Students to Write in Home Languages?  Complicating the Yes/No Debate
Kimberly Emmons Rethinking Genres of Reflection: Student Portfolio Cover Letters and the Narrative of Progress
Seth Kahn  Ethnographic Writing as Grassroots Democratic Action
Claude Mark Hulbert and   Michael Blitz Equaling Sorrow (A Meditation on Composition, Death, and Life)
Melinda Reichelt Defining "Good Writing": A Cross-Cultural Perspective

 

Review Essay

David A. Jolliffe Who is Teaching Composition Students to Read and How are They Doing It?

 

Book Reviews

Sharon Crowley Changing the Subject in English Class: Discourse and the Constructions of Desire by Marshall W. Alcorn
Douglas Downs The Subject is Research: Processes and Practices, edited by Wendy Bishop and Pavel Zemliansky
Patricia Harkin English Composition as a Happening by Geoffrey R. Sirc

 

Exchanges

Stuart C. Brown, Theresa Enos, and Duane Roen; Candace Spigelman

 

Abstracts for Composition Studies 31.1

Trimbur, John. "Changing the Question: Should Writing Be Studied." Composition Studies (31.1): 15-24.

Bean, Janet, Maryann Cucchiara, Robert Eddy, Peter Elbow, Rhonda Grego, Rich Haswell, Patricia Irvine, Eileen Kennedy, Ellie Kutz, Al Lehner, Paul Kei Matsuda.  "Should We Invite Students to Write in Home Languages? Complicating the Yes/No Debate." Composition Studies (31.1): 25-42.

Emmons, Kimberly.  "Rethinking Genres of Reflection: Student Portfolio Cover Letters and the Narrative of Progress." Composition Studies (31.1): 43-62.

This article suggests that asking students to reflect on their own progress via the portfolio cover letter is at best unproductive and at worst additionally marginalizing unless it also asks students to consider the contexts within which that progress is made and against which that progress will ultimately be tested.  Examining two versions of a portfolio cover letter assignment and sample student responses to each, the author argues that students perform better when they are asked to articulate how their work meets the expectations of an academic discourse community.

Kahn, Seth.  "Ethnographic Writing as Grassroots Democratic Action." Composition Studies (31.1): 63-81.

Culture-based writing pedagogies ostensibly engage students in critiquing and rewriting oppressive cultural formations.  Cultural studies pedagogies, however, often reinforce oppressive relationships between students and teachers, while leaving connections between critique and more proactive forms of political action unexplored.  An ethnographic writing pedagogy drawn from radical socialist and postmodern anthropology positions students in cultures so that their writing can influence those cultures in direct ways.  Socialist and postmodern ethnography involve students and their research participants in collectively producing and distributing texts; moreover, students and their participants often benefit as much from research and writing processes as from the finished products of their collaborations.

Hurlbert, Claude Mark, and Michael Blitz.  "Equaling Sorrow (A Meditation on Composition, Death, and Life)." Composition Studies (31.1): 83-97.

Reichelt, Melinda.  "Defining 'Good Writing': A Cross-Cultural Perspective." Composition Studies (31.1): 99-126.

This article explores the notion of “good writing” by reporting on interviews with German and U.S. teachers of English.  Twelve German teachers of English provided samples of well-written student texts; these teachers and the student authors of the texts were then asked to explain their criteria for good writing.  Additionally, six German teachers of English and six U.S. teachers of English were asked to read and rank a set of three essays written by U.S. ninth graders.  The teachers’ rankings and their explanations are compared, and cultural factors informing differences between the German and U.S. teachers’ approaches are discussed.