Date of Award

5-3-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. George L. Pullman - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Marti Singer

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Hocks

Abstract

Composition instructors agree writing instruction should focus on helping students become better writers. Pedagogical commonality, however, ends here. Composition instructors disagree about what constitutes good writing, what student should be learning, and how best to approach a composition classroom. I argue that pedagogical diversity among composition instructors is detrimental to the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition, because it has contributed to the public perception that we have no teachable content. Focusing around the removal of and reintegration of rhetoric from American college English departments, I argue composition studies and the rhetorical tradition have historically been viewed as separate disciplines. This project will illustrate that composition studies needs to reconnect to the rhetorical tradition in order formulate a unified practical pedagogical identity. With a unified pedagogical identity, composition studies can finally claim it has a teachable and defendable content: the production of better critical thinking skills.

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