Radical Departures: Composition and Progressive Pedagogy

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National Council of Teachers of English, 2002 - Education - 247 pages
This book addresses some big questions: the current political climate, with its calls for standardized testing and accountability; the uneasy relationships between faculty in English and English education departments; and the (lack of) cooperation between postsecondary compositionists and P-12 language arts teachers. These issues are covered in the book as the ways are traced in which "progressive politics" of one kind or another have played an integral role in how writing has been taught and studied in United States secondary and postsecondary schools. The three chapters in Part I explore competing versions of "progressivism" in composition and rhetoric's past and present: the pedagogical and administrative progressivism of composition's early years (during the Progressive Era of the early 20th century); the recent "conservative restoration"; and contemporary critical pedagogy. Building on these discussions of progressivism, the three chapters in Part II work to reframe and reclaim Deweyan pedagogical progressivism for composition and rhetoric's future, showing how this strand of progressive thinking might help the field develop new, pedagogy-centered understandings and practices of disciplinarity, curriculum, and outreach. Woven in with the main chapters are "intraludes," narrative accounts of the author/educator's work as a writing teacher, scholar, and public school advocate. These narratives illustrate and connect the issues highlighted in each chapter, grounding them in the reality of everyday contexts. (Each chapter includes notes; contains an extensive list of works cited.) (NKA).

From inside the book


Reframing and Reclaiming Pedagogical Progressivism
On Becoming a Compositionist

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About the author (2002)

Chris Gallagher is a Professor of English at Northeastern University. He has published widely on the teaching and assessment of writing and on educational innovation at both the K-12 and higher education levels. He is author or co-author of five books and many articles in writing studies and education journals.