While reading Chapter 7 Predictor Variables the Future of Composition Research in Cindy Johanek’s Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition the first main thing I noticed is Cindy Johanek makes a distinction between literature and writing. This distinction automatically took me back to a classroom discussion. Many of us can agree that the two are very contrary to one another and it took me entering graduate school to realize that. Johanek says, “MLA treats text as a ‘living’ object of study, always in front of us, always available to us” (190). This statement and the explanations that followed were easy for me to comprehend but it became difficult when Johanek started talking about writing. The only thing that really stuck out to me was the word process. She basically says writing is more about process not the end result (Johanek 191). I honestly do not know if I agree. Maybe it just depends on the situation.
Furthermore, I understand why teachers want us to use recent publications in our work. I think it is to combat one of the main arguments Johanek makes which is
To write about composition publications in the present tense creates the illusion that our authors, regardless of the amount of time that has passed, still believe their theories of twenty years before. (191)
If we use recent publications, there is a greater chance the author continues to support what he/she said which makes Johanek argument less important.
In addition, Johanek makes the assertion that with “APA” the person who writes the research paper voice “isn’t as” engulfed by outside sources or voices (194). I believe one reason for citations is to differentiate between research and author’s opinion. What Johanek says, is not a reason to disregard “MLA” (190). Easier is not always better.
In the same section though, I partially agree that
the two groups in composition most likely to be storytellers (and be readily accepted as such) are those who have achieved status (‘big names’) and those who couldn’t care less about status yet (undergraduate peer tutors). (Johanek 196)
I see truth in this statement but at the same time I am in graduate school and some of the assignments we engage in gave me the opportunity to just share my story, and the story of people close to me. The story does not necessarily have to go into full detail. I think it honestly just depends on the major, the professor and what they value, and what the assignment is asking for.
To wrap my discussion up, the last two sections really touched upon what we discussed last class during Jessica’s presentation. Johanek says “numerous scholars have pointed to the lack of training in research and statistics by composition graduate programs designed to produce ‘humanists’ ” (199). I feel honored to be learning something that others may not necessarily be learning but like my class discussed it goes way beyond the graduate level. Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions by Joanne Addison and Sharon James McGee briefly touched upon the point my class made. The authors’ state,
further investigation of the data shows that of the five scales developed by NSSE there is significant adherence to, at best, only three (prewriting, clear expectations, and assigning higher-order writing) across the curriculum, and even these are subject to speculation. (Addison and McGee 156)
That statement basically proves some of the points Johanek and my class made. Moreover, these articles show teachers and students both have responsibilities to grow, adapt, and become more creative.
- What do you think was Johanek’s strongest argument? Did she blame “MLA” for doing anything she in fact did herself? (190)
- What did the two articles make you want to incorporate more within your classroom?
- Who or what do you think presented the most valuable research?