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A Plan for Teaching Rhetorical Invention

A Plan for Teaching Rhetorical Invention

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DOCUHENTRESUHE
ED025537
TE500242
By-
Larson.Richard
L
NationalCouncilofTeachersofEnglish.Champaign.III.PubDateNov68Note-9p.Availablefrom-NationalCouncilofTeachersofEnglish.508SSixthSt.Champaign.III.61822(asareprintbulletinentitled"Writing:VoiceandThought")JournalCit-CollegeEnglish;
v30
1"12p126-34Nov1968EDRSPrice
MF-$O.25
HCNotAvaifablefromEDRS.Descriptors-CompositionSkills
(literary).
English..HigherEducation..QuestioningTechniques.RhetOriC.
*
StudentNeeds.TeachingTechniques.WritingSkills
Adiscussionofhowtoteachrhetoricemphasizesthestudent'sneedtodiscoverthecontentofapieceofwriting.Thus.whatisneededinteachingisaplanwhichdrawsattentiontothe
experieoce...ftr
standthentothetaskofcommunicatingeffectively.Suchaplanforteachingrhetoricalinventionisoutlinedanddiscussed.Theoutlineconsistsofsevengroupsofquestionswhichteachersmighttrainstudentstouse.Thediscussionsuggeststhevalueofadesignforquestioningandthetypesofstudentevaluationwhichmaybeevokedfromthequestions.(BN)
 
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U.S.DEPARTMENTOFHEALTH,EDUCATION
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WELFAREOFFICEOFEDUCATION
COLLEGEENGLISH
Volume30Number2November1968.~
n02553tJ
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THISDOCUMENTHASBEENREPRODUCEDEXACTLYASRECEIVEDFROMTHEPERSONORORGAHIZATlONORIGINATINGIT.POINTSOFVIEWonOPINIONSSTATEDDONOTNECesSARILYREPRESENTOFFICIALOFFICEOFEDUCATIONPOSITIONORPOLICY.
DiscoveryThroughQuestioning:APlanforTeachingRhetoricalInvention
RICHh.RD
L.
LARSON
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IF
THEREISONE
crucialdifferencebe-hisground,thespeakercoulddrawon
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tweenthetreatmentof"invention"byhisknowledgeofrhetorictohelphim
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classicalrhetoriciansandbytheauthorsdefendit.
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oftextson"rhetoric"today,itisthis:Tobesure,asRichardHughespoints
-,
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fortheclassicalrhetoricians"invention"out,"argument"forAristotleis"dis-
it
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isonestepinwhatAristotlecalled"find-coveredjudgment"onquestionssuchas
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writersoftextbooksinventionisfindingexperienceisstillflexibleenoughtotake
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something-anything-tosayaboutanymanyshapes"("TheContemporaneity
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chosensubject.Aristotle,Cicero,andofClassicalRhetoric,"
CollegeCompo-
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heirfollowerstrainedstudentstoargue
sidonandCommunication,
October,
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foraparticularpropositionoffactor1965,p.158).Butwhatisdiscoveredis
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ofvalueorofpolicy-thesemaycor-stillajud~ment(tresumablyonanissue
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andeliberativediscourse,respectively-andthejudgments(propositions)from
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hathadalreadybeensecurelydeter-whichthespeakerhadtochooseweremined.Theyevidentlyassumedthatifsuggestedtohimalmostimmediatelyby
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theexactpropositiontoarguewasinhisdata.Oncehehaddiscoveredhis
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doubt,thespeakerknewwhatwerethejudgment,histaskbecamethatofadapt-
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propositionsthatmightbeargued,andinghisarguments,thedesignofhis
if
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hadonlytodecidewhichpropositiondiscourse,andhismodeofexpressionto
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bestfittedthefacts.Eithertheclienthisaudienceandtheoccasionforspeak-
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wasguiltyofmurder,forexample,oring.Or,asProfessorHughesputsita
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thehomicidewasaccidental,ortheclient
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capturedenemiesruthlessly.Eithertheaudience."
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stateshouldmakewaronitsenemiesun-Theauthorsofcurrenttextsonrhet-)
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tilitwins,orthestateshouldnegotiate
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withitsenemies.Afterhehadchosencommunication),however,donotassume,
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thatyoungwritersandspeakerswhowill..
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Larson,DirectorofCompositionatthe
usetheirbookshaveinhandaproposi-
U~iversityofHawaii,wrotethe
Rhetorical
tion(ormorethanone)readytobe
GuidetotheBorzoiCollegeReader.
Heispre..
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paringabookontheteachingofexpository
argued.Thesestudentsarealongway,
'writing.
itseems,frombeingreadytoargueprop-
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DISCOVERYTHROUGHQUESTIONING
ositionsoffact,value,orpolicy.Con-frontingthetaskofwritinganessay,moststudentsarebarrenofideas,ourtext-writerstellus,ortheyareinclinedtopreferunworkablybroadsubjects(e.g.,"heroesinDickens"),ortheyhavemanyundevelopedideas-noneofthemwell-formedpropositionsthatcanbearguedinanessay.Whentheydiscussinvention,ourtext-writersapparentlyseeknomorethantogetstudentstowritesomethingspecific-itseemsnottomatterwhat-aboutsomesubject-itseemsnottomatterwhich.(In"Teach-ingStudentstheArtofDiscovery,"
CollegeCompositionandCommunica-tion,
February,
1968,
DavidHarringtondemonstratesthefuzzinessandrelativeemptinessoftheadviceaboutinventioninmanycurrenttexts.)WritingandspeakingarcsimplychoresassignedbyteachersofEnglishandSpeech,ratherthanmeansforputtingacrossanauthor'sconvictionsvividlytoreadersorlistenerssothatauthorandaudiencemayap-proachameetingofminds(whatKen-nethBurkecalls"identification").Grantingthatthetreatmentofin-ventioninmanycurrent"zhetorlc"textsissuperficial,thesebooksmaybequitecorrectinassumingthatinteachingin-ventionwefaceataskwhichtherhet-oriciansofGreeceandRomeevidentlydidnottry
\.0
address.Thatisthetaskofhelpingstudentsdecidewhatexperi-ences,orpartsofexperiences,
should
be
discussed,
Tostatethepointdiffer-ently,thetaskistohelpstudentssecwhatisofinterestandvalueintheirexperiences,toenablethemtorecognizewhensomethingtheyseeorreadorfeelwarrantsaresponsefromthem,inotherwordstostimulateactive
inquiry
intowhatishappeningaroundtheminplaceofthe
indifference
orpassivitywithwhichtheyoftenfaceotherthantheirmostdramaticexperiences.Ofcoursesomestudentsoftenhaveconvictionstoexpress(propositionstoargue)andmost
,
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studentshavesuchconvictionssome-times.Soteaching"invention"astheclassicalrhetoriciansperceiveditisbynomeansirrelevant,althoughwemightwishourstudentstothinkofrhetoric,andthereforeofinvention,notasameansofpersuasion(whichcanbeachievedunfairly)butastheartofwrit-ingsoastowinthereader'srespectfortheirconvictionsineverycase,andhisassentwhereverassentcanbefairlywon.Whatisneededfortheteachingofinventiontoday,therefore,isaplanthatwillhelpthestudentexplorehisexperiencestodiscoverwhenitisim-portanttospeakout,andthatwillhelphimspeakouteffectivelyonthoseoc-casions.Weneedaplanthatdrawsat-"tentionfirsttotheexperienceandthentothetaskofcommunicatingeffectively.Onesourceofhelpinfindingthisplanmaybethepsychologistswhohavestudiedthephenomenonof"creativity,"asGordonRohmandemonstratedinthereportofhisexperimentswith"pre-writing"exercisesafewyearsagoinwritingclassesatMichiganStateUniver-sity,whichwerebasedinpartontheoriesbyRolloMayandArthurKoestlerabouttheprocessofcreating.!Thesewritersarguethatifastudentistocreate,to"bring[somethingnew]intobirth"(RolloMay'swords),hemustlearntounderstandthoroughlyhisexperiences,thedatilhehastoworkwith-whatMaycallshis"world."Hemustbecomein-timatelyfamiliarwiththedetailsofthoseexperiences,thepossiblerelationshipsamongfacts,andthepossibleimplica-tionsofthosefacts.Hemustthenbewillingtotransform,reformulate,orre..combinethoseexperiencesintonewimag-ined
forms,
As
May
putsit,thecrea-tiveperson(including,presumably,a
1
sefuldiscussionsofthepsychologyofcre-ativityappearinCalvinTaylorandFrankWil-liams,
eds,
InstructionalMediaandCreativity
(NewYork,1966),especiallyinthepapers
by
J.
P.GuilfordandMalcolmProvus.
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,
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