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A new theoretical paradigm for teaching writing and organizing composition research was at hand by 1982, focusing on how writers write and the practice of interventionist teaching. Today, the process theory of teaching composition dominates the field, yet it has not shifted teaching practices or research questions toward the settings and assumptions inherent in "actual" contemporary acts of writing. Research shows, for example, that traditional orientations toward the product are still widely popular. Among process theories, the product is often viewed as the only measure of process, and categories of writers are traditional and based on the produced texts. The status of composition studies, however, has been radically reformulated into a science, and its object has become the status and practices of legitimate researchers and teachers. Despite the massive theorizing, both texts and students are subjected to fundamentally formalist interpretations, and basic assumptions remain the same. Writing is still broadly categorized as either good or bad, reflecting the enduring model of historical evaluation. Various critics, embracing Marxist theories, have argued that historically, the study of English has presented a unified moral pedagogy whose object has been to monitor and evaluate a social class called "students." In this view, composition is a domain of regulated interventions into the lives of a population for purposes of regulation. Thus, whether according to product or process approaches, students remain unliberated, and continue to think of themselves as"not good at English." (HB)

Descriptors: Higher Education, Process Approach (Writing), Student Attitudes, Writing (Composition), Writing Instruction, Writing Processes, Writing Research, Writing Teachers

Autor: Miller, Susan


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