Nature of Composition Outside the Classroom

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Presented at the College English Association Annual Conference: "Nature"
April 4-6, 2013

"The Nature of Composition Outside the Classroom: Can we change the world without it changing us?"
Exploring the intersection of Composition and the teaching of legal writing

Published in: Education, Business
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Nature of Composition Outside the Classroom

  1. 1. The Nature of Composition Outside Our Classroom Can we change the world and not be changed? Tabitha Martin
  2. 2. Founded in 1921 2008: Expansion of the LARW program Changes in what/how legal writing is taught (⇏ “legalese”)
  3. 3. English Dept. Concerns That our knowledge & expertise wouldn’t be valued That form-based concerns (grammar, etc.) would overwhelm the attention to composing Power and $$ issues
  4. 4. Law School Pedagogy Socratic method Teacher-focused Honor Code Individual rankings Distributive grading Focused on “form” & conventions
  5. 5. Composition Pedagogy “Writing is collaboration” --Reither & Vipond Teacher as writing coach/ editor Student-focused Portfolios, Contract grading “Teach Writing as Process not Product” --Donald Murray r-based Prose” “Reade --Linda Flower Individual conferences, small-group workshopping Focused on content & process
  6. 6. A Writing “Contact Zone” Law School Pedagogy Law Writing Center Composition Pedagogy
  7. 7. What we do
  8. 8. Application
  9. 9. What we have in Common Law practitioners ARE writers Compositionists are writers & experts in the teaching of writing Share many ideas about the links between writing & thinking
  10. 10. Balance Building bridges out to the larger world is a balancing act Our knowledge is distinct but applicable in other fields As long as we don’t it let it be subsumed in other disciplines
  11. 11. Writing is still Writing “High quality writing is one of the crafts most necessary to a successful career in law” -Pollman “an approach through ends may more nearly correspond to the natural way in which the mind assimilates information” -Eckhardt & Stewart Eckhardt, Caroline D. and David H. Stewart. “Towards a Functional Taxonomy of Composition.” 1979 Pollman, Terrill. “building a Tower of Babel or Building a Discipline? Talking about Legal Writing.” 2002
  12. 12. We must own our expertise Often we feel protective of what we have “scraped up” into a discipline Can’t be afraid to share it Be confident in our knowledge to “loan” what works to other disciplines and let it be adapted as needed We may not need to change so much as let ourselves be influenced--as we want to influence
  13. 13. Thank You

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