by Beth Baldwin
Anyway, here's an example of how Beth uses the words -
"The presentation in CCC of their two essays as "conversation" is ironic: even though the
editors allow other voices to respond, monologically, to the primary soliloquies of
Bartholomae and Elbow, no one seems to get the picture that what really ought to be
happening is a shifting of pedagogical practice from the production of monological artifacts
(including those which claim to participate in metaphorical "conversations") to the production
of conversation itself."
"It may be observed that teaching language/writing from either the perspective of Bartholomae
(logical, formal) or that of Elbow (expressive) does indeed remove the use of language from
its natural give-and-take communicative purpose, especially when that purpose is to be
conceived in a genuine and experiential way."
Here is use of "genuine" again -
Neither the metaphor of conversation between historical texts and student texts nor a dialogue
that takes place only in a classroom publication is genuine conversation.
Now why not genuine? I've tried to show Bakhtin's view that speech has genres, and that literature contains those genres imbedded. Marcia Farr ("Essayist Literacy and Other Verbal Performances") also supports this view by citing researchers
who have studied oral literacy extensively. One small quote and then I'll be quiet about this for awhile - ". . . language use in a literate society draws on aspects of 'orality' and literacy in subtle and overlapping ways. In other words, speaking
and writing are alternate ways of using one's language capacities, or communicative competence, and very often both modes are used within a single speech or literacy event. Thus the crucial distinction is not between speech and writing, but between text
. . . and context" (11). Shirley Brice Heath in Ways with Words also shows how different conversation styles are used in the Tracton community that caused conflict in primary school classes for its members. I think you get the point, so that's
enough of this.
Sorry for the (mostly) monologue here. Morgan was out of town when this section was (mostly) written. But she gives a great summary of her views of pedagogy and conversation in our Process section that touches on some of these issues.