Rhetorical Pedagogy

Rhetorical Pedagogy

Rhetoric as pedagogy has found its way in and out, then in and out again, and finally back into composition programs.

For now..

In order to create a Snapshot of rhetorical pedagogy, I believe it best (and most helpful) to produce lists and visuals that function to help us recall some of the history (dating back to Ancient Greece and Rome) of this dynamic, process-based pedagogy.

A Return to Rhetoric

James Kinneavy’s Communication Triangle:

  • Encoder (writer)
  • Decoder (audience)
  • Reality (context)

“Rhetoric is a concept that expands and contracts” (39)

Classical Rhetoric

Sophists/Platonists: “writing should always approach ‘truth’ as a contingent phenomenon” (40)

Aristotelian – Rhetorical Triangle

  • Pathos
  • Logos
  • Ethos

Rhetorical Invention – A Process, not product pedagogy (42)

Current Traditional Rhetoric (CTR)

16th Century                                                                               18th and 19th Centuries

Peter Ramus – “objective rhetoric” (44)                               Lockean Empiricism

5 Canons of Rhetoric                                                                4 Modes of Discourse    

  • Invention                                                                            Narration
  • Arrangement                                                                     Description
  • Style                                                                                     Exposition
  • Memory                                                                              Argumentation                          
  • Delivery


Twentieth-Century Rhetoric

Kenneth Burke on Rhetoric

“the use of language as a symbolic means of including cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols” (45)

Relationships that Inform all Symbolic Action

  • Act
  • Agent
  • Scene
  • Agency
  • Purpose

Terry Eagleton on Rhetoric

“Activity inseparable from the wider social relations between writers and readers” (46)

Sociocultural Dimensions of Rhetoric – Literary Theory: An Introduction

1960s & 1970s

Wayne Booth on Rhetoric

“the whole art of discovering and sharing warrantable assertions” (46)

Shared Values

Information retrieved and adapted from William A. Covino’s chapter, “Rhetorical Pedagogy,” as it appears in the tri-authored text A Guide to Composition Pedagogies.


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