Monday, September 24, 2012


As I might have mentioned once or twice, academic journals seem to have some trouble in reaching me, despite my avid reading of them.*  Just a day or two ago, well into the month, I received my copy of the September 2012 issue of College English, and I have only today made a start on reading it.  A new editor has taken over work on the journal, which happens, and with that editor have come a new appearance for the journal and changes to the format.  The former makes little difference; I am more worried about the inside of the publication than the outside.  The latter, I am not yet sure of; I shall have to see what comes of it in the coming issues--provided they actually get to me.

As it is, I am going to have to order an issue that seems to have vanished.

Anyway, I have already plowed through a couple of the articles in the volume, including Tara Lockhart's "The Shifting Rhetorics of Style: Writing in Action in Modern Rhetoric" (College English 75.1 [September 2012]: 16-41).  Lockhart makes a passing comment that, "As they worked toward an effective style in their own writing, the [authors of Modern Rhetoric, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren,] also gained a better sense of the middle style they hoped to encourage in students" (21).  It put me in mind of another article that I have recently read, one by A. Abby Knoblauch entitled "A Textbook Argument: Definitions of Argument in Leading College Textbooks" (CCC 63.2 [December 2011]: 244-68). In fact, I think I may try reading the two articles in conjunction to see what kind of productive dialogue I can find between them...

To return, however: Lockhart's remark reminded me of comments I have made before on this blog (such as one here) which address the necessity of continuing learning to effective teaching.  That there is such a need is evident to me, and for several reasons.  One, and one which I likely need a bit more help in learning, is that continuing to learn keeps the teacher humble; it is useful to be reminded that there is a lot of knowledge out there that I do not yet have.  Too, it is helpful to be reminded that knowledge changes, and pressing on with researches in all fields makes manifest at least some of the ways in which it does so.  Further, continued learning allows the teacher to model processes for students--and to empathize with them as they struggle with much the same process (although, as one or two students have commented to me as the new term at my institution has started, their struggles are a bit more pronounced, since they do not have the dedicated years of practice in learning that I do).

To be reminded of the fact, and to be validated by seeing it reinforced in print in one of the major journals in the field in which I do most of my keep-earning work, is a good thing.

*Of course, since in one sense to read something is to devour it, if emotions and understandings can be ascribed to the creations of humanity--and it is something of a commonplace to associate the written word with the child, so that it can be inferred that people in fact so so ascribe--it is understandable that a journal would resist coming to me.  Their pages prove a tasty dish, if not for me quite so much as for Strand's narrator.

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