Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Phillip J. Sipiora, Ph.D.

Keywords

Editing, Teaching, Rhetoric, Computers, Writing centers

Abstract

Intrigued by the English language and its far-reaching applications worldwide as a standard means of communication, I begin my disquisition with a focus on the meaning and derivation of grammar and its place in the trivium of ancient and modern study. I stress the need to reemphasize college-level instruction in grammar and mechanics as a complement to rhetoric and logic by studying and teaching editing, which involves semantics, syntax, phonology, morphology, conventions, mechanics (spelling, punctuation and format), in writing centers and classrooms. Noting growing nationwide illiteracy, I research the pedagogies and writing of experts in the field of rhetoric and composition to develop and share a balanced philosophy of learning and teaching the art, science, and mathematics of writing with a focusing on conscientiously creating sentences with an Isocratean sense of perfection.

Continually learning methods to reintroduce grammar in a novel way, I present antidotal information, statistics, and expert opinions and interpretations of pedagogists and rhetoricians of both sides of the Grammar Debate, a polemic over the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of teaching grammar. From my experience as a composition teacher at the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College in Florida, I present suggestions from students, who through their questions and overwhelming documented requests for grammar help and attention to sentence-level concerns, helped me rediscover myself through the reflective and recursive aspects of writing. Teaching students Standard English for academic discourse and for writing with computers across the curriculum, I share the power of words and explain the negative effects of errors and how to eliminate the serious ones.

Graphs and tables of data collected from conference information forms and questionnaires filled out by students in writing centers or classrooms reveal the objectives and viewpoints of students, those whom institutions and teachers serve. Having developed a "polypedagogy," I share the knowledge I have gathered from others with innovative and creative ideas for teaching the historically boring or abstract subject of grammar.

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