Rethinking our composing, recomposing our thinking : composition studies and cognitive psychology consider writing

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Leslie Ferguson-Oles (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Marsha Baker

Abstract: This thesis strives for an interdisciplinary conversation between composition studies and cognitive psychology. Under particular consideration is the role of automatic thinking in reading and writing and how certain pedagogies of writing might move students away from automatic thinking and towards deliberate, intentional thinking. Of particular interest is the pedagogy of Ann E. Berthoff, who is placed in a lineage of interdisciplinary thinkers including Lev Vygotsky, I.A. Richards, and Paulo Freire. Concepts advocated by Berthoff's composition theories and by her contemporaries, including David Bartholomae, Anthony Petrosky, and Mariolina Salvatori, closely correlate with cognitive psychology principles regarding how to overcome automatic thinking and reestablish executive control, responsible for intentional thought, within the brain. Berthoff's concepts include the use of the dialectic, collaborative learning, and time. These concepts are considered theoretically, scientifically, and practically within the context of the first-year writing classroom. Surrounding the theoretical discussion is the question of what the role of the first-year writing classroom can play in preparing students for a rapidly changing, increasingly unpredictable world and how interdisciplinary work can enhance understanding within and potential for the field composition studies.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Ann E. Berthoff, Automaticity, David Bartholomae, Lev Vygotsky, Paulo Freire
Composition (Language arts)
Cognitive psychology
Critical thinking

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