Response to Selfe’s Aurality: the Function of Composition Class

Selfe’s piece is comprehensive and informative. By reviewing the history of English Department and the composition class, Selfe describes how the social value and ideology forms the dominant position of writing instead of speaking. And she argues the composition instructors should encourage the students to adopt multiple ways “in which students compose and communicate meaning, the exciting hybrid, multimodal texts they create—in both nondigital and digital environments. ”

Since I really like Selfe’s piece, I google her name and find another article: Doug Hesse’s response to Selfe’s paper. His response also published on the CCC. I think it’s also thought provoking. My classmates who have interest in the discussion on aurality composition can read it.

So I will focus my response on both articles: Selfe’s Aurality and Hesse’s Response.

I want to continue my last week discussion on the pragmatical function of composition class. In Hesse’s article, he lists several interests that the composition class serves: “those of the academy, those of the workplace, and those of the polis, with an occasional fourth and fifth: those of the individual, including in social relationship, and those of discourse, especially in aesthetic production”(Hesse, 604). However, I think these functions are not isolated but connected. For academy and for the workplace can be seen as the lower requirement of education; however, this process is accompany with the self improvement and refinement.

As for this week’s reading, I think Selfe’s argument perfectly explained the function of a composition class. I would like to list a quotation which I think is fascinating:

I would argue that the primary work of any classroom is to help students use semiotic resources to think critically, to explore, and to solve problems. In composition classes, this means helping students work through communicative problems—analyzing a range of rhetorical tasks and contexts (online, in print contexts, and face to face); deploying a range of assets (both digital and nondigital) effectively and responsibly; and making meaning for a range of purposes, audiences, and information sets (644)”.

Work Cited:

Hesse, Doug. “Response to Cynthia L. Selfe’s‘The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing.’” College Composition and Communication 61.3 (2010): 602–605. Print.


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