Teaching Writing to Non-Native English Majors
A New Sophistic Approach to the Purpose and Syllabus of First-Year Writing
Keywords:New Sophistic Rhetoric, Composition Studies, Protagoras, Isocrates
One’s mastery of speech conventions is considered an essential qualification for an educated individual, especially a scholar of English. Teaching writing to non-native English majors, writing instructors feel the burden to adopt the Current-traditional pedagogy. It is a process that stresses students’ internalization of speech conventions and treats students as passive recipients. Current-traditional pedagogy is inadequate to foster future scholars. This article offers a plan for teaching freshman writing inspired by the ideas and values of Protagoras and Isocrates and identified as New Sophistic pedagogy. Good speech/logos lies on good reasoning defined by one’s knowing himself/herself and one’s sociopolitical awareness. Thus, the proposed pedagogy focuses on students’ intellectual and emotional maturity. The writing instructor understands his/her moral responsibility to guide his/her students, and the students realize their leading role in the learning process. It consists of three cycles of deliberative discourse: Monologic argument, Mediation, and Negotiation. Through the different argumentation types, students understand that speech/logos mirrors one’s mind, his/her true essence. Progressively, students prepare themselves as true scholars by cultivating personal and social identity and feeling empathy for the other.
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