Balancing Acts: Essays on the Teaching of Writing in Honor of William F. Irmscher

Overview

At a time when the study of composition seems especially prone to excess and imbalance—heading toward what could be a tyrannizing theoretical order—here is a call back to the center, to the concreteness of the teaching moment itself.

In a festschrift to honor William F. Irmscher, director for twenty-three years of the University of Washington composition program, the editors outline the need for a "balancing act" among theories and between theory and teaching. This balancing act...

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Overview

At a time when the study of composition seems especially prone to excess and imbalance—heading toward what could be a tyrannizing theoretical order—here is a call back to the center, to the concreteness of the teaching moment itself.

In a festschrift to honor William F. Irmscher, director for twenty-three years of the University of Washington composition program, the editors outline the need for a "balancing act" among theories and between theory and teaching. This balancing act is a tribute to Irmscher, who counseled compromise and the resolution of conflicting viewpoints. Irmscher could reconcile new ideas with the practical struggles of student writers and composition teachers. As a theorist, Irmscher was one of the first to bring theoretical rigor to composition studies, yet he always strove to express the issues—however complex—in clear and fluid language.

The two parts of the text invoke the balancing act between the concerns of the students and the concerns of the teachers. The first part, "Identity and Community," presents six essays about helping students explore their identities as writers and the effectiveness of those identities within communities of writers. The second part, "Intuition and Institution," includes five essays focusing on the dynamics of teachers’ decision making about theory and pedagogy within their own institutional communities. The last chapter examines Irmscher’s life and writings.

This celebration of William F. Irmscher is a celebration of the complexity and the humanness of the act of composing and of the student writers themselves, who are at the heart of this whole enterprise.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Goscilo (Slavic studies, U. of Pittsburgh) has collected 19 stories by Russian women, written over the last 20 years. The work is a composite self-portrait of modern Russian womanhood. Dominant themes are the prevalence of the double-shift syndrome--women's conflicting responsiblities on the job and at home--and the dilemmas of professional achievements and frustrations versus private joys and disappointments. Social problems and abuses emerge as an extension of personal human relations and historical developments. Cloth edition ($39.95) not seen by UPBN. A festschrift in honor of the director of the U. of Washington composition program. Essays in the first section deal with helping students explore their identities as writers and offer a close look at the paradoxes and compromises of student-teacher interaction. The second section essays address the dynamics of teachers' decision- making about theory and pedagogy within their own institutional communities. No index. Paper edition (unseen), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809316380
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1991
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia A. Chappell is assistant professor of English at Marquette University.

Mary Louise Buley-Meissner is assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Chris Anderson is associate professor of English and composition coordinator at Oregon State University.

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