First Advisor

Sherrie Gradin

Term of Graduation

Spring 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in English






English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching, English language -- Style -- Study and teaching, Group work in education, Teacher-student relationships



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 58 pages)


Dialogic epistemological theory dramatically changes traditional concepts of composition theory and pedagogy in several ways. First, it changes our understanding of the ways in which human beings acquire knowledge. By suggesting that the cognitive environment is dialogic, a product of consensus, rather than isolated within the individual, we come to understand knowledge as a product of experience and interpretation rather than a fixed quantity waiting to be discovered.

Second, dialogic epistemology had changed our concept of the way in which classrooms are configured as well as the ways in which they function. The notion of learning through dialogue facilitates collaboration as a legitimate method for teaching writing, a radical contrast to the image of the solitary writer, isolated by her craft.

Third, by empowering students, dialogic epistemology changes the relationship between students and the teacher. It undermines traditional hierarchies, substituting a more egalitarian approach to this relationship. Teachers and students become co-learners, sharing ideas and strategies.

Finally, dialogic epistemology changes the ways in which composition teachers approach the assessment of student texts. Because process-based pedagogy focuses on multiple drafts through feedback and revision, the emphasis on stylistic error becomes secondary to issues of critical engagement with the topic, organization of ideas, and the clear communication of those ideas.

This thesis is an in-depth discussion about the relationship between the dialogic nature of knowledge acquisition and the dialogic nature of the process approach to writing and how this relationship affects composition theory and pedagogy.


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