Hiatt: “The Feminine Style: Theory and Fact”

Hiatt, Mary P. “The Feminine Style: Theory and Fact.” College Composition and Communication. 29.3 (1978): 222-226.

Hiatt tests the theory of “group-style,” in particular proposition that there exists masculine and feminine styles, by collecting and analyzing data from 100 books (50 authored by men, 50 authored by women). Her study takes a 2,000 word sample from each book. Hiatt finds that “there is a feminine style that is not the same as a masculine style,” while cautioning against the conclusion that “either style is a ‘norm'” (223). In addition, “of greater interest, perhaps, is the discovery that the masculine style and the feminine style do not always differ in the commonly perceived or described ways” (223). Hiat concludes that , “there is, in other words, clear evidence of a feminine style and sound justification for the theory of group style.”

Style, Masculine, Feminine, Braddock Award

Words: ~2,900

Pages: 4

Citations: 2

Affiliation: Baruch College (CUNY)


Gebhardt: “Balancing Theory with Practice in the Training of Writing Teachers”

Gebhardt, Richard C. “Balancing Theory with Practice in the Training of Writing Teachers.” College Composition and Communication. 28.2 (1977): 134-140. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.

Pascal's Triangle


Braddock Award, theory/practice, frameworks, disciplinarity, pedagogy

Bibliographic Notes

Words: ~4,000

Pages: 6

References: ~16

Affiliation: Findlay College


Gephardt proposes a methodical, quasi-taxonomic approach to the teaching of writing. He argues teachers of writing should be versed in four of knowledge (history of English language, rhetoric, theoretical frameworks, methods of writing). The theoretical frameworks are a group of three binaries (Classical/Existential, Thinking/Writing, Product/Process). The methods of writing encompases five ideas (writing as practice, concern with audience, writing as process, teacher empathy, student agency). Gephardt continues by arguing for the importance of balanced theory and practice, suggesting that teacher training should encompass learning “what,” “how,” and “why,” of writing. Gephardt also argues strongly for teacher training to include and focus teachers writing about the teaching of writing

“A highly technical grounding in rhetoric is not absolutely necessary, as the NCTE book, What Every English Teacher Should Know, implies when it distinguishes between ‘good’ and ‘superior’ writing teachers. The latter, the book indicates, should have ‘a detailed knowledge of theories and history of rhetoric though the ‘good’ teacher need only be able to recognize ‘such characteristics of good writing as substantial and relevant content; organization; clarity; appropriateness of tone'” (135).

cf. Braddock (“Topic Sentence”) and Corder (“Learned”); it’s interesting to place some of the prose in Gebhardt’s Braddock Award up against previous awardees Braddock and Corder. SPecifically, Gebhardt’s quote of Richard Larson on rhetoric: “‘writing is a series of choices among alternatives and that a good writer must shape his discourse carefully to make it reach its intended audience effectively and accomplish its intended purpose'” (135). Braddock warned against overstatements and Corder struggled with finding occasions to write (i.e., unclear sense of audience & purpose).

What’s interesting here is the melting pot of ideas Gephardt presents here. The times were a changin, and it’s clear that works that emerge about a decade later (North, Phelps, Crowley) were simmering in same milieu that Gephardt writes in here. What’s most interesting to me is this moment: “the Writing for Teachers of Writing course should ask students to write about the teaching of writing” (139).  The call for writing about writing would be echoed three decades later in the work of Wardle and Downs and the emerging writing about writing framework for FYW.


Matott: “In Search of a Philosophical Context for Teaching Composition”

Matott, Glenn. “In Search of a Philosophical Context for Teaching Composition.” College Composition and Communication. 27. 1 (1976): 25-31. Web. 21 Jan 2015.

Martin_Buber_portraitKey Terms

Braddock Award, process pedagogy, Martin Buber, student-centered pedagogy, philosophy

Bibliographic Notes

Words: ~4,000-4,500

Pages: 6

References: ~5

Author Affiliation: Colorado State

Summary, Quotes, Notes

Matott advocates for a student-centered process pedagogy informed by the dialogic philosophy of Martin Buber. Matott calls for a turn away both from overly traditional, prescriptive pedagogies as well as “free reign” pedagogies and carves out a middle path: “pedagogy which would avoid the perils of either the funnel or the pump” (30).

“My argument is, of course, that the conceptual underpinnings of the new pedagogical orientation are very weak” (26).

Writing is characterized as “liberating” and “a creative process of self-awareness and self-expression” which requires “command of techniques appropriate to the expressive/creative medium” (26).

Weaves through the work of Carl Rogers, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Buber.

cf. Louise Wetherbee Phelps, Composition as a Human Science

D’Angelo: “The Search for Intelligible Structure in the Teaching of Composition”

D’Angelo, Frank J. “The Search for Intelligible Structure in the Teaching of Composition.” College Composition and Communication. 27.2 (1976): 142-147. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.

D'Angelo's Taxonomy
D’Angelo’s Taxonomy of the Content of Composition


Braddock Award, pedagogy, composition crisis, disciplinarity, teacher training, rhetorical situation, modes of discourse

Bibliographic notes:

Words: ~3,000-3,500

Pages: 5

References: ~19

Author Affiliation: Arizona State University


“This multiplication and confusion of terms, goals, and means has obscured writing or one kind of reading over our ability to see our field of inquiry another, to evaluate papers chiefly clearly and to see it whole” (143).

“in view of this latest ‘crisis’ in composition, few teachers today would take seriously Warner Rice’s proposal, made in 1960, that freshman composition be abolished” (142).

D’Angelo calls for “a new unity and order to the field” (147). As argued in Stephen North’s Making of Knowledge in Composition, this article situates itself in a time of crisis, affording an exigent call to disciplinarity. References range from classical rhetoric to tagmemics with a heavy dose of Alexander Bain. D’Angelo grounds his taxonomy (above image) in the modes and forms of discourse alongside the rhetorical concerns of audience, writer, and purpose. The positivist overtones are striking.

Enduring tropes:

The skills gap and underprepared students

The debate over the content of composition

Progress narrative (both at the level of student and curricula)

Corder: “What I Learned at School”

Corder, Jim W. “What I Learned at School.” College Composition and Communication. 26.4 (1975): 330-334. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.


Braddock Award, process pedagogy, pedagogy, invention, arrangement

Bibliographic Notes:

Words: ~2,500-3,000

Pages: 4

Citations: 0

Author Affiliation: Texas Christian University

Process pedagogy falls flat when a teacher tries it out for himself in an over-stuffed course.

The second recipient of the Braddock Award. Corder reflects on a semester of trying out his own (nine) essay assignments alongside his students, leading to some revelations. Corder struggled with invention, framed here through an appeal to process pedagogy, and finding “occasions” to write, i.e., his writing lacked authentic exigence. Corder spends time discussing structure [arrangement], and briefly mentions style as well. The article finishes with the entirety of his final writing of the semester, itself offering writing advice that both reaffirms process pedagogy and seems to anticipate later turns toward social epistemics.

Braddock: “The Frequency and Placement of Topic Sentences in Expository Prose”

Braddock, Richard. “The Frequency and Placement of Topic Sentences in Expository Prose” Research in the Teaching of English. 8.3 (1974): 287-302. Web.

103 TopoI reactions


topic sentences, composition textbooks, pedagogy, 

Bibliographic notes:

Words: ~4,000-4,500 words

Pages: 15

References: 7

Author Affiliation: N.S.W. Institute of Technology & University of Iowa

One-sentence summary:

Professionally written essays in popular journals do not conform to the kinds of rules for topic sentences that composition textbooks call for.


Braddok tests composition textbook definitions of topic sentences against published writing. Braddok’s aim is to methodically identify topic sentences in a corpus consisting of a corpus of 25 popular journals such as the New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, etc.  He uses the technical term “T-unit” (essentially an independent clause) and outlining methods to analyze the corpus’ prose and to classify topic sentences into four categories. Braddock finds that “simple topic sentences” (298) — the kind of topic sentence typically taught to students as desirable — is not as common as indicated by textbooks. In fact, “considerably fewer than half of all the paragraphs in the essays have even explicit topic sentences, to say nothing of simple topic sentences” (299).

 “Teachers and textbook writers should exercise caution in making statements about the frequency with which contemporary professional writers use simple or even explicit topic sentences in expository paragraphs. It is abundantly clear that students should not be told that professional writers usually begin their paragraphs with topic sentences” (301).

“This sample of contemporary professional writing did not support the claims of textbook writers about the frequency and location of topic sentences in professional writing. That does not, of course, necessarily mean the same findings would hold for scientific and technical writing or other types of exposition. Moreover, it does not all mean that composition teachers should stop showing their students how to develop paragraphs from clear topic sentences. Far from it. In my opinion, often the writing in the 25 essays would have been clearer and more comfortable to read if the paragraphs had presented more explicit topic sentences” (301).

First entrant in my “41 Braddock Award WInners in 41 Days Challenge.” Wish me luck.

In course work this semester, we’re reading a handful of histories (North, Phelps, Crowley, Mailloux) about the early disciplinary accretion of composition, and Braddock’s work here maps well to the tensions and movements outlined in those texts. Specifically, Braddock’s work seems to anticipate Stephen North’s critique of “lore” as a driving force in the (pseudo-) scholarship of early composition research. Braddock’s warning here seems to be against overstatement or overgeneralization (in this case of the use and structure of topic sentences), rather than a critique of particular pedagogical frameworks (cf. James Berlin, “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class,” 1988). The methodical study presented here is followed seven years later by the methodical, cognitivist approach to of Flower and Hayes in their “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing.” (Braddock ’74, Flower & Hayes ’81, Berlin ’88.)

Septennial coincidences aside, the significance of this work lies in its author’s eponymous connection to the “article of the year” award as recognized by the CCC: The Braddock Award. Jana Rosinski has delved into the Braddock Award winners in prior work, and I’m interested as well in the patterns that may surface as I read this series at different scales.