“from analysis to design: visual communication in the teaching of writing”

CLAIM: the role of the visual in composition has note been deployed as capaciously as it might be: “our students have a much richer imagination for what we might accomplish with the visual than our journals have yet to address”

Traces the emergence of *visual literacy* in writing classrooms:

through a number of reports from the New London Group on mulitliteracy, NCTE on TV (via the Postman report), and attention to the visual invited by the Dick and Jane books, English teachers are periodically confronted with a similar exigence — the need to redefine literacy in a way that extends literacy to new media adn new domains

In the past, this meant that literacy was to be studied, analyzed, scrutinized, and critiqued. Frequently, this meant asking students to look at graphs, charts, art, and other mass media and evaluate/interpret those texts. The end goal of these exercises was in service to the development of print literacy.

In sum:  there runs an ongoing suspicion that the visual must somehow be important to writing. It just isn’t entirely clear how. Are images strategies for getting students to pay attention to detail? Do they mimic the rhetoric of verbal argument? Are they a dumbing down of writing instruction making visible to nonverbal students what the verbally gifted can conceptualize? Clearly, there is the message in much of this work that images may be useful, even proper stimuli for writing, but they are no substitute for the complexity of language”

ENTER the 80s’ –> Based on Berger’s transactional theory of the visual, the adoption of Berger’s idea to Comp readers, and the inclusion of film in English departments, nonverbal texts came to be viewed as compositions where verbal and nonverbal texts are “equal partners traveling along the same road”

DESIGN shift attention “from the product to the act of production”

DESIGN –> a historical attention to the look of handwriting and attention to the design of research papers have lays the ground for thinking about writing as “visible language produced and circulated in material forms.” Desktop publishers supported this effort. And more contemporaneously, web platforms and ubiquitous internet access have mad the option to do more than analyze visual texts (to produce visual texts) possible

DEFINITION of design –> ask writers to draw on available knowledge and, at the same time, transform that knowledge/those forms as we redesign; attends to the visual and includes an understanding of how students acquire literacy

Visual in Composition today –> discusses an assignment which asks students to compose a visual argument, aim/purpose/audience are up to the students to decide.


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