Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-x

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Preface

Ray Land

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pp. xi-xiv

During the first half of my professional career in education, my time was occupied almost entirely with the teaching of writing and encouraging students to appreciate and critique all kinds of written works. As I moved at a later stage into educational and pedagogical research, the...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

The seeds of this book were planted at the Elon University Research Seminar on Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer. We thank Elon University and the seminar facilitators—Jessie Moore, Chris M. Anson, and Randy Bass—as well as our fellow seminar participants...

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Introduction: Coming to Terms: Composition/Rhetoric, Threshold Concepts, and a Disciplinary Core

Kathleen Blake Yancey

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pp. xvii-xxxiv

From the modern beginnings of the field of rhetoric and composition, we in the field have shared a self-evident claim about the primary focus of rhetoric and composition: that it has at its center the practice of writing and its teaching. At the same time, this observation, as straightforward...

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Naming What We Know: The Project of This Book

Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle

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pp. 1-12

Reading across the last fifty years of research, it is possible to make a case that our field has in many ways been concerned with its constitution as field. Researchers and teachers have reflected on what the field is, whether it is a field, and so on—and on a fairly regular basis. That...

Part 1: Threshold Concepts of Writing

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Metaconcept: Writing Is an Activity and a Subject of Study

Elizabeth Wardle and Linda Adler-Kassner

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pp. 15-16

Writing is created, produced, distributed, and used for a variety of purposes. In this sense, it is an activity in which individuals and groups engage. However, the production, consumption, circulation, distribution, and use of writing are also areas of inquiry. Researchers in a number...

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Concept 1: Writing Is a Social and Rhetorical Activity

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pp. 17-34

It is common for us to talk about writing in terms of the particular text we are working on. Consider, for example, how often writers describe what they are doing by saying “I am writing an email” or “I’m writing a report” or “I’m writing a note.” These shorthand descriptions tend to collapse...

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Concept 2: Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms

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pp. 35-47

A fundamental problem in communication precedes the choosing of any words or shaping of any message: identifying the situation we are in and the nature of the communication we wish to make. Are salespeople offering us a deal and do we want to accept? Are our acquaintances...

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Concept 3: Writing Enacts and Creates Identities and Ideologies

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pp. 48-58

An ideology is a system of ideas and beliefs that together constitute a comprehensive worldview. We make sense of the world around us through the ideologies to which we have been exposed and conditioned. Ideologies are both formed and sustained by a variety of factors, including...

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Concept 4: All Writers Have More to Learn

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pp. 59-70

Many people assume that all writing abilities can be learned once and for always. However, although writing is learned, all writers always have more to learn about writing.
The ability to write is not an innate trait humans are born possessing. Humans are “symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animals...

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Concept 5: Writing Is (Also Always) a Cognitive Activity

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pp. 71-82

Behind the claim by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle in “Metaconcept: Writing Is an Activity and a Subject of Study” in this volume that “writing can never be anything but a social and rhetorical act” are decades of research inspired by what is now known as the...

Part 2: Using Threshold Concepts

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Introduction: Using Threshold Concepts

Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle

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pp. 84-88

Part 1 of Naming What We Know took up the task of finding a set of foundational concepts on which a group of disciplinary experts in writing studies could agree. Part 2 of the book considers what writing faculty or, in some instances, faculty who use writing in their teaching...

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6. Threshold Concepts and Student Learning Outcomes

Heidi Estrem

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pp. 89-104

One of the premises of this edited collection is that descriptions of writing matter, and matter deeply. Writing—for reasons articulated throughout this collection—is particularly vulnerable to uneven or problematic portrayals. In higher education, it has become common practice...

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7. Threshold Concepts in First-Year Composition

Doug Downs and Liane Robertson

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pp. 105-121

First-year composition (FYC) is “a space, a moment, and an experience— in which students might reconsider writing apart from previous schooling and work, within the context of inquiry-based higher education” (Downs 2013, 50). It should be, in other words, a curricular space...

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8. Using Threshold Concepts to Inform Writing and Rhetoric Undergraduate Majors: The UCF Experiment

J. Blake Scott and Elizabeth Wardle

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pp. 122-139

The Department of Writing and Rhetoric at UCF was formed in July 2010 with an initial group of five tenured faculty members specializing in various areas of rhetoric and composition. By fall 2013 we had reached our goal of twelve tenured/tenure-earning faculty members...

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9. Threshold Concepts in Rhetoric and Composition Doctoral Education: The Delivered, Lived, and Experienced Curricula

Kara Taczak and Kathleen Blake Yancey

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pp. 140-156

What role do threshold concepts play in graduate school? In this chapter, we take up this question, beginning with what we see as one antecedent for threshold concepts, key terms, and in the process showing how threshold concepts build from key terms. We make this argument...

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10. Threshold Concepts at the Crossroads: Writing Instruction and Assessment

Peggy O’Neill

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pp. 157-170

Writing assessment includes both the products and processes of writing. As Tony Scott and Asao Inoue explain, it “encompasses a range of activities, from responding with revision in mind to evaluation or grading of final products to large-scale programmatic assessments” (see 1.7...

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11. Threshold Concepts in the Writing Center: Scaffolding the Development of Tutor Expertise

Rebecca S. Nowacek and Bradley Hughes

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pp. 171-185

In writing centers, the question of how to cultivate expertise in writing and writing instruction takes on an urgency that stems from one of the great strengths and defining features of writing centers: their extensive use of undergraduate and graduate students as writing consultants or...

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12. Extending the Invitation: Threshold Concepts, Professional Development, and Outreach

Linda Adler-Kassner and John Majewski

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pp. 186-202

In one of only a handful of studies examining the role that threshold concepts might play in faculty members’ professional development, Jan H. F. Meyer outlines a trajectory along which he believes faculty move through engagement with the idea. The trajectory includes four phases...

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13. Crossing Thresholds: What’s to Know about Writing across the Curriculum

Chris M. Anson

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pp. 203-219

Faculty in disciplines across the curriculum—civil engineering, musicology, plant genetics—daily put to use extensive knowledge about writing. Whether they’re working on the next article for the Journal of Behavioral Science, typing advisory comments on a student’s thesis, designing a syllabus...

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About the Authors

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pp. 220-225

Linda Adler-Kassner is professor of writing studies and director of the writing program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focusing on the study of and practice with writing in disciplinary and civic contexts. Her research focuses on strategies for making knowledge practices more visible for...

Index

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pp. 226-232