{September 14, 2008}   Lad Tobin’s “Process Pedagogy”

In “Process Pedagogy”, Lad Tobin recalls his initial contact with process pedagogy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This writing paradigm focuses on the process of writing rather than only the product – asking such questions as ‘How do you write?’  In some ways, process pedagogy was reactionary, working against the type of formulaic, ‘canned’ writing instruction that had previously dominated university composition classrooms. Thus, to enliven the writing classroom, process practitioners focused on writing as a craft where unique voice and technique could lead to a dynamic process and product.

Interestingly, Tobin points out that the shift towards process pedagogy occurred not only in the college classrooms, but in many other places where writing was taught, such as the K-12 level. In all these levels, process practitioners began to research and critique process pedagogy through classroom studies and ethnographies. Tobin asserts that, while many process practitioners seemed to align themselves with a theory of process such as expressive, cognitive, social, or Marxist, in the classroom, instructors make use of overlaps between these theories to best teach process.

After Tobin addresses several of the critiques launched against process pedagogy, he states that the postprocess movement of the 1990s seems to be a continuation of many of the critiques of the 1980s, which demand that the field move past process pedagogy in order to better include content and diversity in the classroom. And while Tobin agrees that the field of process pedagogy should continue to evolve, he holds on to the model of early practitioners as a “compelling”, useful design.

Important names for process pedagogy: Murray, Elbow, Macrorie, Graves…


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