Visual Rhetoric for Comp Teachers

Worthington, Barbara and Deborah Rard. “Visual Rhetoric for Writing Teachers: Using Documentaries to Develop Student Awareness of Rhetorical Elements.” Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Eds. Carol David and Anne R. Richards. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2008. Print. 70-76.

Omar Swartz “rhetoric is… the strategic use of language” (The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Thought 9)

elements of rhetoric they teach: message, purpose, audience, appeals (70), “Toulmin’s terms of analysis (claim, reason, warrant, backings, grounds, qualifier)” (Worthington and Rard 75)

“used documentary film to develop a rhetorical scaffold” (71)

“we are a nation of watchers rather than discriminating readers, of instant believers rather than reflective, visually aware critics” (Ann Marie Seward Barry, Visual Intelligence 2). (qtd in Worthington and Rard 71)
multimedia is our present

need to learn discourse conventions (72)

audience responds to visual first, then logic (if there is logic)

give genre history for documentaries (72-73)

Modes of documentary films:
expository = objective
reflexive = film makers address audience directly
observation = participant observers, ethnography
interactive = narrator provides cohesion

students not typically aware of bias in documentaries (74)

students more comfortable with images than text (74)

“Taking advantage of the students’ eagerness to view films over reading texts allows us to find a negotiated area of instruction that will bring the students to an academic level” (Worthington and Rard 74).

Suggestions for films:
The Marketing of Cool
The Jesus Factor
Bowling for Columbine
Fahrenheit 9/11

marginalized individuals must critique the cultural norms (Worthington and Rard 74)
What would be a non-dominating cultural form to analyze?

“students from different perspectives within society saw the rhetorical process of the film with very different eyes” (Worthington and Rard 75).

“Encountering two genres can help students analyze text rhetorically” (Worthington and Rard 76).
oppositional, nonlinear

“pre-viewing” exercise = believing statement supporting argument, doubting statement opposing argument (They chose changing drinking age.) (76)

Created groups. Each member focused on ONE task. (Like what I did during my introductory teaching class using uni’s Exceptional, Innovative, Real video.) Each one looked for;
1. identify target audience
2. logos
3. pathos
4. ethos (77)
5. purpose (78)

They used Binge. Said the young people gave stronger ethos.
Ask students why.

class prepared for discussion, said collaboration was impressive (79)

Several students noted that no source was given for the statistics nor were they told how those numbers were arrived at.

The students felt tension. The people in the film were white, upper middle class teens. The final event in the documentary focused on a racial divide and that section had the strongest reaction/response in terms of critical thinking. (80) In addition to racial imbalance, most folks in the documentary were wealthy and well educated. The blacks in class felt no sympathy for the black defendant in the trial, whose drunk driving killed a white teen. White students in the class, though, felt that there was implicit racism (81).

for a film minor: the importance of teaching the rhetoric of multimedia genres

asked students to write about ways producers created emotional appeals in the movie

“critically thinking, viewing, reading, and writing the subtleties of cultural assumptions” (Worthington and Rard 81).

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