Toward a theory of developmental rhetoric
This chapter explains about the research project that is an investigation into the process of writing and development of writing abilities, 15 to 17. In fact, it was a small-scale pilot project involving students and their teachers in four Western Australian high schools between 1977 and 1979. Underlying the design and operation of this project were a set of assumptions which relate closely to what Rex Gibson has called a counter-tradition in educational research. This counter-tradition accepts subjective meaning as central to the research enterprise and insists that human behaviour be located socially and historically. The chapter focuses on the traditional empirical and descriptive tasks of educational research including surveys, questionnaires and interventions in the school programme. It explores that dominance of transactional writing reflects tendencies elsewhere in Australia and in Britain and North America. It highlights the relative neglect, especially in the serious years towards the end of secondary schooling, of writing in the expressive or poetic modes.