Today I got a refresher in the history of Greek rhetoric, and I received a review of the rhetorical situation but from a really different and more nuanced approach. The language used to describe author/rhetor, text, audience, context, purpose, and medium made me realize that I needed to do a better job of explaining the rhetorical situation to my students.
What stuck with me the most was the conception of audience and what writing can and can’t do. Writing cannot address the whole human being, it can only address certain aspects of the audience. The text steps into those qualities of the audience and the audience steps into the qualities of the text (and by extension the qualities of the author/rhetor, too). This idea takes me back to writing as transaction, a sharing of yourself and ideas that may match with the ideas and existence of the readers, building some kind of relationship between the two. The text as medium links them within a larger context. I want to bring these ideas into my own teaching, and hopefully inspire my students to push themselves into more sophisticated writing, or at least more sophisticated thinking and speaking about composition and rhetoric in their own writing and the works of others.
Today’s class also has me thinking about the digital rhetoric and media production course I’ll teach in the summer to academically talented youth. I taught this class last year, but I came into it with basic knowledge of digital rhetoric. This class, I hope, will help me develop my knowledge and my pedagogy for the summer class.