January 22, 2006

Hairston: sample critical summary

Hairston, Maxine
(student sample)

In "The Winds of Change: Thomas Kuhn and the Revolution," Maxine Hairston uses Kuhn's idea of educational "paradigm shifts" to describe a fundamental change experienced as writing instruction moved away from an old set of ideas about writing. According to Hairston, the old paradigm was characterized by: 1) a stress on expository writing; 2) reliance on "an unchanging reality which is independent of the writer and which all writers are expected to describe the same way, regardless of the rhetorical situation"; 3) a neglect of invention; 4) an emphasis on style; 5) belief that "writers know what they are going to say before they begin to write"; 6) belief that the writing process is linear; 7) belief that "teaching editing is teaching writing." By contrast, Hairston explains that the emerging paradigm stresses 1) a recursive writing process; 2) invention and discovery; 3) audience, purpose, and occasion; 4) the role of writing in discovery of ideas and learning; and 5) the principle that "writing teachers should be people who write."