Patrica Dunn’s “Challenging Theories of Knowing” defines Composition (as it is capitalized throughout the article) almost as a conversation. She explains that composition is a long process that involves feedback and brainstorming and reinventing ideas over and over again. It seems that she values written composition as the most important form and believes that language is the key to composing something great. Our class describes composition as creating something affirmative for the world. We’re not bound to using solely language or written word in our definition of composition. These definitions oppose each other more than they speak to each other. In Dunn’s sense, composition has a very narrow definition whereas our definition is infinitely vague. The only part of her definition that speaks to ours would be her discussion of the process of composition being an almost never ending discussion. This is relative because what we create in our class always has room for improvement and we use various methods to improve our work whether that be research, discussion, brainstorming, or blindly messing with whatever media we are using.
Conflating writing with knowing leaves out certain information from theories about composition and causes us to only focus on bits and pieces of those theories. Dunn uses the example of the
Writing Across the Curriculum movement to explain this point. In this example, the British campaign for improving learning in all facets was misconstrued as the plan took off. Rather than focusing on learning through many different modes, the focus was changed solely to learning from writing. The entire theory of improving learning was lost and reformed to one piece of that theory- writing.
Other ways of “knowing” include visual or verbal knowing. Sometimes people are better at visualizing something rather than reading it. The dyslexic teacher, for example, describes his experience of knowing in a way that sounds like muscle memory. When you do things time and time again, you don’t pay attention to the complexity or sense of what you’re doing but your body remembers how to do it and what the significance of that action is. Visual knowing is not reliant on language.
Primacy of language is the relationship between language use and intelligence and the importance of language. The way language is written and interpreted has an important effect. Since so much emphasis is put on words in the primacy of language concept, our class really doesn’t relate. We have the option of composing stronger visual or audible creations rather than focusing on written language; although, with less written word our class puts added importance of the style of the written word that we do have.