Deborah Rossen-Knill, founding director of the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program at University of Rochester, recently had her article “Flow and the Principle of Relevance: Bringing Our Dynamic Speaking Knowledge to Writing,” published in the 2011 edition of The Best of The Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals. The anthology provides a wide array of knowledge “from classroom practice to writing in global and digital contexts, from writing to community activism.”
Rossen-Knill’s article explains the importance of “flow” through a piece of writing, which is the coherent progression of ideas that makes writing organized, readerly, and effective. Every part of an essay can either create and add to a consistent reading experience or become disorganized, resulting in confusion.
“As speakers and listeners, we have tremendous implicit knowledge about how coherent a conversation is or isn’t. Most writers don’t bring this sensibility to their writing and rely too much on ‘dos and don’ts’ that create texts that seem deaf to reader’s needs,” said Rossen-Knill. “My particular interest is in making this critical knowledge visible to writers so that they can use their expertise as speakers and listeners to create readerly texts.”
Rossen-Knill received a doctorate from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in fiction from the University of Michigan. She has published work on dialogue and writing pedagogy, including “Including Students in Academic Conversations: Principles and Strategies of Theme-Based Writing Courses across the Disciplines” and “Refining the Given-New Expectation for Classroom Use: A Lesson in the Importance of Audience.”
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