Students in required writing courses often fail to see the purpose of their writing and invest themselves in their writing. Many composition pedagogues have noticed that one solution to this problem is to help students publish their writing, and have reported the positive outcomes of their publication-focused courses. However, this practice has not been grounded in theory. My project connects the practice of publishing student writing to theory. I draw on Kenneth Burke's and other's ideas of text as action and show how the ancient cannon of delivery is a necessary means of experiencing and understanding text as action with consequence. I then argue that publishing is one of the most effective methods of delivery that can help students understand the implications of enacted texts. I then couch this theory in practice by presenting a variety of sources that report on the impact of publishing student texts; I include my own data collected while teaching two publication-focused, first-year writing courses at Brigham Young University during Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 semesters. This data suggests that in most cases, publishing student writing positively impacts student identity, motivation, process, and product. I explain the results of my own observations and those of various composition pedagogues with the theory of text as action being powerfully experienced by students as they work toward delivering their texts to public audiences via publication.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Thomas, Lisa Kae, "A Theory of Text as Action:Why Delivery through Publication Improves Student Writers and Their Writing" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 3733.
Publishing student writing, delivery, text as action, Kenneth Burke, composition pedagogy, composition theory, rhetoric and composition