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From Asking to Answering: Making Questions Explicit.

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"From Asking To Answering: Making Questions Explicit" describes a pedagogical procedure the author has used in writing classes (expository, technical and creative) to help students better understand the purpose, and effect, of text-questions. It accomplishes this by means of thirteen discrete categories (e.g., CLAIMS, COMMITMENT, ANAPHORA, or BRIDGING) designed to make question EXPLICIT (less IMPLICIT). The procedure mainly developed from the author's years of teaching writing. But it has been strengthened by the work of modern linguistics and, notably, by the ground-breaking work of Aristotle on questions, specifically, The Categories, and sections in the Posterior Analytics and On Interpretation. The central problem students have with using questions is to take them for granted; that is, to leave their purpose, structure, or effect implicit and un-examined. In "From Asking To Answering"...the teacher attacks this problem in three different ways. First, he or she shows "real" (non-rhetorical) questions rise from a three-stage mental process; namely, the act of Asking, the specific question itself (Yes/No, Wh--, verb-embedding) and finally the closing act of Answering. Next, the teacher asks the students (with the help of peers) to "run" questions through the thirteen categories of explicitness; finally, in conference, the teacher asks the student to explain how the categories have guided (if any) her/his use of text-questions. Can h/s, that is, give "reasons" for using, e.g., a question-title or to start a paragraph. Here there is usually an opportunity for the teacher to suggest to the student how any categories h/s has omitted (or reasons s/h can not give for a particular question) can be used as a basis for revision. It should be said that the categories of explicitness (CLAIMS, COMMITMENT, ANAPHORA, etc) not only relate to text-questions(questions that actually appear in the text for the reader to see) but also to pre-text questions, questions one asks about a subject in order to elicit information about it before the act of composition. Here one is essentially taking the position of Collingwood (cited in the text) that every statement, thought or uttered, can be seen as a answer to a question. (Contains 40 footnotes.)

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Author:Washington, Gene
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 6, 2006
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