A Short History of Writing Instruction: From Ancient Greece to Modern America
James Jerome Murphy
, 2001 - History
- 335 pages
This volume provides a systematic historical survey of the methods and purposes of writing instruction in Western culture. The book traces the development of writing curricula from the earliest stages in ancient Greece to the standardization processes of the Roman period which dominated Western schools up to the 18th century. The next major sections outline the shift away from inherited European methods and the emergence of many competing purposes and methods in contemporary America.
While some other studies look at particular time periods or at certain issues, this book covers the entire development of writing instruction over a period of 2,500 years up to the present day. The longitudinal approach used enables the reader to track the recurrence over time of not only specific teaching methods but also such major issues as social purpose, writing as power, the effect of technologies, the rise of vernaculars, and writing as a force for democratization. The book concludes with 10 suggestions for further research to deepen understanding of the history of writing instruction.