The imitation of models in literacy pedagogy : an overview from the Progymnasmata to first-year composition

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Li, Xiaolin
Newbold, William Webster, 1950-
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of English
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This thesis presents an overview of imitation of models as a literacy pedagogy. Through comprehensive analysis of various perspectives both past and present, this thesis argues that imitation has been an effective literacy pedagogy throughout the history of rhetoric and composition and further, that it remains a feasible pedagogy for modern writing classrooms. The study finds that, by imitating models of excellence, students can not only learn a range of essential writing components, which include subject matter, style, genre, detail, creativity, and writing process, but also they can learn some nontechnical aspects, such as morality, from the model. The thesis also discusses how imitation pedagogy should be implemented. Key issues, including major steps involved in an imitation exercise, caution and judgment in model selection, and the conflict between imitation and plagiarism, are discussed in considerable detail.