You are here:

Part 1: thinking out of the pro-verbal box

Computers and Composition Volume 18, Number 1, ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


As the World Wide Web and other visual media gain prominence in students’ lives, we, as teachers of composition, have to re-evaluate our strict adherence to the verbal medium. If our classrooms focus on a single mode of representation—the verbal—then the concurrent implication is that only one voice deserves to be heard. In such a classroom, students will not be able to recognize that verbal forms and visual forms—or better yet their combination—carry an equal degree of complexity, representative richness, and rhetorical power. Basing composition almost exclusively on verbal instruction counters the very nature of literacy education, because our current verbal-based education system produces illiterates in our highly visual and multimodal modern society. Drawing on composition scholarship published in three major composition journals, this article demonstrates composition’s verbal bias, argues that this bias is both politically and rhetorically suspect, and calls for a composition pedagogy that integrates verbal instruction with visual instruction.


Williams, S.D. (2001). Part 1: thinking out of the pro-verbal box. Computers and Composition, 18(1), 21-32. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 24, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Computers and Composition on January 29, 2019. Computers and Composition is a publication of Elsevier.

Full text is availabe on Science Direct: