In Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery, Ridolfo and DeVoss define rhetorical velocity as “the strategic theorizing for how a text might be recomposed (and why it might be recomposed) by third parties, and how this recomposing may be useful or not to the short- or long-term rhetorical objectives of the rhetorician.” The authors pose a series of questions (Image 1) to help establish the necessary composition for your desired rhetorical velocity, or recomposition. They emphasize the importance of understanding who and why someone would want to recompose a piece of work before developing your original piece, however sometimes there does not naturally exist an audience willing to carry your message. In such instances the rhetorician must identify an audience they want to create interest for to facilitate recirculation and further promotion of their message. Careful consideration must be taken to control the message so that it still benefits you when it is out of your control.
My first campaign piece focuses on educator training programs in the United States and how they need to be structured to ensure they are training effective teachers who understand how children learn and who stay in their teaching positions for more than three years. In draft form, I utilized an extensive number of statistics and case studies to provide the basis for my recommendation, in hindsight this format is very dense and does not lend itself well to recomposition in the way that I would like.
My goal is to develop a piece that garners interest from education professionals and potential educators. To accomplish this, I need to take care when deciding how many and which statistics to include. As we discussed in last week’s post about working with numbers, society is growing ever more skeptical about statistics, individual educators may interpret these statistics as personal attacks or distrust their accuracy due to their own experiences. While illustrating the current state of the education system is important I now wonder if that would have the opposite effect of what I intended. Considering the recomposition and circulation of my piece it may be best to focus much more on the case studies and evidence of how we can improve the profession for everyone. Approaching the topic with the demonstrated intent of continuing improvement of the education system, rather than calling the system broken, will likely gain more traction with current education professionals.
The content and audience are not all that needs to be considered though, I need to revamp my format as well. When sharing articles on social media sites such as Facebook, readers often highlight the phrase or quote that impacted them the most. Knowing the case studies are the most emotionally charged pieces of evidence for my campaign, they need to be visibly separated from the body text through boxing, indentation, or other means to help my target audience identify and share the most powerful piece of the campaign – the real-world evidence. To avoid negative appropriation of my recommendations (to the greatest extent possible) I have elected to separate my proposed policy changes from the discussion on educator training. It is important to come to an agreement on the methodology of educator training before involving politics. If a consensus can be reach on the methodology and pedagogical requirements of educator training, only then can we begin to consider the political implications.