National Writing Project

Book Review: Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act

By: Deanna Mascle
Publication: Teaching English in the Two Year College
Date: December 2013

Summary: In Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act, Rebecca S. Nowacek argues that transfer, the act of applying knowledge from one context to another, is more common and complex than generally thought, and proposes ways for instructors and institutions to encourage transfer, rather than inhibiting it.

 

The author creates the theoretical foundation for her argument by positing that transfer is best understood as an act of recontextualization and draws from cognitive psychology, activity theory, and rhetorical genre theory to support her position. Arguing that transfer is a complex rhetorical act, she uses the metaphor 'agents of integration' to describe the rhetorical moves that students make to connect between individual acts of cognition and social contexts. Preferring the term integration to transfer, as it makes the act more intentional and successful, Nowacek describes agents of integration as those who actively work to perceive and convey connections. In this theory, the student is an agent, able to act and make change on his or her own behalf, while making his or her own meaning. The author contends that helping students work toward understanding rhetorical situations as agents can facilitate transfer, or integration."

About the Authors

DEANNA MASCLE is an instructor of English at Morehead State University, and is the director of the Morehead Writing Project.

REBECCA S. NOWACEK is an associate professor of English at Marquette University.

Mascle, Deanna. "Book Review: Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act." Teaching English in the Two Year College 41:2 (2013) 196-198. Copyright ©2013 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with permission.

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