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The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing

Louise M. Rosenblatt

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Are the two violet lines straight or bent?

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

What can you see?

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

What can you see?

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

What can you see?

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

What can you see?

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Terms such as the reader are somewhat misleading, though convenient, fictions. There is no such thing as a generic reader or generic literary work: there are in reality only the potential millions of individual readers of individual literary works The reading of any work of literature is, of necessity, an individual and unique occurrence involving the mind and emotions of some particular reader (Rosenblatt, 1938/1983).
The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Traditional View
Descarte dualistic view of the self
Newtonian The self or subject was separate from the object perceived.

Objective facts, completely free of subjectivity, were sought, and a direct, immediate perception of reality was deemed possible.
The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Transactional Paradigm
Bohr (1959) the observer is part of the observation human beings are part of nature. Dewey and Bentley work out the Knowing and Known (1949). The knower, the knowing and the known are seen as aspects of one process. Human activities and relationships are seen as transactions in which the individual and social elements fuse with cultural and natural elements.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Language
Ferdinand Saussure (1972) formulated a dyadic relationship between signifier and signified or between words and concept. This fostered a view of language as an autonomous, self-contained system (Rosenblatt, 1993)

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Language
Charles Sanders Pierce (1933, 1935) offered a triadic formulation: A sign is in conjoint relation to the thing (object) denoted and to the mind (interpretant). This firmly grounds language in the transactions of individual human beings with their world.
The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

The Triadic formulation of Pierce


Interpretant

Object

Sign

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Language
Language is always internalized by a human being transacting with a particular environment (Vygotsky) The sense of the word is the sum of all the psychological events aroused in our consciousness by the word

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Language
A word acquires its sense from the context in which it appears; in different contexts, it changes its sense. The meaning possesses public and private aspects Linguistic-Experiential reservior the residue on the individuals past transactions in particular natural and social contexts
The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Linguistic Transactions

The past linkages of sign, object and interpretant must provide the basis for new linkages, or new structures of meaning.
The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Selective Attention
The triadic linkages of sign, signifier and organic state become actual symbolizations as selective attention functions under the shaping influence of particular times and circumstances.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Reading Act
It is an event, a transaction involving a particular reader and a particular pattern of signs, a text, and occurring at a particular time in a particular context.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Linguistic Transactions The Reading Event

Meaning

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How do readers transact with texts?


Readers evoked symbolization which are tested for whatever they can be fitted into the tentative meanings already constructed for the preceding portion of the text

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How do readers transact with texts?


Readers adopt consciously or unconsciously to the reading (stance) dependent on the readers purpose. The reader selects texts, using linguisticexperiential reservoir to bring certain aspects into the center of attention and pushing others into the pupils of consciousness.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How do readers transact with texts?


The Efferent Aesthetic Continuum
Efferent scientific. It pays more attention to the cognitive, the referential, the factual, the analytic, the logical, the quantitative aspects of meaning. Aesthetic artistic. It pays more attention to the sensuous, the affective, the motive, the qualitative.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How do readers transact with texts?


Interpretation brings with it the question of whether the reader has produced a meaning that is consonant with the authors probable intention

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How do writers transact with texts?


There is a continuing to- and- fro or transactional process as the writer looks at the page and adds to the text in the light of what has been written thus far.
The writer is always transacting with a personal, social and cultural environment

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How do writers transact with texts?


The dominant stance determines the proportion of public and private aspects of sense that will be included in the scope of the writers attention. The selective process would favor words that matched the writers inner sense of the felt event and that also would activate in the prospective reader symbolic linkages evoking a similar experience.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How do writers transact with texts?


The reader is more likely to bring to the text the prior knowledge, acquaintance with linguistic and literary conventions and assumptions about social situations required for understanding implications or allusions and noting nuances of tone and thought.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How can we establish the validity of the interpretation of authors intention?


Warranted Assertibility, or shared criteria of validity of interpretation in a particular social context, recognizes that some readings may satisfy the criteria more fully than others.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

How can we establish the validity of the interpretation of authors intention?


Basic Criteria for Warranted Assertability:
(1) The context and purpose of the reading event (2) That the interpretation not be contradicted, or not fail to cover the full text (3) That the interpretation not project meanings which cannot be related to signs on the page.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Teaching


The transaction that starts with a text produced by someone else is not the same as a transaction that starts with the individual facing a blank page. A person may have very different experiences with the two activities, may differ in attitudes toward them, and may be more proficient in one or the other.
The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Teaching


The teaching of reading and writing at any developmental level should have as its first concern the creation of environments and activities in which students are motivated and encouraged to draw on their own resources to make live meanings.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Teaching


The organization of instruction, atmosphere in the classroom, the kinds of questions asked, the ways of phrasing assignments and the types of tests administered should be gleaned towards enrichment of individuals linguisticexperiential reservoir.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Teaching


Dialogue between teacher and students and interchange among students can foster growth and cross-fertilization in both the reading and writing processes. Teachers should help students to make their spontaneous responses their basis for raising questions and growing in the ability to handle increasingly complex reading transactions.
The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Teaching


Students need to learn to differentiate the circumstances that call for efferent or aesthetic stance.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Research


Research on any aspect should center on the human being speaking, writing, reading and continuously transacting with a specific environment in its broadening circles of context. Research in reading should draw on a number of interrelated disciplines such as physiology, sociology and anthropology and should converge with the general study of human development

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Research


Research is needed to accumulate systematic understanding of the positive environmental and educational factors that do justice to the essential nature of both efferent and aesthetic linguistic behavior and to the role of the affective or private aspects of meaning in both stances.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Research


The transactional emphasis on the total context of the reading act reinforces the democratic concern with literacy and supports the call for vigorous political and social reform of negative environmental factors.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Research


Studies are needed of how teachers lead, or facilitate, without dominating or dictating. Ethnographic study of classroom dynamics, records of interchange among teacher and students, videotapes of classrooms and analyses of text give substance to test results

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Research


Assessment should be based on clearly articulated criteria as to signs of growing maturity in handling personal response, relating to the evoked text, and use of personal and intertextual experience vis--vis the response of others.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Implication for Research


Research will need to be sufficiently complex, varied, and interlocking to do justice to the fact that reading is at once an intensely individual and an intensely social activity, an activity that from the earliest years involves the whole spectrum of ways of looking at the world.

The Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing - Louise M. Rosenblatt

Thank You!