Tiny Teaching Stories: Boot Camps and Boot Straps

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Dr. Chris M. Anson. Chris is a Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University, where he is also the Director of the Campus Writing & Speaking Program.


Boot Camps and Boot Straps

Four years after I taught him in a federally-funded pre-college summer program for inner-city kids who some high school teacher saw a spark in—otherwise doomed never to go to college—we crossed paths on the campus just before graduation. "Cool Chris!" he yelled—the name the students had given me in that summer writing course. "Tyrone! What's up?" We high-fived. "I got into Harvard Law!" he said with a broad smile, "and you helped, man!" A story of triumph—his, and my small piece of it. But what's wrong with us that so many live on the margins . . . and of those, with such slim chances?


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About the Author
Nancy Sommers, who has taught composition and directed writing programs for more than thirty years, now teaches in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. A two-time Braddock Award winner, Sommers is well known for her research and publications on student writing. Her articles “Revision Strategies of Student and Experienced Writers” and “Responding to Student Writing” are two of the most widely read and anthologized articles in the field of composition. She has also created three films—Shaped by Writing, Across the Drafts, and Beyond the Red Ink—to bring the voices of student writers into a larger discussion about writing instruction. Nancy Sommers is currently the coauthor of Diana Hacker’s best-selling handbooks: The Bedford Handbook, A Writer’s Reference, Rules for Writers, A Pocket Style Manual, and Writer’s Help (see hackerhandbooks.com). Her newest instructor resource, Responding to Student Writers, offers a model for thinking about response as a dialogue between students and teachers.