Tiny Teaching Stories: Epiphanies

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Dr. Nancy E. Wilson, Associate Professor and Directory of Lower Division Studies at Texas State University.


Asked to share an epiphany, Misha mentions that while watching a YouTube video of a KKK grand wizard, she recognized that they had something in common: as an African American, she also wishes to preserve her racial heritage. When the class expresses alarm, Misha clarifies that she knows about the KKK’s hatred of African Americans; however, during quarantine she resolved to stop condemning and canceling others. Doing so made her feel superior but left her ignorant. She suggested that as a class we “run toward” uncomfortable topics and try to understand why people think what they think. Every class needs a Misha.


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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.