As an English composition instructor, I always possessed a duty to develop students’ critical thinking and self-awareness as learners. In nine years of teaching, I discovered that a student must be individually challenged, regardless of the subject. Looking critically at the curriculum of my composition courses designed at Lehman College, a four-year CUNY college located in the Bronx, New York, I remember how I was more concerned with creating interesting lessons. I had not yet mastered how to combine creative activities with challenging lessons.
Now, as a fairly seasoned teacher, I inform my students, as Erika Lindemann states, that writing is a system that works with and within several systems, including systems of ideas, purposes, interpersonal interactions, cultural norms, and textual forms (“Freshman Composition: No Place for Literature,” College English
55.3, March 1993). From this realization, I began to design icebreakers, collaborative projects, and presentation exercises in which the students took more responsibility for their learning process.
City University of New York
Bronx, New York