Thursday, April 12, 2012


“She had woven a little future, of which something like this scene was the necessary beginning.”
      -- George Eliot, Middlemarch

      I occasionally think of teaching and learning as a process of, to rephrase George Eliot, weaving a little future. I picture my students and I sitting in the classroom with make-believe looms, making small pieces of our futures by following the themes in a novel or knowing, at last, what Shakespeare means in certain lines from The Tempest.  We might just be joining each other, say, in a conversation about the use of participles in essays, but perhaps even that seemingly inconsequential conversation creates a small strand in our future lives. Every sentence we say in class can contribute, in a small way, to the lives that lie ahead of us – can fashion a few more miniscule designs for the upcoming years. When we’re wondering together what some lines in a poem might mean, we’re designing, if just to an infinitesimal degree, the way our days will develop in the weeks and years ahead.   

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