The concept of “poise” is of principal importance in my teaching. To be poised is, literally, to carry oneself in a state of flawless balance, and that’s precisely what I ask of my students. Whether they’re writing or speaking, I expect them to be so well balanced that their thoughts are communicated in a controlled and composed manner. Their feelings, thoughts, and words should be in the kind of equilibrium that allows them to express themselves articulately and convincingly. This also suggests that they must gradually free themselves from affectation and embarrassment. If the students’ store of English skills steadily becomes more soundly balanced, they will progressively feel more poised, and if more poised, then more confident, equipped, geared up, and eager. There will be no need to put on airs, and certainly no need to feel embarrassed. They will read, write, and speak with coolness and courage. The result of all this for my students is that they will be able to “carry” themselves with a greater sense of dignity. Their demeanor will gradually grow calmer and more distinguished. People will remark on their self-assurance, their buoyant deportment, their overall appearance of distinction. They’ll be cooly balanced on the brink of a bright future, partly because their English teacher demanded, above all, that they be poised.
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