Author Archives: Kate Stover

“Of the students who report having disabilities, the largest and fastest-growing group is students who have ‘invisible disabilities.’”

One of my greatest challenges as an English instructor is to address the learning needs of students with invisible disabilities, such as anxiety disorders. This population is growing at an astonishing rate. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of college … Continue reading

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“Education, when rightly understood, will be found to lie in the art of asking apt and fit questions…”

Bronson Alcott continues, “…and in thus leading the mind by its own light to the perception of truth.”  Using discussion questions to develop ideas instead of using the rote learning method to reinforce “the” right ideas was considered outrageous in … Continue reading

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“More often than we think, our limits are self-imposed.”

I once asked the director of our program for non-traditional college students what the biggest challenge was for these students.  Was it ability?  “No,” she said. “It’s their perception of their abilities.  They don’t think they’re smart enough. Then they … Continue reading

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“When I was younger, anxiety sometimes flat-out crippled my ability to work.”

In every class I teach, there is at least one student who will talk with me at some point about how high levels of anxiety are preventing him or her from completing assignments. This memoir by Andrea Petersen provides a … Continue reading

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“The Hopper painting hung on the wall with an indifference so vast it began to feel personal, as though it had been painted for this moment”

The passage continues: “Your troubles are huge and meaningless, it seemed to say, there is only the sun on the side of the house.”  The troubles of the people in this illuminating book are vast indeed: no novelist, including Charles … Continue reading

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“The truth is that my greatest enemies stand not within the crowd outside . . “

What will happen when the reigning 92-year-old queen of England, Elizabeth II, dies and her son Charles, Prince of Wales, becomes king?  This play by Mike Bartlett, which PBS presented last Sunday, speculates that Charles will make a desperate attempt … Continue reading

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“We have to keep making choices, keep transforming.”

Some memoirists see themselves as products of their times.  Others see themselves in terms of the obstacles they surmounted or movements they created. Samantha Ellis measures herself against the strongest women who live between the covers of novels.  Her approach … Continue reading

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So what about Dylan’s song “Blowin’ in the Wind”?

Tony Beck, who wrote his dissertation for Cambridge University on Bob Dylan, notes that Dylan “borrowed extensively” from the English poets Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley and Bryon, who also used the “wind” as a central image in their poems. For them, … Continue reading

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“While most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”

Trevor Noah’s mother was black and his father was white, which was a problem in South Africa in 1984.  The Immorality Act of 1927 prohibited “illicit carnal intercourse between Europeans and natives” and said that such acts could result in … Continue reading

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“It tells the stories of two revolutions.”

Revolutions, indeed. This book is about Revolutionary War era hero Alexander Hamilton, whose picture is on our ten-dollar bill.  It’s also about the revolutionary way his story is told by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who uses hip-hop, harpsichords, and a largely non-Caucasian … Continue reading

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“Until recently, we simply didn’t know how immense this problem was, or how serious the consequences, unless we had suffered them ourselves.”

When Matthew Desmond was growing up, money was tight.  Sometimes the gas got shut off, and his parents eventually lost their home to foreclosure. This week, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his nonfiction book Evicted, which is about eight … Continue reading

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“It comes over him in a wave: He’s been wrong about his Tempest, wrong for twelve years.”

Anyone can retell as classic story, but changing a play by Shakespeare while remaining true to the themes and lessons of the original requires skill. Changes were needed, Margaret Atwood told a standing-room-only crowd in Madison, Wisconsin this week, to  … Continue reading

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The students felt that a few could carry the discussion for the rest of the class . . .

. . . while the majority of students adhered to a ‘norm of silence’ – not perceiving themselves as obligated to participate in the conversation (50).  Jay R. Howard, a sociologist, calls this the norm of “the consolidation of responsibility,” … Continue reading

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“What’s past is prologue”

At first glance, this line from Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” suggests that history repeats itself.  This view is written in stone – literally – on the base of the National Archives’ sculpture.  The Harvard Gazette and the University of Chicago … Continue reading

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“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

This famous assertion from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Heroism,” published in 1841, floated to the top of my mind while – of all things! – attending a technology conference. The keynote speaker, author of the upcoming book Strive: How Doing … Continue reading

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