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ERIC Number: EJ879532
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Eavesdropping on Contemporary Minds: Why We Need More Essays in Our High School Classrooms
Campbell, Kimberly Hill
English Journal, v99 n4 p50-54 Mar 2010
The essay is the most intimate of reading experiences, in which the reader is invited to eavesdrop as the writer works through a thought or excavates a memory. The writer can be explicit, in the first person, or just implicit, as the person behind the words, but he or she is absolutely, powerfully present. It's as if, for those few thousand words, people are invited deep inside someone's mind. This author's foray into contemporary essays began with Dave Barry. She stumbled across a collection of his essays, "Dave Barry Talks Back." Reading Barry's essays aloud and talking about them with students allowed her to see the power of using essays that were not found in textbooks. Students appreciated knowing that essays existed outside the world of school. Building on the Dave Barry experience, the author searched for essays that would emphasize for her high school students as well as the student teachers with whom she now works that there are a number of contemporary authors whose essays should be copied, read and reread, enjoyed, and analyzed. Such essays can be found in newspapers, magazines, essay collections, and online. In this article, the author focuses on two essays that have worked well in a variety of high school classrooms. These essays are also easily found, which she recognizes is one of the challenges of bringing essays into the classroom.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A