Teaching26 Nov 2008 08:14 pm

There’s this book I got from a student and it was a great present. Not only have I used it in some of my classes, for both discussions and writing activities, but also for my own personal reading pleasure.


The book is called “Changes – Readings for Writers”, by Jean Withrow, Gay Brooks, and Martha Clark Cummings, and the publishing house is Cambridge University Press.


The idea is to make the future writer/actual student reflect upon different matters and exercise his/her speaking and writing skills with the help of some given texts. There are different topics for discussion and writing. As it says in its introduction: “(…) The book helps ESL students develop all language skills, especially reading and writing, through reading and responding to selections in writing and through talking with their peers. This process leads to more writing, which students then share with their peers and instructor”


So, the first lesson brings an extract that I find especially revealing and interesting. I’d like to share it with you:



Helen Nearing

            Helen Nearing wrote these words after her husband of fifty-three years       old died. At that point in her life, she chose to live alone and to write       about their life together. She and Scott Nearing had been devoted to     homesteading, peace, and social justice. They considered it “the good life.”


When one door closes, another opens…into another room, another space, other happenings. There are many doors to open and close in our lives. Some doors we leave ajar, where we hope and plan to return. Some doors are slammed shut decisively – “No more of that!” – Some are closed regretfully, softly – “It was good, but it is over.” Departures entail arrivals somewhere else. Closing a door, leaving is behind, means opening onto new vistas and ventures, new possibilities, new incentives.”

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