Articles about Teaching

Finding the Form and with It the Freedom: Creative Writing with ESL College Students

in Humanising Language Teaching

October 2015

He comes to me in my dreams.

It was early morning, and while I could feel the light from the window on my face and hear the birds’ chorus just outside, I kept my eyes closed, savoring that world where dream and reality mix.

He comes to me in my dreams.

Had I slipped further back into sleep? Who was it that was trying to come to me? What was that voice inside my head trying to tell me? It seemed very important, but I couldn’t wake up enough to understand.

He comes to me in my dreams.

At that third mantra my eyes snapped open. That’s it! I thought. That’s what I’ve been looking for! I’ll use this phrase as a repetitive motif that will help me structure my story.

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Finding the Form


 The Graciousness of Muslim Women

This essay first appeared in Finding the Islam of Tomorrow, an anthology edited by Maria R Volpe and Syeda A. Fatima

CUNY Dispute Resolution Center, John Jay College, New York, New York

July 2014

“Hello, my name is Amal.”

She walked into my classroom fully covered—not in an all-black burqa, but in an abaya of medium blue embroidered in gold. Her face was veiled in a colorful scarf so that only her eyes were visible.

I had never before spoken to a person without being able to see facial expressions, so I was, at first, taken aback.

Who is this woman behind the veil? I thought. What is she really like?

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Muslim Women


How One Tutoring Experience Changed My Teaching

in Humanising Language Teaching

February 2012

      When my students come to me for help on their papers, I do not tutor them. I teach them. I am the English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor at Shenandoah University (SU), and because of my position as their teacher, and what I feel are my students’ needs as non-native writers, I tend to be very remedial in my office hours, asserting my opinions and often directing both the structure and the ideas of any given essay. My pen flies over the papers, marking their grammar errors and making comments on content. This doesn’t allow for much interaction between me and my students. They sit beside me, quietly watching me mark up their papers. Then they leave my office, seemingly gratified, and ready to incorporate my advice into the final drafts of their essays. Why wouldn’t they want to make the changes I recommend? After all, I am the one giving the grades.
This was my thinking until recently.

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Changing My Teaching


“Fishing for Hearts”

in Essential Teacher

September 2008


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Fishing for Hearts

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