A Stone in My Shoe:
Teaching Literacy in Times of Change.
Winnipeg: Peguis Publishers, 1994. 145pp, paper, $12.00.
Review by Joanne Peters.
A Stone in My Shoe is a series of linked personal essays
charting personal and professional change in the life of a teacher. A
former teacher of art, drama, and English, Lorri Neilsen is now a writer
and researcher at Mount St. Vincent University. But she is still firmly
grounded in the classroom and this work melds her current academic
interests in gender and research with past experience.
A Stone in My Shoe is a personal reflection on her
work in education, starting as a teacher armed with a daybook, a plan,
goals, and objectives, and an overwhelming sense of guilt when classroom
experience did not go according to plan. But, with time, she comes to
trust personal response, to build upon personal experience, dares to be
flexible, and develops the strength to find her voice in challenging the
many assumptions that underpin and drive public policy in education. In
short, she develops what she calls "the wisdom of practice."
The conversational style of Neilsen's book makes it easy to read,
although the pedagogical and philosophical issues with which she wrestles
are anything but simple. The title is recommended for professional
collections, and will be a useful springboard for personal reflection on
teacher professional development. Although the audience for works of this
type is limited, it will resonate for those who are grappling with the
critical issues challenging classroom teachers of language arts today.
Joanne Peters is Teacher-Librarian at Kelvin High School in
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