Wenger, Christy
Martorana, Christina
Hoermann-Elliott, Jacquelyn
Godbee, Beth
Wojcik, Adrianne
Musgrove, Laurence

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The Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning (AEPL)


At Texas Christian University, I teach a themed section of first-year composition called “Yoga-Zen Writing.” One of the first writing assignments my students receive is a “This I Believe” essay, for which I ask students to choose a belief or a personal mantra that guides their daily living or reflects their values in a way that is personally meaningful to them. My students are prepared for the assignment by listening to several “This I Believe” podcasts—available for streaming through As a class, we write in our journals and discuss out loud how these podcasts reflect the personal essay genre outlined in Bruce Ballenger’s The Curious Writer. The greatest challenge of this writing assignment is that students are expected to deliver one to two brief but well-detailed narrative experiences in approximately two pages, which always challenges them to winnow their words down to what is absolutely essential and memorable. Having taught this essay several times, I decided to write my own “This I Believe” essay in the fall of 2016. My intention was to refresh my memory of the process involved in writing a personal essay, and throughout the process I was reminded of how challenging personal essays can be.



Communal meditation, This I Believe, Metacognitive reflection


This is the published version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Wenger, C., Martorana, C., Hoerman-Elliot, J. E., Godbee, B., Wojcik, A., & Musgrove, L. (2017). Connecting. The Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, 22. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.