Not a Single Story - National Council of Teachers of English
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Not a Single Story

wvcteI often hear “affiliates” said as one word meaning one thing, but the beauty of NCTE’s affiliates is that no one is the same—there is no single story.

For instance, on the blog of the newest NCTE affiliate, the recently revived West Virginia Council of Teachers of English, Jessica Salfia writes of how she builds trust in her classroom during the beginning days of school. And, through her blog post, she shares the lesson she uses with her students in those early days, helping them to grow into a trusting community that is also community of differences—a place where writing can be safely shared. She notes,

“it’s time to really get to know the 130 young people I’m going to be spending the next 9 months with. Because that’s the key to building a good writing and reading community in an English class: building relationships and trust. Writing can be a difficult and often personal activity, and for many students, also a terrifying task. So if I’m going ask kids to do something that is for many of them scary and uncomfortable, I need them to trust me and each other.”

As part of her lesson in developing trust, Salfia introduces the theme of the course by sharing with her students Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.”

Adichie points out two important premises of the single story, premises that apply to how to think about “affiliates” and to how we view other groups of people:

“… to create the single story: show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again and that is what they become.”

And more importantly,