ESCC ENGLISH INSTRUCTOR MAKES HISTORY AT STATE CONFERENCE
Enterprise, AL, February 27, 2012 – Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) English Instructor, Kathy Pattie, made ESCC history this weekend as she became the first ESCC English instructor to present at the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) Conference at the University of North Alabama, Florence, AL.
“Kathy Pattie is an amazing asset to the College. We have always known her to be innovative in her academic instruction, and we are thrilled that she was able to represent ESCC in such a celebrated platform such as at the ACETA Conference,” said ESCC President Dr. Nancy W. Chandler.
The 64th annual conference hosted the theme of Rhythms & Revivals in the Humanities that answered the question How do educators use old themes in the modern classroom. Through a series of presentation panels, each presenter had 15 minutes to share their new approach and then take questions. Pattie conducted a discussion on Revisiting the Slave Narratives to Encourage Enthusiasm and Learning in the Modern Classroom during the Re-Envisioning Student Research panel.
“My fascination with the slave narratives grew from trying to discover information about Uncle Charlie Porter, a slave who lived in my hometown until he died at 122 in 1977,” said Pattie. “An American history teacher at ESCC told me about the slave narratives and I became hooked on reading them. The more I read, the more I became convinced that they had a place as both literary and historical reference. It took a couple of semesters to figure out how best to incorporate them into my class, but the resulting project is making my students understand their past in a much more rounded way than before and is, in turn, making them much better at questioning for themselves rather than just accepting what they are told.”
Pattie answered a call for proposals when she realized the slave narratives she had been using with her ESCC students over the past several semesters fit all the criteria ACETA was looking for in a topic. During the presentation, Pattie explained how slave narratives are used in the classroom, shared some students responses and what she took from it as a teacher.
“Students take a volume of slave narratives and read all of them to get perspective. So, it’s not just one story. They can weed out what might be urban legend…get an accurate perception to get what slavery was like. They start to notice a series of patterns and actually do a wonderful job of finding the bias,” said Pattie. “I enjoy taking up this set up paper; it’s the best set I take up all year long.”
Last spring Pattie started using slave narratives in her American Literature classes. The Narratives come from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Federal Programs to get people working again in the 1930s.
“What I found out with this project is if I don’t have such established expectations going in, I’m getting a higher quality of work. They (students) finally see a relationship between American history and their past,” said Pattie. “It’s taking slavery out of the textbooks as a historical fact; it’s putting a face on it. In the process they learn how to do primary research; they don’t realize it should be a scary thing.”
Pattie has taught for over 23 years, the last six at ESCC teaching English composition and American literature. Pattie received her BA in Language Arts from Huntingdon College, and Masters of Education (Secondary English) and Education Specialist (Secondary English) from Auburn University at Montgomery.
ENTERPRISE STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The mission of ESCC is to serve students and communities by providing educational opportunities that enhance quality of life and promote economic development.
ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE ENGLISH TEACHERS OF ALABAMA
The purpose of the Association is to improve the quality of instruction in English at the collegiate level; to encourage research, experimentation, and investigation in the teaching of English; to facilitate professional cooperation of the members; to hold public discussions and programs; to sponsor the publication of desirable articles and reports; and to integrate the efforts of all those concerned with the improvement of instruction in English.