Dear Margaret and John:

While it has been a couple of years since I last taught a writing course, I
have followed the discussion of ESL closely. Having never received any
training in ESL (other than anecdotal info shared by peers and friends) I
found it a particular challenge to teach writing to a class made up of
native Kentucky farm boys, erudite and pompous young budding academes, and
newly arrived international students.

Margaret, in response to your question regarding why sanction one of the
academic dialects of English as standard, I would respond with the old
cliche, "When in Rome . . .." Despite our enlightened perspective
concerning the varieties of dialect and the near lunacy in attempting to
formalize "rules" of language via textbook and instruction, many of our
peers tend to assess their students' intelligence and aptitude by the way
they speak, and more so, the way they write. Since I can't make the
thousands of professors and instructors change, I have to make do the best
I can to better ensure that a student at least has a fighting chance to be
heard and respected as an intelligent contributor to a class. In other
words, I have learned how to have some impact on students and have yet to
learn how to "enlighten" some of my peers (who also have the power of "THE

Sorry that my input centers on the crass and obviously disappointing
reality that colleges and universtities just ain't the mecca of
open-mindedness and mutual respect.

From a farm boy gone Ph.D.