Northwestern College English prof and students to present at conference

Kim Van Es, lecturer in English at Northwestern College, will give a presentation at the Iowa Council of Teachers of English (ICTE) conference Oct. 6–7 in Johnston, Iowa.

Van Es will present her research with Marie Jeppesen, a senior English teaching major from Sibley, Iowa. Their presentation, “Cohesion in Barack Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union,’” expounds upon the parallels between Martha Kolln’s tools of sentence cohesion and a campaign speech given by Obama in 2008. “No one writes more clearly about cohesion than grammar guru Martha Kolln,” says Van Es. “Participants will review Kolln’s tools of cohesion and notice their use in one of Barack Obama’s most famous speeches.”

Also presenting at the conference is Nicole Montgomery, a senior English teaching major from Fenton, Iowa. Her presentation, “Through Their Eyes: Teachers Understanding Students Through Poetry,” is based on an honors project she completed under the supervision of Northwestern English professor Dr. Sam Martin. “Students in the modern classroom carry more baggage to school than ever before, even in rural, small-town Iowa,” says Montgomery. “As teachers, it can be difficult to empathize with our students and empower them to overcome obstacles.”

Montgomery’s session will examine real-life responses from Iowa ninth graders to questions about high school struggles and how their responses led to her book of poetry. Her presentation will also include a creative exercise in empathizing with students through writing.

Nine Northwestern English teaching students will also attend the conference.

The ICTE is a volunteer organization that facilitates connections and professional learning face-to-face and online for English and language arts teachers of all stages. The organization’s annual fall conference will feature the theme “Where the Wild Things Grow: Cultivating Literacy, Learning and Leadership.”