Paul Kei Matsuda
Reinventing Giants

ESL Composition Tales: Reflections on Teaching (2002)

We are like dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants; thus we are able to see more and farther than they can, not because we have keener eyesight, or stand taller, but because we are raised and lifted aloft on their gigantic greatness.

—Bernard of Chartres

In this epilogue to a collection of stories by established teachers of second language writing (to whom I refer as "giants"), I reflect on their contributions to the field of second language writing and on the influence they have had on many teachers, including myself. I then proceed to explain—by reflecting on my own development as an L2 writing teacher—why the metaphor of dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants is not necessarily an appropriate model for characterizing the ways in which newer generations of L2 writing teachers develop. I conclude by discussing the nature of teacher knowledge and development. 

Matsuda, P. K. (2002). Reinventing giants [Epilogue]. In L. L. Blanton & B. Kroll (with A. Cumming, M. Erickson, A. Johns, I. Leki, J. M. Reid, & T. Silva). ESL composition tales: Reflections on teaching (pp. 163-171). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Updated on April 28, 2013
April 6, 2007