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Dauna Howerton's Story
Lessons That Last
We never know what little things we do will become valuable things. In 1998, when I first wrote a lesson on logical fallacies to teach my AP Language and Composition class, the students wrestled and moaned throughout. Then the most brilliant (and challenging) student said to me, "Mrs. Howerton, this was the most difficult assignment you have given us all year, but I learned the most from it." Those are the words every teacher waits for, and some of us are lucky enough to hear.
A few years back, I submitted the logical fallacies lesson, Identifying and Understanding the Fallacies Used in Advertising, to ReadWriteThink. Writing this was a learning lesson for me. With the support of the editors at ReadWriteThink, the lesson came into the world and out of my head. After this experience, I presented at regional conferences about the experience and encouraged teachers to submit lessons and share their good ideas. Doing so not only keeps us aware as educators about the importance of knowing what we want students to learn that goes beyond what we want them to do but also supports and highlights us as professional educators.
Over the years I have mentored educators at all levels of their careers and encouraged them to recognize themselves as professionals. When organizations like IRA and NCTE join together to manage resources like ReadWriteThink.org and provide a nonthreatening, supportive way for teachers to contribute to the field as a professional, it is the start of a new way to see our selves.
Just this past year, two senior English teachers asked for lessons on logical fallacies, and guess where I directed both of them? Since one of the teachers was my son (who was one of the first to do this lesson when he was my writing student during his senior year in high school), it made me proud to direct these two young teachers to a copy of that lesson.
Dauna Howerton serves as a senior program coordinator on the professional development team at the Charles Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin. She has taught reading and writing to students from prekindergarten to college and has worked to support teachers in the area of literacy across all content areas. She is also a member of the National Writing Project. She has a M.A.T. in English from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls and a Ph.D. in special education from The University of Texas at Austin, where she was a fellow of the Office of Special Education Programs.