The reluctant wisdom of a science major in my freshman writing class.

“There’s nothing left to say,” said a science major in my writing class. I had called on her during a classroom discussion of a peer-review activity. “Everyone’s already said everything.”

“You can at least provide a new example from your own paper, or express an idea in your own words,” I said.

The student looked skeptical.

“What about the revision process?” I prompted. “What’s your next step? Give it a try.”

An open-mouth pause. An “I can’t believe you are doing this to me” glare.

The reluctant wisdom of a science major in my freshman writing class.Then: “Make big circles. not little circles…?”

We could all hear the question mark she put in her voice, and we could all see the half-shrug, half stabbing-at-her-paper gesture.

But from my position in the front of the room, I could also see the smiles breaking out in the classroom, the eyes widening in surprise, and the heads nodding in thoughtful agreement.

“Make big circles, not small circles? That’s good,” I said. “You shouldn’t sell yourself short. You have plenty to say.”