Frenkel’s essay “Fifteen lessons from nine years of teaching” appears in Writing in Education, Issue Number 76, published by the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE).
Her essay from the anthology To Light a Fire, “Hearing Voices, Acting Crazy,” is about being a Writer-in-Residence with InsideOut Literary Arts Project, which brings working poets into Detroit public schools.
Cindy Frenkel has had the distinct pleasure of teaching a wide array of ages (elementary, middle, high school, and college). The qualities she brings to the classroom remain consistent, regardless of the age or social strata of her students. Facilitating the close reading of literary works within their historical context, perspectives are broadened. Although this is serious business, Frenkel uses humor to draw students in and believes in the power of play—so often learning and play meld into one. Using as many senses as possible, students are immersed in literature and discourse related to it. They’re often given objects that serve as talismans, which breathe life into the subject: Frenkel has tracked down the cologne worn by Dr. Urbino from Love in the Time of Cholera for her Lawrence Tech students (and had samples shipped from England) and brought them fabric directly influenced by the Bloomsbury group.
Grammar, taught with a loose hand, means that students remain engaged. What matters more to her isn’t the technically correct answer—Is this a dangling modifier?—but rather proper usage. Students are brimming with enthusiasm and live in a culture of conformity. Frenkel wants her students to discover what they think—using logical arguments based on evidence. They need to know that their voices count. A firm believer in the power of one and its ripple effects, Frenkel also stresses the importance of integrity. This resonates with students because many experience a culture rife with eroding values and, as they discover the immense power of language, they also discover who they are and what they have to say about the world.
Frenkel tutors all ages and she edits student essays for college applications, as well as non-fiction (including biography and memoirs). To find out more, please contact her.