Tuesday, September 26, 2017
In Memoriam: Evelyn Wright
I am saddened to announce the passing of Evelyn Wright on September 22, 2017. Evelyn was the associate editor of our journal since its inception and a member of the English Department at Western Washington University. She also taught many of the English methods courses for teachers at the Woodring College of Education before retiring.
For Evelyn, preparing prospective teachers was more than providing teaching methods. It involved helping teachers to work with a text on a deeper level that enabled them to construct experiences for their students’ own struggle with meaning. She also explored the influence of policy and the courts on the teaching of reading. In “School English and Public Policy” (College English, Volume 42, Number 4), Evelyn analyzed the Ann Arbor, Michigan court decision on the use of ebonics or black English in the teaching of reading against an historical background of the conceptions of literacy and school language policies in American schools. Her analysis raised serious social and cultural questions on the implications of these policies for rethinking notions of equal educational opportunity and social justice. Long after she retired, she would continue to provide lectures on the case for our students with her visits to our classes.
The scope of her understanding brought a rich experience to all the students she touched over the years, a legacy that continues in the teaching of future generations of teachers. Evelyn gave me an enriched understanding of the power of literature and a friendship that spanned some forty years.