This paper analyzes the practices and applicability of a humanized pedagogy in the composition classroom that relies heavily on personal essay assignments. Rooted in expressivist theories of composition, the personal essay is used as a tool of self-exploration as well as individuation. Expressivist theories of the personal essay imply that it will have a humanizing force in the classroom as students are encouraged to develop their own writing voices. Our classroom observations showed us that there was a strong connection between not only the theory and practice of using personal essays, but also of the outcomes such practice will have on student writing, creating a more humanized classroom environment. These observations served as a useful bridge, uniting theories behind composition instruction with first-hand experience of their use.
Keywords: writing, personal essay, humanizing pedagogy.