Discovering that students were enthusiastic to come to class was rewarding for me. Learning could not take place if the students were not attending. The validation of their lives through sharing personal narratives, the connection of these stories to the course content that the students came to learn and the genuineness with which they got to know one another fostered an engagement and commitment to the class. The students themselves identified the personal connection as a factor that contributed to their engagement in the entire course:
The value students placed on knowing one another’s names was indicative of the value they placed on actually knowing more than that about one another. Knowing people’s names was symbolic for actually knowing them on a deeper and more significant level and for seeing and hearing them as they explored ideas and issues in the classroom. Our class was not boring; it held their attention. They were engaged with it, in part, because of the sharing that had gone on through the use of student personal narratives. This overall engagement with the class itself facilitated student involvement and interaction:
The use of student personal narratives in the classroom resulted in student engagement with course content, the activity itself, with one another, and with the class in general.