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Transforming Lives: A Socially Responsible Guide to the Magic of Writing and Researching

Detroit English Teachers Applaud Transforming Lives Workshop

Detroit, April 7, 2004—On Friday, March 5, 12, and 19, 2004, author Ken Wachsberger led over 40 high school teachers and administrators from the Detroit Public School English department in an intensive and transformative three-part workshop on how to turn around negative attitudes of students through the I-Search paper.

Wachsberger, an internationally known writer, editor, and educator, and author of Transforming Lives: A Socially Responsible Guide to the Magic of Writing and Researching, has been teaching the I-Search paper to his students at Eastern Michigan University for fifteen years. His methods, adapted and expanded from the original idea of pioneer Ken Macrorie, attracted the attention of Dr. Joyce Moore, Director of Curriculum for English, through a graduate of the Detroit schools, who was Ken’s student during the semester when Transforming Lives was published.

After reading Transforming Lives, Dr. Moore wrote:

Ken Wachsberger’s book, Transforming Lives, is an authentic pathway to the magic kingdom of literary and research writing. Transparent and succinct, the book presents clearly delineated steps that open the reader to personal writing choices. Students and adults are invited through an engaging, thoughtful format to experience transformation through writing.

Through Dr. Moore, Ken was invited to address heads of all of the English departments at their monthly meeting in December 2003; and, the next day, to lead the three-part workshop.

Over the course of three weeks in March, receptive attendees learned about the I-Search paper, heard Ken’s favorite student success stories, read passionate comments from Ken’s former students, heard ideas on how to structure assignments, and completed their own written assignments, which they evaluated in small peer groups.

The workshops were an overwhelming success, described by attendees as “fun,” “extremely enjoyable,” “so simple,” “beneficial,” “worthwhile and informative,” and “wonderful.”

“The pacing was great. Ken is quite a character!” wrote one teacher.

“I have information that I can use in the classroom and in my life,” wrote another.

Participants were awarded class sets of Transforming Lives for use by their students and Ken was invited back to lead another three-part workshop for Detroit teachers on Monday October 11, 18, and 25. (For details on the workshop, write to

At the end of the third session, Dr. Moore asked attendees how many of them would be interested in writing their own I-Search papers. Recognizing the potential power of the I-Search paper to transform lives, approximately half of them raised their hands. As a result, arrangements are being made for Ken to teach a six-week class for Detroit Public School teachers beginning winter semester 2005.

For details on using Transforming Lives in your classroom or inviting Ken to lead a workshop for your department teachers, write to or call (734) 635-0577.

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