When she started in my class she was so shy, so self-effacing.  She seemed to be shrinking into herself.  She hid at the back of the class behind her slightly more confident friends.  When I addressed a direct question to her, she looked at her friends for help and, only if pressed, mumbled a few words.  This week she signed up as discussion leader in reading circle.  I was pleasantly surprise when I previewed her questions – they were strong and logical, good discussion openers.  In the reading circle, it was is by signing up, she had given herself permission to speak up.  She took charge, quietly, gently, but persistently.  She engaged the other group members, pressed the reticent ones for answers, managed disagreements effectively.  Her tiny body pitched forward over the discussion table — literally and figuratively, she was leaning in.

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