A discussion list for CONVERSATIONS IN LITERATURE
>My experiences with literature in high school were NEVER about
>envisioning, getting to know ourselves better for the reading of it.
>Always the experience of reading led to daily quizzes for content/details
>and the final exam which contained one or more essay questions about some
>literary component like setting, tone, plot, characterization. NEVER what
>I felt. We never, in any grade, in any class, discussed the "issues" in
>the book and their relevance to our lives or others. I regret that and I
>am downright angry about that. What a missed opportunity.
>Class was conducted with discussion time. Typically the way it played out
>was that about five students actively participated in back-and-forth
>question and answer sessions with the teacher. The rest of us (me
>included) sat and listened—feeling marginalized and unimportant and
>ultimately resenting the reading of these books. And at the time I was a
>wonderful reader. I ultimately, however, didn’t "take off" with my
>present-day passion for reading until freshman (and following) literature
>courses in college. I remember looking at one of my literature professors
>my freshmen year when she asked a question like, "So how do you think he
>felt when she did that and how did that inform what he did next?" (or
>something like that to encourage speculative thinking).....and I thought
>first, is this woman a little bit crazy? And then thinking, whoa...this
>is going to be AWESOME! Suddenly the whole literature-thing came alive
>with possibilities. You mean you care what I think?
>How pathetic it took me going off to college to have my first "reader
>response" encounter with literature!
I guess I was priviledged. Part of the reason I teach English is because
in high school our classes were discussion-based, and the teachers tended
to stay out as much possible. Students argued about their varyng
perspectives on the text. It was very stimulating. I think the key here
is that most of the kids participated, and the teachers tended to be
quiet, implying that the students' thought were valued.
I guess at least you still enjoy reading, something some students never
get to experience.
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Received on Tue Jun 21 08:31:49 2005