This may be an oversimplification of the issue but I think you have to do
both (or at least try). Obviously if you can't "hook" them, they won't read
the "classic" literature and you haven't accomplished anything anyway. When I
was a beginning English teacher (over 20 years ago --yikes!), I was
armed with a love of literature, enthusiasm and extraordinary naivete. I was
eager to discuss every nuance of a work I was teaching. Now I realize that in
some ways "less is more." I focus on the few objectives that I think are
really necessary to accomplish and try to have students complete
more of the analysis through individual and group work and activities. I
don't "cover" everything, but they "get" more out of the class.
So true! Giving them the tools to dissect, and doing all the work of
discovery are two different things. What I hope to find in this class and
discussion group is some linkage between works where I can teach one literary
aspect, then have my students locate evidence of it at work in another text.
As a fairly new elementary teacher recently credentialed in secondary
language arts, I struggle with wanting to share all my own insights......