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Teaching with a Critical Awareness

"People who have read a lot poetry can generally interpret a given poem better than people who have not" (270).

"Like the conventions of language, literary conventions are arbitrary, and they must, therefore, be learned" (271).

The above concepts that Keesey explains in his Intro to Intertexual Criticism seem to contradict an earlier blog I wrote in reaction to formalism. In this blog, I stress the value of formalist study in the classroom, arguing that it enables the student to feel empowered for s/he is just as adequately equipped to evaluate an individual text as any other person.

Well, according to the intertextual critic, we are not all on equal footing after all. While it may seem frustrating, I find this contrast between formal and intertexual criticism helpful, in an odd way. As I did in my earlier blog, I'm going to link this back to teaching. As a teacher, I can employ both mindsets: I can prompt my students to read and argue like formalists in an attempt to help them establish confidence in their own critical abilities. On the other hand, I can prompt my students to compare and contrast literary works, as an intertextual critic would, to emphasize the importance of increasing their breadth of literary knowledge.

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Comments (3)

Ellen, I always enjoy your insights, especially how you take the different aspects of what we are learning and turn them into potential teaching tools for the future. I also think that you have given us, as students right now, great insights on how we can use the different schools of criticisms for our own understanding of not only the literature, but the criticism itself. Thanks.

Derek Tickle:

I really enjoy reading your blogs because many of them relate to teaching and the education world. I think that the quote you chose was interesting because it is true.

Just think about when we were freshman and were studying literature. Did we know how to look at a piece of text? I didn't, but after extensive learning and analysis I have been able to gain a better aspect of what it takes to evualte a piece of literature.

So, in response to your frist quote, I think that each person comes to a text with a different level of knowledge or passion. As a result of this, each person will develop a meaning of a text in a different way or appreciate it in a certain way.

Finally, in order to understand any subject, including literature, we must "learn" the in's and out's before we write about them.

Good quotes, Ellen!

Ellen Einsporn:

Aw, thanks guys!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 14, 2009 9:56 PM.

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