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Foster Sections: 1-3 & 5

The sections that I read in the novel How to Read Literature Like a Professor were rather different than anything I could have anticipated. They seemed to take a very unique and light hearted look at the way students and teachers view literature. The point Foster made about high school teachers not being able to truly 'teach' due to lack of time was very true. I can remember sitting in some classes where teachers would praise students for their 'summary of the selected text.' (As Dr.Jerz said) I hated that as I grew older and more appreciative of literature's value.

It is frustrating to be a teacher in that type of atmosphere but in the same regard imagine how it feels to be one of the students that actually wants to excel and learn more than a 'summary'. Luckily there are Advanced Placement courses with minimal amounts of students that can analyze and disect literature at their own leisure. I found that to be the most challenging and rewarding part of my own secondary schooling.

In the chapters of this reading selection, Foster discusses the idea that there is almost always some type of symbolism in literature which I think can be heavily debated. I can totally agree with Dr.Jerz's comment on Moira's blog about authors not intending to put in symbolism in stories and then a reader finding it anyway. Many times when I read I wonder if the author really intends on making me think more about the underyling messages and symbols rather than spelling it out clearly. As I have written for both personal enjoyment and for an audience I think back to if I put symbolism into my stories subconciously. I don't know. I feel like if an author purposefully adds it to a story its like they are commercializing their work and getting too techincal. When I think of technical writers I don't think of fiction but rather news stories/journalistic writing.

I can also agree that each reader has there own interpretation of someone's writing. There are times that I come up with something that sounds like I pulled it right out of my a** but I can assure you that a lot of time and thought has gone into that analysis. Literature really must be written to stand the test of time and that is what amazes me so much about Shakespeare. Although he is very much writing for the time and audience in which he lived, there is an immense understanding and relationship to the world today.

Read More: Foster's How To Read Literature Like A Professor ASN.

Comments (5)

Intersting... Valerie didn't seem to have a good experience in her advance placement classes. Too much reading, I think she said...

Lelie, if trackbacks don't work for you, you might try changing your preferred archive from Monthly to Individual (Config Weblogs -> Archiving) and then rebuild your site. The way you have it set up now, it's not possible to display just one entry at a time, so it will be harder for your peers to find the proper URL with which to ping you.


The comment you pointed out where he stated high school teachers don't get to really teacher scares me. I'm afraid that when i will fall victim to this when i beome a high school teacher. I wish i knew how to teach literature and have my students up to date for the PSSA's at the same time.

It's true, Kellyn, that the pressure to "teach to the test" does sort of limit what you can do in the classroom. But the rules that teachers have to follow are made by people who were once college students, so I'm trying to do all I can to teach about creative, intellectual critical thinking as a skill that makes us better people and better able to function in a complex world.


I keep hearing so much about these PSSA tests. We have a similar test in Maryland called the MSPAP and ever since 'No Child Left Behind' schools (particularly middle and elementary) have introduced more general tests to evaluate Math, Science and English standards. The thing that I never understood about standardized testing was the real purpose.

There was always the underlying belief that it earned your school more money from the government the better your school placed in the race to test best. (So to speak.) I also know it is an evaluation of the teachers but can you really blame them for the lack of learning that takes place in a classroom. In the end that is on the shoulders of the students and their own personal agendas. I also don't think they take in to account people that are deemed 'bad test takers.'

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