May 2, 2007

"Step right up and enter in the mystical world of educational criticism!"

Ok...I tried to make a fun title. Guess it didn't work very well.

Education has alwasy been a huge part of my life. I have found over the last four years that I am always trying to find a way to bring my literature classes and my education classes together into some balance. Often people question me saying, "Well aren't you going to teach high school?" There was one point when I just wanted to make a recording that said, "No, I am elementary and special education."

I have always found some way to balance the two, until I came to literary criticism. In the end I think I found the answer. I will probably be introducing the works that I use in my language arts class to my students through culture, author, and then closing with their reactions or reader response. However, that answer did not satisfy me enough and so I posed the question to the rest of my class and addressed specifically the education majors here. To my surprise there were others interested as well!

Vanessa was the first to come to my call with two different approaches. The two approaches include "telling the students what to look for and just handing them a book and hoping they find something." I think that her wariness at either approach is well founded. She questions whether giving the students either will deter their experiance with the work. She seems to want her students to be able to take the work in their own manner. Thus she says that she will probably use some combination of the two if and when she decides to teach.

Karissa on the other hand decided to take my topic to the next level. She wants to work as a writing professor some day (Great goal btw) and has decided that she is just going to throw her students in head first because they should have some background in literature before reaching college. I thought that it was interesting though that she said she would use a variety of ways to introduce a work. She stated, "Generally, I would do my best to work with where I find the students are interested in and then work against it to challenge them." That is a great way to learn. I know that I always like to argue my point, especially when a professor plays devil's advocate to make me think about the other side.

Lorin, who helped me come up with this idea, focuses on the ideas that some teachers she is working with currently use and how she feels that those ideas need to be untaught once they reach the college level. Similar to Karissa, Lorin would like to focus on the Reader Response aspect of literature when she first introduces the work. She feels that by giving them a work "cold" she can get genuine reaction "without them being tainted by [her] influences and knowledge." From there she also sees herself using a variety of theories in order to get her students to think about the texts that they are reading making sure that the students always use their texts to back up anything that they have to say.

While not pursuing a career in teaching, Denamarie found the topic interesting enough to post an entry herself. Dena finds that she would probably model a class, if she ever were to teach one, after the class that we have had here. She, like Karissa and Lorin, would not just focus on one topic, but try and introduce her students to a variety. She does specifically note that she will give her students the background of the author and the history of the time period in which the work was created to help her students.

Jay believes that he must focus on his teaching styles before even thinking about introducing a work a certain way. He thinks that through a variety of teaching styles he can get his students interested in a work before asking them to focus on a particular aspect of a work. As far as theories go, he thinks that it depends on the age. He believes that authorial intent, reader response, new historicism, and mimesis would be the most effective for upperclassmen (Juniors and Seniors), however for middle school and early highschool (Freshmen and Sophomores) that reader response and authorial intent would work.

In Mitchell's response he says he really has no idea what he will use. He states, "I really feel that the class will dictate the one(s) use over the ones you do not."

I found that Valerie had responded to this question by posting to Vanessa's entry. Her beliefs are that a marking period should be devoted to literary criticism because she sees that all students could benefit from looking at the same work in a different ways. She also believes that by doing this it would teach students to become more open minded and not just to look through the same lens as we have been talking all semester.

Phew! When I said I'd play hostess I had no idea so many people would respond to my topic. That said I'm glad that so many people did. I think that the person I agree with the most in my blog on this is Jay more because he tries to see it from the younger perspective as well. On the other hand, everyone made very good arguments for using multiple ways of introducing a work. While I know that my initial question was answered, I'm finding that now I have more questions. I'm not sure what those questions are, but once I do I'll let you all know. Each of the carnival entires posted here are interesting to read. I hope that I have highlighted enough of what everyone thought to make an interesting argument, but I have to say that I'm still digesting all of this information myself.

Well, I hope that everyone enjoyed this carnival and wish all you future teachers out there the best of luck!

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at May 2, 2007 6:18 PM | TrackBack
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