teaching challenges

Hi Everyone, it’s Allison

Professor Stearn’s questions certainly make one stop and think.

“What do you really believe about the teaching of English Language Arts?

Given that belief or beliefs, what is it you feel that you need to learn–want to learn–about reading and critical literacies (how is it, for example, that we understand what a critical literacy looks like in practice?) this semester?”

As someone who loves English Language Arts, it was always easy for me to get involved in English class. I liked most of the books that we read, and I always read the books that were assigned. I know this is not the case for many students, though. I believe the teacher of an English Language Arts class must strive to engage all of the students, even the ones who don’t want to read. I think it’s important to find books that will reach the students, but I think a challenge lies in making some of the more difficult texts (Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, etc) more approachable. This is something that I would like to learn how to do.

Do any of you remember reading a particular book that you didn’t enjoy in high school? When I was in high school, I hated reading The Scarlet Letter. I’ve always been a slow reader, and this book took me forever. I read it for summer reading and didn’t have the advantage of classroom discussions while I worked through it. As a teacher, I would want to find a way to help students through experiences like this one. I’d like to learn how to make the difficult books easier to get though.


1 Comment

Filed under Class Notes, Uncategorized

One response to “teaching challenges

  1. sfarah19

    Hello all! This is my first time blogging, so I hope this works. My name is Suzanne Farah and I have all my classes with many of you.

    I agree that the question Professor Stearns poses is an important one. Most of the time what we “believe” as teachers is pushed to the side in order to make room for what is required of us to think about teaching English Language Arts. Like Allison, I never had a hard time engaging in my English classes because I always loved to read and write. There are a few times, however, I remember feeling lost and indifferent about books we were working on. The first example is Dicken’s “A Tale of Two Cities.” This is odd because now I love Dickens but I know it was due to the lack of interest the instructor showed for our enthusiasm over the subject material.

    In the small amount of time I spent observing in the classroom, I’ve found the level of interest students show for material is entirely in the hands of the instructor. I believe it is important to find material that students can relate to, as well as learn a “lesson” from. Their responses and attitudes toward reading and doing the work is directly related to these ideas. I believe it is important for the instructor to feel powerfully enough about the material they are teaching to engage the student and become relatable in that sense as well.

    I hope this works!!! See you all Tuesday.

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