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Author Topic: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?  (Read 2673 times)

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Offline Songless SirenTopic starter

Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« on: March 06, 2012, 08:55:47 PM »
For the last few years, I have been working toward acquiring certification to teach English in my state, and I'm reaching the end of my university's certification track.  I'm taking Methods in Teaching English, and my final project entails composing my own unit plan spanning over 15 class days.  My professor is a very progressive woman, so she decided to give very few limitations on her students' choice of a central text as long as a good rationale for each selection can be provided; I am not obligated to stick to the canon.  So, does anyone have any suggestions for my central text? 

The Lord of the Flies and anything by Edith Wharton are OUT. 

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 09:53:45 PM »
Is there a particular target age/grade attached to this project?

Offline Songless SirenTopic starter

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 10:03:48 PM »
Oh dear.  I can't believe I forgot to specify that I'm going for high school certification.  Grade level within that range, however, depends on the text I choose.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 10:26:51 PM »
Just thinking back to what I remember most strongly from that age:
-Shakespeare (though Hamlet is way too overdone, go with Macbeth): You never run out of things to talk about. Ever. It can be content, language, style, poetics, etc.
-Faulkner: he's a Nobel laureate in literature for a reason, especially good if you live in the American South or can tie it in with History.
-Flannery O'Connor: Not overdone and really quite interesting and challenging. Has that oddly sticky religious aspect though.
-Neil Gaiman: A modern marvel if you want to buck the orthodoxy.

Offline Shjade

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 01:37:51 AM »
Lolita

Excellent example of how a writer can dedicate their writing to description while managing to not bog down the story with the level of detail, providing a protagonist who exists in a strange gray area between sympathetic and repulsive, and I'd be surprised if it's a book often chosen for study at that age range.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 01:58:46 AM »
Lolita

Excellent example of how a writer can dedicate their writing to description while managing to not bog down the story with the level of detail, providing a protagonist who exists in a strange gray area between sympathetic and repulsive, and I'd be surprised if it's a book often chosen for study at that age range.

If I'm not mistaken, it's on the list of books most frequently asked to be banned.  (Not that this should influence you, Songless ;D )

When I was in 11th grade, my English teacher let us read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.  That one got the kids talking!

Offline Shjade

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 04:51:55 AM »
If I'm not mistaken, it's on the list of books most frequently asked to be banned.

Probably is, yes.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 07:07:32 AM »
If I'm not mistaken, it's on the list of books most frequently asked to be banned.  (Not that this should influence you, Songless ;D )

*blinks* Oh wow that's probably true. That is such a depressing thought. All of Nabokov's works are treasures.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 07:24:41 AM »
Of course, if you're looking for an excuse, September is the ALA's 'Banned Book Month'.    Get the kids back to school, pick up a couple of banned books...  Heck, knowing that a book is 'banned' often makes it more appealing to teens.  (I know that's the major reason I picked up 'Huckleberry Finn'.)

Offline Saffron

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 08:24:58 AM »
Lolita

Excellent example of how a writer can dedicate their writing to description while managing to not bog down the story with the level of detail, providing a protagonist who exists in a strange gray area between sympathetic and repulsive, and I'd be surprised if it's a book often chosen for study at that age range.
On that thought...

Reading Lolita in Tehran was (in my opinion) an amazing read.

Offline Songless SirenTopic starter

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 09:32:35 AM »
I'm considering a unit centered on either The Crucible or The Scarlet Letter, including a field trip to Salem and reading works from actual Puritans instead of just taking in Miller's/Hawthorne's stereotypes.  Thoughts?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2012, 09:33:35 AM »
I would have loved that in high school.

Offline WarmFusion

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 10:54:54 PM »
You could do an entire unit on historical representations of the quote "You are either with this court or against it" from The Crucible and still have time to spare.

Offline Shjade

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 10:14:35 PM »
I barely remember The Crucible due to how much it bored me. x.x

I remember literally one line from the movie: Daniel Day-Lewis shouting, "Because she is a whore!"

Good times.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 10:28:43 PM »
Plays are a very audio-visual experience (reading Shakespeare vs. watching a play at Ford's Theatre isn't even comparable).  If you're in an area where the history can be made almost participatory event - that's a whole new dimension to it.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2012, 06:46:18 PM »
I would go with The Scarlet Letter. It's a beautiful work that presents a real opportunity for a teacher to introduce her students to complex ideas and interesting literary technique. It's a text that many students never really engage with, and I think that is because they don't have a teacher who can guide them into it. And I think it could really come alive with the addition of the historical aspect and field trips.

The Crucible, while similar in setting and some themes was written much much later and allegorically addresses the politics of the 1950s, making the actual colonial history far less relevant.

Offline Songless SirenTopic starter

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2012, 11:04:19 AM »
I might even stick with the writings of Jonathan Edwards, Anne Bradstreet, and other colonial writers.  Then, use the field trip to compare what they read to the common modern stereotypes.

Offline Ignis

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2012, 11:36:50 AM »
There are few books were were required to read in high school that I really remember, and most of those are because of something stupid someone did that I remember. Some of the stuff I do remember though is of mice and men, the ending makes me tear up just thinking about it. Romeo and Juliet I remember the 1996 movie, the acting wasnt anything special but none the less it was a good movie and the story stuck more from that than reading the play.

I also remember Oedipus but thats more because I was told the movie pronounced it eat-eh-pus. They only showed the first bit of the movie to two classes before the teacher was asked to stop playing it.

I do agree that saying a book is banned would have made me pay a bit more attention. And reading plays in class (not out loud or anything) is a horrible idea.

Offline Songless SirenTopic starter

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2012, 11:58:38 AM »
Actually, my best literature classes were the ones that required me to read plays and then select a scene to recreate in my own way.  I took Classical Mythology, where we read several Greek tragedies; my group chose to perform our own version of Medea.  I ended up parading around on stage in a bathrobe, taking "pills," and screaming a lot....resulting in a couple bonus points added onto my grade.  Just last spring, I was in a Shakespeare Romance/Comedy course, and I was part of a group doing a scene from The Tempest.  It was so much fun!  We really got into it.

I'm really sorry you had such a poor experience with dramatic texts, but I've seen some interesting ways to have fun with them.  I have taken into account that the classes I had so much fun with weren't in high school, so the interest level was certainly a factor.  Anyway, once you've seen a sock-puppet performance of a chapter from The Odyssey, there's no going back...

Offline Ignis

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2012, 12:04:13 PM »
We never got a chance to act them out or anything, our teacher told us to turn to a page, start reading, be quiet and occasionally fill out a work sheet. I really didnt like that teacher either because she got mad at me for reading to fast and pulling out a fiction book to read when I was done. :P

Offline Songless SirenTopic starter

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2012, 12:41:05 PM »
That's just bad technique.  Independent work is for home, class journaling, and exams.  If plays must be read in class instead of at home, they should, at the very LEAST, be read aloud.  Most of this kind of stuff doesn't qualify as closet drama, and it definitely shouldn't be treated as such.

Offline Ignis

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2012, 12:46:56 PM »
I agree but most of the teachers past about 6th grade or so didnt care to much about the students we were just a way for them to get paid. There are some exceptions to this rule and a couple of teachers I remember more fondly than most. My best english teacher was in 7th grade though, past about that point it went down hill in english.

Offline Songless SirenTopic starter

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2012, 03:18:21 PM »
Unfortunately, that sounds like about half of the people in the English Education department...Most of my classmates should not be licensed to teach.  It's frustrating because their attitude suggests that they hate school, and they whine incessantly when faced with a reading or writing assignment.  I mean, there was one girl I almost pulled aside and asked, "So, let me get this straight...You don't like Shakespeare, you don't like early American lit, you don't like drafting essays, you don't like peer review...And yet you want to teach high school kids about this stuff?"  Luckily for future students, parents, and teachers alike, she quit in the middle of her practicum this semester.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2012, 04:50:14 PM »
What was her response to that question, out of curiosity?

Offline Shjade

Re: Suggestions for an Aspiring Educator?
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2012, 06:38:46 PM »
She started off with "In conclusion," then more or less just repeated her previous thesis complaint.