Can I REALLY get a bunch of 18-year-olds to dig The Odyssey?
February 9, 2010 1:03 PM Subscribe
I"m looking for good hints on teaching a literature survey course to (mostly) college freshmen. This will be my second year of this course, and I really need to make some changes from the way I approached it last year. Any hints from current/former teachers or students would be more than welcome!
posted by lucky25 to education (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The course is a 10-week survey (we have trimesters at this school) in which we are supposed to be covering from roughly Homer to TS Eliot. The main problem I had last year, I think, was that I was treating them like grad students and focusing too much on minutiae, unaware till roughly 4 weeks in that they were thus completely missing main themes. In addition, I'm a composition/rhetoric/persuasion theory junkie, and I had a really hard time making the switch from teaching that to teaching literary analysis and discussion. My specific questions, I suppose, would be:
*From the perspective of either a teacher or a student, what were some teaching styles/approaches that really, really worked for you? By this I mean, what got you or the students interested in something that has no immediate practical application? What got you or them to become skilled in understanding major themes, and applying them to your/their own life?
*How can I incorporate rhetoric/persuasion into a literature course? Does it translate well? I feel like this is kind of a dumb question, but for some reason I can't help compartmentalizing the two.
*What are some creative assignments that you've either designed or completed that will help with the two above goals?
I have a few weeks before this begins, so I have time to sort through and ponder all sorts of answers. It's also not that I personally do not understand literary criticism and analysis - I just don't feel all that confident with communicating it. FWIW, I already know a lot of the students I have, and they are so bright and motivated! I really don't want to let them down. Thanks so much!