akashiver: (Default)
First of all, thanks for all your suggestions re: dystopian fiction/tv shows. I haven't heard yet if the course has been approved, but it seems likely that it will be.

I'm excited about this course: it would be my first large lecture course, AND it's a new genre course for me to design. Both of the Brit lit classes I'm teaching this semester are versions of courses I've taught before. Work-load-wise this is a good thing - a lot of prep time is saved - but, masochistically, I miss the frenetic joys and anxieties of a new syllabus.
akashiver: (Default)
This Death to High School English has received a lot of flack from my Facebook f-list. I agree with its basic, agonized complaint: I see an appalling number of college students who can't write a basic sentence, and I've now been around long enough to see that there's a correlation between Bad Writing and Joblessness After Graduation.

If I had to choose between having high school students a) know how to write and having high school students b) know the plot of a Shakespeare play, I'd go with option A any day.

But teaching grammar does not guarantee that students will learn it.

As many commentators on this post point out, teaching the basic elements of grammar should not be a high school teacher's job. Nouns & verbs can and are taught in Grade 1 in many schools. If a student had access to a "decent" (whatever that is in the USA) education and attended classes in which these rules were taught, then teaching those rules again, using the same methods of instruction, is unlikely to produce different results.

The most difficult part of teaching grammar, I find, is getting students to transfer the skill to their writing. You can teach students a rule and then test them on it, and have them get 100% of their answers correct. But when you look at their writing the next day, there's no transfer of knowledge. The same student that could put a comma in the right place on a worksheet will show absolutely no improvement in comma-placement in their independent writing.

Read more... )
akashiver: (beaker)
Marking student's final essay proposals is a lot like playing the old-school computer game "Lemmings." Every time I turn around, somebody is cheerfully walking off a cliff. And by the time I've finished an email saying "oh no! Don't do that!" a student whose course I just corrected is cheerfully walking off a completely different academic cliff.

Oh nose!

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akashiver

December 2015

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