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Something that has heavily been weighing on my mind since our last class period is the topic of required texts in an English classroom. All through my prior schooling, I liked everything we read as a class. To be honest, I’m not sure if I actually enjoyed what we were reading or if I was just thankful I wasn’t learning about math or science. My one exception to this, however, was The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. My class read it in middle school, and the language was much too complex for our current reading level, making all of us hate the book. I realize now, however, that many students hate all of English class’s required texts and reading in general.First week of classes is officially over. While the initial first-day nerves are gone, school-related stress is reclaiming its place in my life for the semester. Although this semester will be filled with the constant thought of what is due in the upcoming week and many late nights, I am looking forward to the promise of learning my busy, intimidating schedule promises.
If our goal as English teachers is to make students readers and writers, why are we making them hate reading and writing? If these required texts aren’t actually required, what is the point of them? I think the word “required” lessen a student’s motivation as well. For this class, we get to choose what we read, giving us (students) a more active role in our learning. If I get to choose what I read, I can make sure I enjoy my learning.
One question I did have after this class discussion is whether or not class readings are beneficial. In all of my English classes, a portion of the class has always been the class reading a text as a group. Obviously, not everyone will like the text; however, I think there is some major benefits from group reading, the biggest one being discussions about the reading.
Reading and writing, for the most part, are individual activities, but I think class readings (liking writing workshops) can help students recognize a reading and writing community. What determines what students read as a class then, what is already available? My high school English teacher has endless copies of The Scarlet Letter, All Quiet on the Western Front, Of Mice and Men, and many other classics, but that disregards the rest of my blog post. My biggest question from my first week of this class is: How can language arts teachers teach group reading in a way that is enjoyable for students?