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Old 10-05-2012, 09:43 AM   #91
QuantumIguana
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Personally, I rather like 'em, at least the first 6 (up to "The Emerald City of Oz"). After that, the "Please let me stop writing Oz books!" really starts to show. :P (yes, I am an adult and I read them about 6 months ago for the first time ever. Yay Project Gutenberg! )
I read my daughter all of Baum's Oz books. I'm reading them again to her. I did read the first of Ruth Plumly Thompson's Oz books, but I wasn't impressed. The tone felt off. In Baum's later Oz books, the sense of danger disappears. In the earlier Oz books, people can die, but later on, no one dies, unless they are "destroyed", which apparently takes quite an awful lot to do.

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Sure, but they should be assigning books for that purpose that will have a better chance of keeping the audience's attention, rather than books that will have half the class (rough estimate, based on my own school days) seeking out the Coles Notes (licensed out to be Cliff's Notes down in the States a decade after they were created in Canada ) for the assigned book.
The point of a high school literature class is to demonstrate that they can read and understand a book. No one is suggesting that Captain Underpants would be an appropriate book for a high school literature class. Students are going to get more out of a book that they enjoy than one that they don't.

There is an upside to the students all reading the same book; the teacher knows the material and can judge whether or not they read and understood the text. Or at least if they read and understood the Cliff Notes. There are always students who watch the movie instead, and they can get burned if the movie content they reference isn't in the book.

Some teachers are overzealous, and their sure that if they just expose children to classics that they will fall in love with them. Some students do, others just learn to hate them. And students don't always pick up what the teacher wishes them to get out of the book, but that's the nature of books. I've heard from a number of people who hated the books that they were forced to read in high school, but liked them when they chose to read them as adults.

Ideally, students would be picking books that they like that at least have some degree of quality, Captain Underpants would not qualify. Those students who wanted more of a challenge could pick more difficult books. I admit it does make grading more difficult.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:45 AM   #92
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since experience has taught me that there's about a 95 percent chance that a random (adult) book I pick up is going to be unenjoyable
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That would be Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crap.
including child books

but they'll pick up the fun and shallow child book anyway. Because it's fun and cheap and they never get tired of another dose. Why grow up and struggle with life and not get your fix of shallow entertainment?

BTW, cracked is a comedy site and I think the writer is well versed in the comedic effects of exaggeration

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:33 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
The point of a high school literature class is to demonstrate that they can read and understand a book. No one is suggesting that Captain Underpants would be an appropriate book for a high school literature class. Students are going to get more out of a book that they enjoy than one that they don't.
I don't think that's the point of HS lit classes, or at least not the only point. I think the main point is to expose children to shared culture--that's why it's important for kids to read Shakespeare and Dickens and the like. Kids don't need to love the classics--but they do need to have at least some familiarity with them.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:03 PM   #94
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I though my country was the only one with this problem. I admit I read just one of the books that was in our schedule due to the fact that I found every other boring and uninteresting (though I admit we did not have Dickens on our list). I went to a tehnical highschool so we didn't really focus on literature, but instead just focused on our big local authors (people from Romania know who I am talking about).

It's impossible to name authors or books that everyone likes but forcing someone to read a book that he or she does not like is not the solution.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:37 PM   #95
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It's impossible to name authors or books that everyone likes but forcing someone to read a book that he or she does not like is not the solution.
Schools "force" kids to read stuff they don't like all the time. Why should a class that happens to use famous works of fiction as textbooks be any different in that regard? I'm still just not quite understanding why so many people are of the opinion that a literature class should receive some sort of special dispensation that no other subject gets: namely, the students' personal likes/dislikes having any sort of bearing on the choice of texts?

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:26 PM   #96
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In music class, students don't all play the same instruments, in choir they don't all sing the same parts. In art class, students don't all paint the same paintings. When students do research papers they don't all do their papers on the same subject. Thus it is not true that students desires have no bearing in any other class. It's common for students to have at least some degree of choice in the classroom.

In math class, there isn't some other math that would do as well as what is assigned. This isn't true in literature. Students could learn just as well from a number of books, and they will be more likely to learn from a book that interests them than from a book that doesn't.

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Old 10-08-2012, 06:03 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Schools "force" kids to read stuff they don't like all the time. Why should a class that happens to use famous works of fiction as textbooks be any different in that regard? I'm still just not quite understanding why so many people are of the opinion that a literature class should receive some sort of special dispensation that no other subject gets: namely, the students' personal likes/dislikes having any sort of bearing on the choice of texts?
While I agree with you to some extent, I also have to ask, "Why Shakespeare?" Aren't there more modern playwrights who make the same points Shakespeare made in a easier to understand language? Teachers and curriculums can get so hidebound. Is there nothing similar to The Great Gatsby from today's writers? Will Catcher in the Rye be taught for the next five hundred years?
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:40 PM   #98
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While I agree with you to some extent, I also have to ask, "Why Shakespeare?" Aren't there more modern playwrights who make the same points Shakespeare made in a easier to understand language?
You need them to use their brains. The whole point is you need them to do something that requires effort. You need them to read something that is difficult to comprehend.

Otherwise, thinking does not happen. Otherwise, learning to focus does not take place.

The brain needs exercise. The ability to focus does not come innate. Attention spans can be lengthened even without chemicals. THAT is the whole point of reading something difficult or 'boring'. It's not (just) to teach literature. It's to teach them how to use their brains. And to train them in using their brains.

Do you question why a football player needs to lift weights? It's boring and it is not directly related to what he is doing on the field. Yet, it makes him a stronger player.

Same thing. Reading obscure material is weightlifting for the brain.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:56 PM   #99
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They do if they want to graduate High School ... unless they're local sports heroes, of course.
My sister, who is 59, graduated highschool and actually can't read or spell. She simply stayed in school until they put her through.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:05 AM   #100
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Schools "force" kids to read stuff they don't like all the time. Why should a class that happens to use famous works of fiction as textbooks be any different in that regard? I'm still just not quite understanding why so many people are of the opinion that a literature class should receive some sort of special dispensation that no other subject gets: namely, the students' personal likes/dislikes having any sort of bearing on the choice of texts?
How could you set an English Literature exam if the students hadn't all studied the same texts?
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:52 AM   #101
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How could you set an English Literature exam if the students hadn't all studied the same texts?
1) By providing short texts that the student has to analyze, basing that analysis upon previously read material?

2) Oral exams individually applied, the question "why" will appear frequently?

3) By writing an essay based upon the books the individual read?

I don't think examination need to be some kind of neck for letting students select their own reading material. That selection could be limited to a list of books approved by the teacher. If you require national standards I suppose central school authorities could provide such a list. Education is very different from the days you went to school HarryT
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:42 AM   #102
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How could you set an English Literature exam if the students hadn't all studied the same texts?
Well this is another problem "teaching to the test".
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:02 AM   #103
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You need them to use their brains. The whole point is you need them to do something that requires effort. You need them to read something that is difficult to comprehend.

Otherwise, thinking does not happen. Otherwise, learning to focus does not take place.

The brain needs exercise. The ability to focus does not come innate. Attention spans can be lengthened even without chemicals. THAT is the whole point of reading something difficult or 'boring'. It's not (just) to teach literature. It's to teach them how to use their brains. And to train them in using their brains.

Do you question why a football player needs to lift weights? It's boring and it is not directly related to what he is doing on the field. Yet, it makes him a stronger player.

Same thing. Reading obscure material is weightlifting for the brain.
Oh, hogwash. I had the highest reading comprehension in my class in 8th grade before Shakes and his tales of woe were forced on us. I read Romeo and his selfishly stupid disaster with Juliet and was affronted at how those two could possibly mess up subterfuge so badly. From then on, I used cliff notes and that didn't impair my reading comprehension one bit. Sure, we were forced to read passages of Hamlet or some such aloud, but it's completely possible to read pages of thees and thous without retaining or comprehending a single bit of that drivel. Reading something difficult doesn't necessarily mean you're going to "get it" or "care" or study.

Perhaps you blame my later D in physics on the fact that I refused to immerse myself in Hamlet? I'm thinking not. I'm guessing that an intro physics class instead of the 8th grade lit class would have helped me a lot more.

When asked to analyze some drug-induced horror by Poe, I recall hours of painful reading that to this day has served no purpose that I can tell.

There are better teaching texts, especially for reading comprehension, critical thinking and analyzing. The text does not have to be nearly impossible to read, nor does it have to be boring, tragic and about some fat, pompous king no one cares about.

The brain is a muscle that has many ways to exercise and learn. Being forced to read "classics" that students don't enjoy is just "mindless" exercising that is the equivalent of staring at the weights without actually using them. It doesn't instill good reading habits or any other deep knowledge that will necessarily help them later in life.

Your analogy is well-written and thoughtful, but it's still hogwash. I commend your English teacher for instilling in you good writing skills and the ability to lay out an argument that makes sense and, on the surface, appears to hold water.

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Old 10-09-2012, 09:22 AM   #104
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It's been my experience both as someone who has been through school and close observation of my own children as both students in schools and formerly home educated, that just our innate nature as human beings - we tend to retain long term, rather than just impress short-term, that which is relevant to our tangible needs and interests.

When I left school, I learned very *quickly*, all kinds of things not taught in school, not because school "taught me how to learn" but because I was passionate about the subject.

I've retained very little of the material that actually had nothing to do with my long-term life. Sure I could get the grade on a test paper, but would I be able to manage it today? No.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #105
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Oh, hogwash. I had the highest reading comprehension in my class in 8th grade before Shakes and his tales of woe were forced on us. I read Romeo and his selfishly stupid disaster with Juliet and was affronted at how those two could possibly mess up subterfuge so badly. From then on, I used cliff notes and that didn't impair my reading comprehension one bit. Sure, we were forced to read passages of Hamlet or some such aloud, but it's completely possible to read pages of thees and thous without retaining or comprehending a single bit of that drivel. Reading something difficult doesn't necessarily mean you're going to "get it" or "care" or study.

Perhaps you blame my later D in physics on the fact that I refused to immerse myself in Hamlet? I'm thinking not. I'm guessing that an intro physics class instead of the 8th grade lit class would have helped me a lot more.

When asked to analyze some drug-induced horror by Poe, I recall hours of painful reading that to this day has served no purpose that I can tell.

There are better teaching texts, especially for reading comprehension, critical thinking and analyzing. The text does not have to be nearly impossible to read, nor does it have to be boring, tragic and about some fat, pompous king no one cares about.

The brain is a muscle that has many ways to exercise and learn. Being forced to read "classics" that students don't enjoy is just "mindless" exercising that is the equivalent of staring at the weights without actually using them. It doesn't instill good reading habits or any other deep knowledge that will necessarily help them later in life.

Your analogy is well-written and thoughtful, but it's still hogwash. I commend your English teacher for instilling in you good writing skills and the ability to lay out an argument that makes sense and, on the surface, appears to hold water.
This diatribe just makes me sad.
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