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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How do People Learn from Literature.

This question is kind of a big deal for me. Let's look at it a couple of ways...When I was in college studying education for my Master's Degree there were books that said every educated person should know and should have read certain things. I don't really agree with that line of thinking, although I do think there are things you should be aware of as an educated person...but the fact that I know nothing about musicals doesn't make me stupid, just maybe a little uncultured, I guess.

My philosophy as an English Teacher is that I teach elements of literature using good books, not the books themselves.

Okay, not take it a step do people learn from literature...

This is a response to an interview I did last year
I will commit the cardinal sin of commenting upon a book I have no intention of reading- just to say that this review has confirmed my worst fears. How wonderful that teenage bondage fiction has been written by a high school English teacher! She must be a real student favorite!
According to the interview, she holds some interesting attitudes :”You learn things by reading because you learn that other people have different experiences than you and other people have similar experiences as you,” Griffin said. “It’s not supposed to be, ‘Don’t do drugs. Don’t have sex.’ While I know ( from personal experience) that misquotes and misinformation abound in such interviews, I am appalled that this is a teacher’s response.

Okay, and even though it appalled that person, I stand by what I said. Books aren't meant to moralize. Nobody ever went to a bookstore to buy a NOVEL and said, yeah I want a book that teaches me not to drink too much. You buy books because they are interesting. And, though maybe I could've said it more eloquently, the idea that you learn that people have the same feelings/experiences is important, and learning about people with different experiences is important.
So, as you can see, this idea is a pretty big deal to me.
Here are the student responses. Let me add as a disclaimer that the most popular books in this class have been 13 Reasons Why and Living Dead Girl.
1. They learn lessons and gain knowledge for life
2, It has happened to someone else, you read about it and know how their actions affected their situation.
3. Why people do what they do, and what can happen to you.
4. For me, when I read I block the whole world out. After I think of how the characters got through something horrible, I think my life isn't as bad as sometimes I make it seem.
5. By looking at the world from a different perspective
6. They let you know there are people in worse situations and how bad life can be.
7. I think people relate through literature and learn to cope with things by finding a common problem.
8. by reading and getting something out of what you read.
9. they learn life lessons.
10. By seeing how people deal with problems in their daily life.
11. Relating to others and learning through their mistakes.

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