Author Archives: mdwriter99

Who Knew Text Books Would Be Useful

By: Megan D. Davis

When sitting in the classroom, a student views the teacher as having the easiest job because the answers are written in the book for them and they assign papers instead of composing them. However, what they do not know the rules and guidelines that teachers are told they must follow in order to create the “proper” classroom environment. In his book “Bridging English” Joseph O’ Beirne Milner provides these rules and guidelines along with other techniques that will assist English/Literature teachers. Some of the information seems redundant and common knowledge, it is useful that does not just apply to English teachers but some of the chapters apply to other teachers as well. Chapter is all about different ways to instruct and explains the many ways students learn, four organizational structures, and the use of technology. Though, after this chapter the instructions are more focused on English teachers and how to present poetry, drama, and composition to their students.

Currently, as a student, this book blends in with my other text books and is not one that I would pick up for some light reading. However, while reading it for assignments, I realized how vital it would be once I entered the classroom as a teacher. Along with the different ways to teach multiple genres, Milner’s book also provides instructions on how to construct a lesson plan, a unit plan, and plans for the whole curriculum. The final chapters are all about how to better oneself as a teacher and become comfortable in the classroom. This acts as a way to teach yourself how to be an efficient teacher. While it may sound ridiculous to define yourself as a teacher and do self-evaluations, this may open your eyes to an aspect of your character that would have otherwise remained unnoticed. Also this aspect may be something that is helping or hurting your teaching style. If it is hurting your style then noticing it gives you the opportunity to alter it into a helpful aspect. Therefore, while reading a text book is boring, this one contains information that actually is helpful and will come in handy in my future.

In the Students’ Minds

By: Megan D. Davis

To an English major reading is as important as eating and as exciting as a roller coaster. However, schools do not give this portrayal when they assign books in their Literature classes. In the first chapter of his book “You Gotta Be the Book”, Jeffrey Wilhelm discusses the observation he makes in his eighth grade remedial reading class. His students adamantly voice their hatred for reading and their unwillingness to even read books of their choice. He also notices a change in the reading habits of his neighbor’s son from what they are when Wilhelm reads to him and when he begins to read at school. Therefore, Wilhelm’s goal is to discover what causes this rift between students and books.

“I hate reading, it’s stupid.” This is not an uncommon phrase to hear in the hallways and classrooms of schools; I often said it myself. When a book was assigned and I was given deadlines to get it read is when I would utter those cursed words. During his research, Wilhelm also adds that he believes it is the way students are taught to interpret what they read that is the culprit. He says that because teachers force the students to learn the way someone else interpreted the story instead of finding their own that the assignment becomes less about the reading and more about figuring out what the critic wants think is right. He states that the criticism the teachers are advocating for is New Criticism which says that there is one meaning behind a text and it is the job of the reader to find that single meaning and not others. He goes on to say that what should be used it Reader’s Response which allows the reader to find their own interpretation along with being presented with what other readers determined.

This research and person experience is something I will have to keep in mind when standing in front of a class and assigning them to read Of Mice and Men. I know that not all my future students will enjoy reading but I will make that worse if I try to force them into someone else’s mind set while reading. What will make this difficult is that the classic books have been critiqued by so many people that the possibility of students find new meanings is slim. But it is still possible, so I must listen to every interpretation they are willing to make. It will be my job to show students that reading is enjoyable and that they have a voice in what the book’s message is. Students may begin to like reading for homework if they knew that what they thought about the plot and theme really do matter.