Sunday, November 26, 2006

Writing for Myself: Writing to Teach

I always really enjoy reading Will Richardson's posts. I do, I really do. I think he's advanced a lot of educators' thinking about blogs, but I'm crinkling up my face today as I read his latest post. Actually, let's go back a few weeks ago to the "teaching is dead" post, and now we have the "reading is dead" post along with his vast assertion that most, if not all students see Of Mice and Men as irrelevant.

If students see Of Mice and Men as irrelevant, then it is the fault of teachers. Are they giving them quizzes everyday over "who is the 'prince of the ranch'?" Are they creating opportunities where students can converse and write in a variety of genres about what they are reading? Are teachers allowing students to read in class--to show students that reading is not just homework and that it deserves a valued place in our classroom. This may sound like a slam against teachers, and it is not. I'm really arguing that Richardson is wrong. Reading is not dead, and just because blogging is exciting it doesn't mean reading is dead and classic books are irrelevant.

Why is he such a naysayer all of a sudden?


Will said...

Hi Keri,

Thanks for reading...and I hope you continue despite the nose crinkling posts. I'm not saying reading is either...the post was posed as a question. But there is no doubt that it is changing. And I'm just wondering what the role of the canon is in this new world. You're right that the challenge is really with the teacher more than ever to make Of Mice and Men or other traditional works relevant. But the canon changes, and so who is to say that the seminal works in our children's lives might be something totally different from those in our lives? I certainly don't have any answers...just posing the question. The conversation on that post has pushed my thinking a lot...would love you to add your comments to it.

logophile said...

I read once that the Greeks were skeptical about a new technology called "writing." I just started to read "Everything Bad Is Good For You," which addresses, in the opening pages, the very question you're discussing here. I don't have the answer yet, but it's good to hear that others are thinking about it.