Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Is Our Goal?

I have spent some time today thinking about next year. I am teaching for the first time our non-AP senior world literature course. Our core texts are: Things Fall Apart, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Interpreter of Maladies, and The Master of Go. A blend of new and old with an eye towards different parts of the world. This course is shifting from one semester to the full year though, so there is plenty of room to grow it.

Which brought me to my question: What is my goal? Which brought me to my larger question: What is our goal as English teachers? More specifically (because that question can be answered in myriad ways): What is our goal for non-AP seniors in a required English class?

These students are not looking to be English majors. These students do not often write for fun, although I would venture to say that at least some read for fun. These students have traveled the traditional path of an introductory course, British lit, and American lit.

What should they do now?

I see two initial directions to choose between: a study of exemplary literature from different countries (The Master of Go and Things Fall Apart route) or a study of culturally-leaning yet more modern adaptations (A Thousand Splendid Suns route). Now since my course obviously has literature from both of these routes, I know it is not one or the other. But what emphasis should I have?

Oh, and did I mention that this course will be all boys?

What would you choose as your goal?

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