I’m at the end of a week in which I’ve taken to using Medium to sketch out some notes on strategies for teaching literature to upper secondary and first-year undergraduate students. The result is a six-part series of posts focusing on student engagement outside of the literature classroom — one of the hardest nuts to crack, in my experience — and how teachers can facilitate engagement in some unconventional ways. If you’re interested, here are the links to the various topics:
- On hacking the teaching of literature to engage students by stealth
- On the need to break literature out of a classroom environment
- On modelling behaviour that encourages engagement with literature
- On the demeanour of teachers and the effectiveness of vulnerability
- On facilitating peer-to-peer interaction and instruction
- On social media and how to harness it for educational purposes
I last wrote about student engagement back in September, building on an essay by Gary Saul Morson in Commentary. That post was more idealistic and aspirational than these more recent ones, establishing the target I aim for in the classroom. This past week has given me a chance to address some of the nuts and bolts of the attempt to keep a true aim and hit the target bang-on.