Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bring a Poem to Class that You Don't Understand

I love this idea tweeted by Carol Jago, she writes, "Don't be afraid to bring a poem you don't understand to class. Model your own process for making sense of what's on the page- what's obscure"

What a great idea to make sense out of something in front of and with the students in your class. Modelling this process will pay huge dividends with all students but especially those who give up easily saying they don't understand something. Of course these instances should be tempered by the fact that we should make meaning for ourselves based on a close reading of the text and not worry so much about what the author intended when he or she wrote it-it may be a fun exercise but who really knows?

Teachers should feel compelled to give up some control in the classroom and admit when they don't know something, while encouraging everyone to figure it out together. This has been a very important practice in my classroom, as it makes it okay to be wrong or not know something for the students, and it humanizes the teacher as a facilitator and not someone who is on an academic pedestal.

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