Teaching Middle- and High-School Students Using Literature Essay
The book entitled Teaching Middle- and High-School Students Using Literature begins with an informative Preface that points out the premise of this work, the intended audience, author’s position, and his/her credentials. Then, the ideas of how to use this book and why this book is worthy of attention are presented.
The Table of Contents illustrates the main issues for discussion in this book, and an Introduction underlines the values of this work to the reader. The Outline under consideration will present the major issues from this book and provide chapter-by-chapter description of the ideas, covered in this book. There are 5 chapters, and 5 subcategories for each chapter, which properly describe the material:
Importance of Teaching to Use Literature for Students of Middle- and High-School Students
Goals for Teaching Literature and Learning Activities at Middle- and High-Schools
Essence of teaching literature; lessons for life by means of literary sources; effectiveness of teaching literature at middle- and high-schools; proper introduction to the class; acquaintance with the class; brief examination of each student; creation of a journal; attention to students’ responses; proper criticisms of students’ work; fighting with own anxiety (Showalter, 2003); evaluation of own abilities and development of teaching literature; communication to students: being a friend, a tutor, a mentor.
Understanding of Students Individuality at Middle- and High-Schools
Game as a form of teacher’s introduction and first meeting with students; making notes about each student to comprehend his/her individuality; students’ desire to learn literature at middle- and high-schools; reading personal information about a student; students’ attitude to literature; teacher’s reading aloud and students reactions; independent reading by students at classes and their attitudes to a task; evaluation of students’ understanding of the material within a short period of time; activities to check students’ short-term memory and long-term memory.
Selections from Literature, which May Help to Analyze Students’ Understanding of the Course
Evaluation of literature that is appropriate for middle- and high-school students; analysis of English in the books; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain, 2006) as an easyread story for children of middle schools; The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare, 2007) as a story that teaches justice and care; Gulliver’s Travels (Swift, 2006) as a story about human nature and a person’s attitude to different situations.
Choosing of One Language for Studying Literature at Middle- and High-Schools
English as an international language; improvement of English by means of reading literature; communication with the help of English to encourage each student talks correctly; training at posing questions about the literary work in a proper way; development of English from Old to Modern in literature; attention to level of English acquisition of each student; memorizing the difficulties, students face while speaking English.
Attention to the Students with Special Needs at Middle- and High-Schools
Good impression is an excellent step to take; talking to each student is obligatory to comprehend his/her abilities; meetings with parents as an integral part of teaching; suggestions for parents to help students with special needs at home; importance of developing reading and listening skills from the very beginning; attention to attitude of students with special needs to completing assignments.
Helpful Hints for Teachers to Start Their Courses at Middle- and High-Schools, Win the Students, and Use Literature
Creation of Examples from Literary Pieces of Art
Scientific literature as a source about smart people and their achievements; Thomas Jefferson and the United States Declaration of Independence; fictions for children to teach how to become a worthwhile part of this world;
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a guide about human best and worse qualities; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and its characters as the best examples of how to make friends and as the description of the outcomes of betrayal.
Students’ Participation in Classroom Activities
Reading aloud by teachers; reading aloud by students one by one; reading literature independently at classes and at home; collective analysis of the material that is read; evaluation of pros and cons of the literature chosen; personal judgment of the work without punishment and criticism; appreciation of students’ thoughts about literature; invitation of students with special needs to participate in discussions; warning to all students not to be judgmental; mutual assistance.
Communication with Parents and Parents’ Presence in Students’ Educational Life and Promotion of Literature
Meetings with parents at the beginning of course; parents’ awareness about the literature that is used at classes; cooperation of parents and teachers; cooperation of students and parents; parents’ examples promote students’ active participation; literature at home is an obligatory point to consider; restrictions, which are provided by parents; use of literature examples at home by parents; discussions with students about parents’ preferences of literature; students’ descriptions of parents in comparison to literary characters.
Awarding and Punishment of Students at Middle- and High-Schools
Creation of assessment system; students’ awareness of the system; principles of awarding; unexpected awarding; grounds of punishment; punishment and possibilities to change the mistakes; literature examples of awards and punishment;
Macbeth as an example of how certain award leads to tragic punishment; meeting the deadlines is important for middle- and high-school students; explanations of reasons for punishments and awards; ways to award or punish; significance of proper awarding and punishment.
Casting at Classes Attracts Students Attention
Analysis of students’ abilities; division of the class into groups; assistance for students with special needs; competitions between groups; exchange of the roles between students; casting in literature and casting in classrooms; preferable characters and proper performance; the role of imagination; duration of performance; explanation that chosen roles are inherent to the particular classes; public performance as a final test for students’ comprehension of the material; evaluation of students’ performance, remarks, suggestions, and warnings; student’s understanding of the chosen character.
Literature Reading and Writing Activities for Middle- and High-School Students
How to Read the Necessary Material in a Proper Way
Differences between reading aloud and reading to yourself; how to point out the main issues; writing down is the best way not to forget; making notes in notebooks and in heads but not in books; to read much does not mean to know much; the role of analysis of the material read; proper choice of literature is the main assignment for educators; criteria for choosing literature for middle- and high-school students.
Writing about the Literature Read Is Helpful for Students Development
Organization of lessons; writing tests helps to check students’ awareness of the material; writing essays aims at evaluation of students’ writing skills and attitudes to the literary works; modern English as a means to express thoughts on paper; writing about favorite characters as the way to check student’s nature and attitude to the world; rhetorical writing; becoming a literacy researcher as a goal to achieve (Garrett-Petts, 2000); interviews as a form of writing about literature.
Peculiarities of Writing for Students with Special Needs
Time for completing assignments; explanation of the assignment in various forms and check student’s comprehension of the task; creation of a helpful outline; attention to mistakes: contextual, spelling, punctuation; writing about what students think; writing on the obligatory topics; attention to requirements and students’ attempts to meet all the demands; analysis of the barriers, students face while writing their assignment; presentation of writing guides to help students improve own writing; attention to plagiarism: words, ideas, structure.
Evaluation of Students’ Skills while Writing at Middle- and High-Schools
Gathering of works; structure of a work; explanation of a topic; evaluation of the approaches, which are used to cover a topic; student’s attitude to work’s realization; student’s communication with a teacher; proper use of literature by a student of middle- and high-schools; explanation of student’s choice of literature; style of writing and its choice; student’s worry about the grade.
Activities to Improve Writing about the Studied Material
Collective analysis of mistakes vs. eye-to-eye analysis; explanation of rules by means of students’ own words; making a list of common mistakes and the ways to fight against them, which are developed by a teacher and students collectively; mistakes, done by the great people, and their outcomes; playing games is funny, captivating, and educative; visual memory vs. hearing memory: individual approaches for students to analyze mistakes and avoid them in future; mistakes are not for embarrassment but for improving students’ skills and a reason to maintain perfection.
Literature Helps Students of Middle- and High-Schools to Comprehend This Life Better
Connection of Literature, Used at Classes, with Life
Why use of literature is important; selection of literary works, which suite students’ interests; evaluation of characters’ actions; activities for students: if your were (a character) what would you do in this situation or if (a character) was alive, what he/she would do nowadays; King Arthur and his philosophy; Iliad as an example of close connections of wars, love, betrayal, and respect; attention to students’ ideas and preferences of literature characters.
Best Representatives of Literature from Different Centuries
Literature as the main guide of life; Aeneas: belief in gods and attainment of power; Robin Hood: abilities to cope with challenges and not to lose own personality; Hitler: singled minded and ruthless person as an example of glory and tragic outcomes; Victor Frankenstein: power of mind and lack of analysis; Princess Diana: help and reliability as the best qualities of a person; students choice and analysis of the characters.
How to Use Literature in Every Day Life
Analysis of a literature works as an integral part of any lesson; connection of science and politics to literature and art; imaginary confusion of roles:
Hitler as a fiction writer, Shakespeare as a politician, Homer as a researcher, and Mark Twain as a musician; ideas of great philosophers and writers to use in every day life: Machiavelli and possible development of ideas in modern world; Jack London and his vision of future under current conditions.
Discussions of Literature outside Middle- and High-Schools
Parents and their role of students’ perception of literature; using literature at middle and high schools: proper choice and availability of sources; necessity of parents awareness of the material, discussed at classes; reading aloud by parents vs reading aloud by parents; watching TV vs reading books: parents role as a controller; teachers’ abilities to provide using of literature outside classrooms: voluntary participation in study groups, school theaters and plays by the great writers, visiting public places, which provide students to learn more about literature.
Negative Impact of Literature on Middle- and High-School Students
Literature that may harm students; current literature destroys child perception of the reality: comic books and unreal but powerful characters promote violence and pain; students’ wrong interpretation of book’s content as a serious mistake by a teacher; abilities antagonists in comparison to protagonists; attention to the outcomes, which are caused by wrong actions.
Classroom Activities for Middle- and High-School Students
Use of Legends to Underline the Main Thing
Essence of legends; comparison of legends to other literary works; main characters of legends, their peculiarities, and abilities; King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table: mutual decision making process, desire to achieve the same purpose, help and respect, courage and valor; Robin Hood: necessity of help, truth and heroism; competitions between the groups of students: how to evaluate student’s approaches to evaluation legends properly; proper awarding for classroom activities.
Remember Information and Share It with the Others
Students’ division into groups in accordance with their skills, imagination, and abilities; choice of a topic for a game: awareness of each student plays a very important role; improvement of memory: use of notes and teachers hints; development of student’s vision of the situation; wrong perception of information and consequences, punishment and awarding at the end of the activity; reliable pieces of advice have to presented to any student.
Battles to Analyze Different Points of View in Literature
Presentation of a situation: main characters, events, dates, and consequences; division of a class into groups: gender, level of knowledge, attitude to a course, and desire to cooperate; explanation of the rules in a clear ways both in oral and written forms; picking out themes with similar conditions; how to point out a leader of a group and not to offense the others; the ways of how to evaluate the results of the battles.
Heroes in Our Every Day Life
Analysis of characteristics, which have to be inherent to any hero; attention to students’ points of view of who can be a hero; current political leaders, pop stars, or literature characters and their activities; examination of student’s choice; comparison of the chosen hero to personal characteristics of a student; clear explanation of why this or that character can or cannot be a real hero.
Evaluation of Literature and Its Use on TV
Adaptation of literary works on TV as an integral part of every day life; the ways how literature pieces of art are reproduced on screen; what influence the choice of works; students’ ideas of what fiction to adapt next; students’ vision of the main characters’ appearance; writing essays on the best adaptation: clear reasons, person judgment, and impressions; comparison of adaptations for one and the same novel/fiction/play/etc.
Resources for Teachers
Anderson, N. A. (2006). Entering the World of Children’s Literature. Elementary Children’s Literature. New Jersey: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
Tomlinson, C. (2006). Essentials of Young Adult Literature. New Jersey: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
Garrett-Petts, W. F. (2000). Writing about Literature: A Guide for the Student Critic. New York: Broadview Press Ltd.
Shakespeare, W. (2007). The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Middlesex: Echo Library.
Showalter, E. (2003). Teaching Literature. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Swift, J. (2006). Gulliver’s Travels [Easyread Large Edition]. ReadHowYouWant.com. Retrieved from <https://www.readhowyouwant.com/>
Twain, M. (2006). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Easyread Large Edition. ReadHowYouWant.com. Retrieved from <https://www.readhowyouwant.com/>
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