Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Classic Lit Studies? What For?

Earlier, I linked to an article re: the educational shift (perhaps) away from classics such as Milton. Now a recent article, New Curriculum Becomes A SpringBoard For Teacher Criticism, Marilyn Brown reports on one Tampa school district's shift away from traditional language arts classes (world, American, and Brit lit) to themed studies, such as "Culture" (world lit = Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and Soviet Nobel literature prize-winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn's writings, "Cinderella" and clips from "I Love Lucy"), "The American Dream" (American Lit = Arthur Miller's play about witchcraft, "The Crucible," clips from the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"), and "How Perception Changes Reality" (Brit Lit = media reports of the 1991 Waco massacre, the contemporary novel "My Sister's Keeper," and clips from "Forrest Gump").

This new math and language arts curriculum in middle and high schools is called SpringBoard, and it has met with mixed reviews from educators, especially as it concerns college prep: "All classical literature is gone," said Lee Rich, a Sickles High School language arts teacher in her 24th year. "They're going to go to college with no classical literature and limited poetry instruction."

Is this limitation, or shifting expectations?

Read more here.

1 comment:

Talia said...

I teach 8th grade Language Arts and have to admit that what has been taught before me is far from what I've been taught to teach in high school. The classics that I was reading in class as an 8th grader (Edgar Allan Poe stories, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men) is not covered until late in high school. Amusing students' interests seem to be a higher priority than covering the basics. I think this is too bad because I "believe" in the classics. I'm foolish enough to think that if given good stuff, they'll like it, even if they have to "acquire" the taste, and even if it takes them until the Sophomore year in college.