The Sum of All Fears
|You assign it, you read it|
Understanding literature requires conversation about its meaning. Both for assessment but more importantly for the good of the students. This is where Shared Inquiry/Socratic Seminars come into play. Based on what I've seen of class sizes and my prior experience with classes of 30 (and middle school students at that), I think it is possible to divide classes into two or three groups and have productive and meaningful discussions. Not easy but not as ridiculous as trying to read reams upon reams of tired old themes!
I need to understand the correct approach to literature-as-form and literature-as-content. I'm un-apologetically a content guy. To me, what makes literature interesting is the story and ideas discovered therein. I see a lot of charts and graphic organizers in the English classes I've been in and that makes me a little uncomfortable. That is, I would not be comfortable with assigning too much about theme, genre, mood, tone, etc. Must take a look again at those content standards to see what's required versus what is commonly practiced.
|The shape of Socratic circle|
Yes, there's too much "teacher" in the photo, but this is the idea: sharing a common text together and working at understanding the meaning. 40-45 students in a classroom - is it possible to teach this way? Yes it is.