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Dr. Laura L. Runge
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LAE 6389.001 Practice Teaching Literature

Feb. 8
Class 5: Showalter Chapters 8-10 and Conclusion

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Discussion Questions

After reading these chapters, I feel as though I may get more out of them then you. I found myself, actually, quite moved by the reflections Showalter's writing inspired. I hope that you can imagine the literature classroom and draw on your experiences as teachers to find ways to understand and appreciate what these chapters offer.

Teaching Teachers (Chapter 8)

In many ways, this chapter is about our class, and we might use it to reflect on what we are doing here and what we can do with the rest of the semester. What ideas does this chapter suggest for your training as a literature teacher?

Evaluate the three developmental stages of new teachers mentioned on p. 113. How do these categories sound to you? Are they helpful for understanding your own experience?

Choose any one of the case studies from Showalter's seminar (pp. 117-124) and analyze it. Try to answer the questions she asks at the end of that subsection.

Teaching Dangerous Subjects (Chapter 9)

Evaluate the guidelines from The National Mental Health Organization for warning signs, advice to friends, and information for help on issues related to suicide or suicidal students. How do these compare with USF policies and practices?

What sorts of experiences with "dangerous subjects" have you had and how have they played out in the classroom? Do Showalter's suggestions seem helpful? Can we do better in providing suggestions for handling dangerous subjects in the classroom?

Teaching Literature in Dark Times (Chapter 10)

Showalter identifies two types of crisis you will meet as a professor, the personal or private crisis of your own and the public or shared crisis. Evaluate some of the professors' responses to crisis in this section. What is your reaction to these stories?

How might teaching literature be different from other disiplines in times of crisis? What opportunities might it offer? What limitations or disappointments might it yield?


Active learning and discussion

Evaluating Film or Video representations

If you have a favorite film representation of crisis in the classroom (Showalter refers to Mr. Chips frequently), bring it in and allow us to watch a clip. We will evaluate it in terms of the ethics or values represented by the pedagogy and discuss the applicability of the scene to "real life" examples.

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