Class 5: Showalter Chapters 8-10 and Conclusion
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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.