Crossing Over: Teaching Meaning-Centered Secondary English Language Arts

By Harold M. Foster | Go to book overview

chapter SEVEN
Teaching the Novel

Introduction

Classic American Novels in the Classroom

I am always searching for the methods and techniques that will enable me to present literature to my students in a meaningful way. For instance, I wonder, it is possible to build bridges connecting classic literature? Is it possible to do this with what I consider to be the trickiest of all literature teaching—using a “classic” adult novel with a group of teenagers?


The School, the Students

Roosevelt High School is the quintessential suburban school, surrounded by large, comfortable homes. The student population, all 1,724, come from the immediate area. Most are reasonably economically secure, although there is very little great wealth in the school district. The students are mostly white, with a 20% minority enrollment.

The Teacher
Ron Schmidt, age 29 Five years in teaching, all at Roosevelt
High School
Educational Background: B.A., English Education; certified in English
and Speech
Approach: “I believe there is a place for the classic
novels in a secondary English curriculum.
But I want to create an impact for my
students. That is the challenge—to avoid
overfragmentation and to make the novel
a meaningful experience.”

-149-

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