The Teaching of Literature in the High School

The Teaching of Literature in the High School

The Teaching of Literature in the High School

The Teaching of Literature in the High School

Excerpt

The only thing that is more personal than teaching literature is writing literature. Kipling conservatively estimated,

"There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays And-every-single-one-of-them-is-right."

By the same token there are probably at least half that number of ways to teach them. At times every teacher feels strongly inclined to agree with Sidney Cox's modest disclaimer in the beginning of his book on teaching English: "A number of difficulties stand in the way of my telling anybody how to teach. I don't think there is any one best way, for one thing. I don't think any good way can be explained and reduced to clear prescriptions, for another. And I don't commit myself to any distinct and unvarying method, for a third."

And yet, all-embracing as is the field of literature, and all- varying as are both teachers and high-school classes, there are certain fundamental problems and certain definite processes that are uniformly to be met whenever inexperienced readers and great literature are brought face to face. This book is concerned with stating these problems and illustrating these processes. It is the outcome of twenty-five years of class-room experience in trying to teach literature to at least seventy-five different classes and sections of boys and girls divided almost equally between the American and English fields. Coupled with this has been a score of years' experience in conducting a course in The Teaching of English in the High School at both the winter and summer sessions of the University of South Carolina and elsewhere. Thus, for better or for worse, practically every process and device in the book has survived the impact both of many years' teaching and of discussion by teachers.

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