Reading Reflection – The Literature Workshop (Blau)
Chapter 5 (continued)
The end of Chapter 5 was a bit depressing in that it undid all of the beautiful enthusiasm I took from the beginning of the chapter. Basically, Blau recognizes that students often have a difficult time interpreting a story beyond the simple “This story was really funny” or “This was a good story.” And these were college freshman and sophomores! How would I expect my sophomore English students to do any better? Blau did believe that lack of interpretive skills can come from complex causes; however, he felt that it is often a question of will. Are students willing to put the proper attentiveness and intellectual work into interpretation?
In order to increase student attentiveness and intellectual effort, Blau suggests creating interpretive frames based on theoretical positions. A well-trained teacher can use literary criticism as the foundational theory; however, students are not members of those critical communities, so it is hard to do well. Fortunately, many theories for human behavior/life experience/the plights of humanity/problem-solving exist. Helping students tap into these theories through other literature or prereading activities (I think of a survey format) will allow them to read the literature with an interpretive focus. The literature can be accommodated or assimilated into theory.
I believe that Chapter 6: What s Worth Saying about a Literary Text will give me more ideas on how to move students towards interpretation. I’m excited!