Sunday, March 01, 2015

Literary classrooms

My brief description:
As students and teachers, we spend a lot of time in the classroom. It witnesses moments of exhilaration, boredom, discovery and hilarity, and the dynamics of conversation in the classroom occupy a good deal of our attention. But most of the great canonical novels we read are more interested in domestic scenes - husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings and friends - than in school ones. An exploration of literary classrooms - the humiliations and torment, for students and teachers, depicted by Dickens in Nicholas Nickeby and David Copperfield and by Charlotte Bronte in Villette; the small-group dynamics of Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; the classrooms of contemporary children's literature from Harriet the Spy to J. K. Rowling. What are the risks and rewards of setting fictional scenes in classrooms? And what is the relationship between the dreams of reading and writing and dreams of teaching and learning?
More information here.

My host Dorian Stuber has lined up a couple other really wonderful things for me to do while I'm on campus (and I am promised swimming-pool access too): namely, visiting a class that's reading Clarissa and running a student discussion on the topic of light reading by way of Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot, which I now have a good excuse to reread on my flights tomorrow morning!

(6:20am departure from JFK: just trying to figure out how early I really should leave for that....)

(Just the thought of it makes me think that I might have to lie down right now for a short nap - napped so long yesterday afternoon that I slept very badly last night and am now feeling on the verge of collapse!)

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