Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Literature Circles

In the world of blogging, I have an acquaintance that I interact with. The title of his blog is youvebeenduped. Lately, I have an increasing feeling that I am being exactly that, duped. As the teacher of two Pre-College English classes, I decided that the final quarter of their high school career would entail two sessions of Literature Circles.
I offered six novels from the British tradition and allowed them to choose their books through a draft. Nearly two weeks in, and I sense that my students are giving a cursory attempt at this new model. We have spent three quarters of the year discussing plays and essays, yet this task of discussing a novel on their own seems foreign.
This has me questioning whether or not I've done an adequate job of preparing them for analyzing and responding to literature. It makes me wonder whether I explained the Literature Circle concept well enough. And I wonder too, if the 35 days of school remaining is influencing their apathy, or is it true struggle.
I hesitated at the idea from the start, only because I am a control freak in my classroom. My wife had always told me that I hate not being in control--she uses the remote control issue, but most men I know are like that. It hasn't been until this past year, my first as a contracted teacher, that I've realized how much I need to control my surroundings. So giving the students control over the pacing and discussion has me feeling helpless. I want to jump into every group and lead them. I don't want this to flounder because conceptually, and as an end of the year activity, I like it.


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