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Found 1 result

  1. I've been homeschooling for 17 years. My own background/ degrees are in literature and writing. My own sons have all become strong, articulate writers who can actually analyze literary material and discuss it thoughtfully and insightfully(as affirmed by other teachers). I've taught for years in co-op classes and invariably receive very positive evaluations from the students who say that "it was challenging, but I learned so much!" So I must be doing something right, yes? Then why is it that my co-op students struggle so badly at writing a basic lit analysis paper after a semester of instruction? I have taught both basic essay writing and lit analysis in our local co-op for high school kids (so far, using primarily Elegant Essay and Windows to the World), and I continue to shake my head at how minimally or simplistically so many of these students *think.* I don't want to go into a rant here ; what I'm wondering is how to teach students to think analytically so that they actually can write analytically. Yes, the WW program presents a basic lit analysis paragraph model to follow: TS, assertion; proof/ quotations; commentary; etc. Where the students seem to fall down is with the commentary section of the paragraph--ie, the part that actually makes literary analysis literary analysis ; ) Despite our having worked together in class to understand what commentary is, asking how and why and to what effect, they still seem to fall back on the most basic sorts of observations which do not actually *say* anything. For example, their last essay assignment was to write about the significance of setting in one of three stories. Using "A Jury of Her Peers," one student wrote: "Additionally, the inside of the house is described as grey and unwelcoming [assertion]. The furnishings, such as a "dingy red" chair with the "middle rung gone," create the grey and unwelcoming feeling, The way Glaspell describes the chair begins to paint an image in the reader's mind, The reader combines the idea of the kitchen having a "dingy" and broken chair with the description of the outside of the house to create a picture of a grey, run down interior" [commentary]. Lots of words, lots of repetition--very little meat! (Don't let me even start on weak writing styles...) But how do you help a student to see that and then to think more deeply about a text and how to express those deeper thoughts more effectively? My sons have seemed to catch on readily--why can't these kids? Thanks for any input, Robin (banging my head quietly against the table as I mark these essays....)
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