Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dear readers:

I need your help on a matter that is absolutely not diabetes related. I am preparing for job interviews and am trying to design a sample syllabi for how I would teach a survey course--for example, World Literature or British Romanticism or 20th Century American literature. My question is, if you have taken survey courses in the past, what was effective for you? Did a straight, chronological survey do it (for instance, the Puritans, and then the American Revolution, and then the Transcendentalists) or did thematic groupings (looking at representations of gender, say, before moving on to something else) work better? Did you prefer getting a taste of a bunch of types of literature that were usual just pieces of a whole work, or did you like looking in-depth at a few pieces? What kind of reading assignments and homework assignments did you appreciate or hate?

Please respond, and pass this on to your friends, relatives, etc. I am really stymied as to how to go about this and I have taught a lot of classes before. This just seems like a different beast altogether.

I appreciate your help!


Jen said...

I haven't thought about this a whole lot, but I think part of it depends on who is taking the class. If it a class for English or Lit majors, that's different than if it a general education requirement. I'm not a literature type person. So if I were taking this type of class, I would want to look at the usual pieces that I would need to know. Going in depth and spending a lot of time on one thing would probably be boring for me. I would also prefer chronological order, but I don't feel as strongly about that. As far as reading assignments go, I never minded the actual reading, it was the responses that I didn't like. I would rather, say, take a quiz on the reading than write about my feelings about the writing. But like I said, I'm not a literature person. :-) I hope I helped at least a little!

Nic said...

Thanks so much, Jen. I was hoping to hear from a college student! What you say makes a lot of sense. :-)