School days, school daze


My neighbor who's been an English teacher for 10 years told me he went all-out on electronic media this year. He had gradually been moving in this direction in his inner city classroom to accommodate learning according to the new normal of high school students' attention spans and capabilities.

Straight lectures are out, of course. (Perhaps we should say "good riddance.") And Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird will be heavily augmented by their Hollywood celluloid versions. Maybe Ian could assign just enough chapters of the book to say they've read it. What in the world they will do with Shakespeare I have no idea.

If my neighbor (who says he will stay in education 10 more years and then pursue his dream of opening a café) wants his high schoolers to analyze JFK's inaugural address, I presume he will have them download it onto their iPods for listening at their convenience-and their convenience is increasingly defined by the press of competing voices of the electronic variety. Young Brad or Brittany will come home and throw his or her books on the floor and flip on MTV and then the laptop.

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Their mothers and fathers will call them for dinner (if such an institution still exists in the household) and ask them what they're learning about the Civil War. And Brad or Brittany will be able to hit the high points of the war in a single meal.

Ah, modernity.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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