English Teachers: What is your position on abridged texts?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by LittleShakespeare, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Nov 28, 2017

    I'm almost done wrapping up "Romeo and Juliet" with my freshmen. We are reading the original text, and I have given them the "No Fear Shakespeare" edition as well. It's taking a long time, and the students are overly bored, but my co-teacher is happy because it's taking up the whole block. Then she complains that it's too much for them. I'm not exactly sure what she wants from me most days. :p

    Anyway, I'm not sure what your stance is on this, but many teachers in the ELA Department don't even read the whole thing. They just show the movie or provide the kids with a summary on what happens. I'm worried as we approach the novella "Night." It's REALLY short, but the co-teacher wants to abridge that as well.

    When I was in high school, over ten years ago, we read the entirety of "Romeo and Juliet". We finished whatever we started. I don't know if it's a good idea to adapt to this new "abridged" mentality.

    What do you think?
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Nov 28, 2017

    With Romeo and Juliet, and other plays in general, those texts are intended to be performed, and viewed. So watching a faithful stage adaptation is sufficient. We read summaries of each scene, act out the scenes, watch a stage production, then go back and read/analyze famous scenes.

    With other works, some are just too long to read all of. With To Kill a Mockingbird, we watched the movie for the trial scene. We went back and did a scavenger hunt for important quotes from those chapters.

    There is so much else that must be covered, and so much time lost to testing. Sometimes we need to prioritize.
     
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  4. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 28, 2017

    Regarding Shakespeare, most directors choose to abridge the longer plays in particular, since the entire text would take hours to perform, so I don't see any problem with providing an alternate version, as long as they are also exposed to the original text, as well. Night, on the other hand, I can't see having to abridge, since it is so short already. Is the other teacher perhaps uncomfortable with some of the content? What are your roles as co-teachers, exactly?
     
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  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 28, 2017

    I don't do any shortening of Shakespeare, but we also don't read it. We perform it and we watch it.

    I would not shorten Night. It's so short already and it's just so powerful. I personally feel you'd be doing Wiesel a disservice.
     
  6. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Nov 30, 2017

    It's a resource classroom, and I'm the primary teacher, but she runs the show. I don't mind since I'm new, but she really despises most literature. They tend to skip everything. They even want to skip "The Odyssey", which can take 2 weeks to complete in the textbook. :(
     
  7. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    I agree! It's a pamphlet instead of a novella!
     
  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 30, 2017

    Knowing it is a resource classroom changes things quite a bit. I have never taught in a resource setting, but I have taught ELL in a program that treated it like SPED (which was horrible...long story!). I don't have much advice given the setting. What little I do know is that, at least from what I've seen around here, resource classes do not read much in the way of traditional literature, or if they do, it is highly adapted or abridged, which I think is kind of a shame, because it shouldn't be true that these students can't access literature, just that they need to access it in a different way. This sounds like a big challenge! I will be interested to hear more about how this shakes out for you over time.
     

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