Teaching a novel you find boring

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Odradek, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Odradek

    Odradek Rookie

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    Jan 21, 2019

    I have to teach Brave New World, which I find horrendously boring. Ever been in that situation? How do I fake it???

    This is not a very substantive post, just venting instead of lesson planning.
     
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2019

    I have been there. I do two things in those situations. One, I find something to like in the book. Even a boring book has some good points. Two, I sometimes use it as an important time to practice revising in writing. I don't criticize the book, but I do ask them to find some ways to make a certain part of a chapter more interesting. Working in partners or small groups they usually can see that they can revise a popular piece of literature. Revising someone else's writing is often much easier than revising one's own writing.
     
  4. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Jan 21, 2019

    Great ideas. I have also has students get in groups to draw a picture of a certain plot in a chapter. It needed to be accurate and have a short summary.
     
  5. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 21, 2019

    The long expository chapters at the end are challenging. When I taught 1984 and got to Goldstein’s Book, which is very dense and dry, I’d assign chunks of it to students to rewrite in the form of a textbook for a 12 year-old. They had to understand the text well enough to explain it in very simple terms. You might try something like that.
     
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  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Jan 22, 2019

    You have to find what's interesting about it, or your students never will. That is the job of an English teacher -- to take what would otherwise be a dusty old book and find what is still fascinating or relevant about it.

    Brave New World was actually one of my favorites in high school -- I read it on my own, not for a class. Even back in the dark ages (late 1990s, lol) I saw how relevant Huxley's depiction of the "future" was to our current society. I would think the connections could be even stronger, today. What about having students look into ways we are all "soma"tized (as in, sedated) -- through our addictions to TV, movies, social media, etc -- or even the literal addictions we are plagued with -- most lethal overdoses being from sedative-type drugs (fentanyl, opioids, etc).

    Or, what about looking at Huxley's "Doors of Perception" and pairing it with a close reading of lyrics from a Doors song (being the inspiration for their name)? I know that music is "oldies" now as it was for me back then, but a lot of high schoolers are into classic rock now and would think the lyrics are interesting. "People Are Strange" would connect thematically to BNW, for example.
     
  7. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Jan 29, 2019

    I have two options for this situation:
    -Option 1: Maintain the targeted skill/concept/theme, but change the novel
    -Option 2: Instead of reading the book, change it to a film study or a creative project. Instead of assigning nightly reading/guided reading, maybe try having students make chapter annotations and create a collage of major events that develop the novel. Also, use a multi-media approach or even have students role-play events in the book.
    Note: I have only taught high school English many years (way more than a decade ago)...for 1 year. I teach elementary, so my suggestion may not necessarily be as relevant.
     
  8. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Jan 29, 2019

    Sorry. Accidental double post.
    Would like this to be deleted, please.
     
  9. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Feb 11, 2019

    Luckily I get to pick my own novels!
     
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  10. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Rookie

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    Feb 17, 2019

    I have not taught (or read) Brave New World, but in general for novels/short stories, etc. that I don't prefer to teach but have to, I try to bring in current-day articles, video clips, TED talks, etc. that touch on a topic from the novel. Relate it to something going on today.
     
  11. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 17, 2019

    In the future, make the novel fun for you and your students. Maybe plan a few games that relate to the novel.
     

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