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I think they can analyze literature without a shared experience but it won't be as deep. When I shared "Driving my Son to the Police Station to be Fingerprinted", a lot of my students complained they didn't have kids, so they didn't understand the poem. I pointed out that they could probably figure out what it might be like for a parent to have to do something like that, which helped most of my students get into it. Still, one student couldn't very deep into the poem because he had no reference point for that kind of relationship (what his home situation is, I don't exactly know) and sadly, he's not alone in this. I just hope that he'll be able to relate to some of the other poems I share with the class. I definintely try to give my kids a little insight on what the world is like beyond the South Bronx. I share my travel stories, I take them on field trips, I try to expose them as much as possible because they need it more than anything. People make the mistake of assuming that city kids are worldy and know what's up, when in many cases, it's exactly the opposite. I have kids who have either never left the Bronx, never been below 125th Street or only go from the Bronx to the airport to PR/DR and back. There is a noticeable difference between my students who live outside the Bronx and who live in the Bronx, in terms of their open-mindedness and awareness.

Bronwyn G

There are kids who have never left their suburb of Melbourne (and you can't if you live in the Yarra Ranges because of lack of transport, or even Greater Dandenong which is only a Stud Road from where I live). Fortunately I have always been well-travelled within my state of Victoria, which helped me a lot with for example bush poetry. I could imagine the settings and landscapes that people were communicating about. I could feel the character's feelings as well. This applies to northern and western suburbs of Melbourne too, not so much where I live, which is in the outer east. Here at least you can know what university is like if not the real world. You can have more of a handle on what the academy expects of you.

It was good that you decided to communicate about something which would interest the students and enhance their cognitive and affective education. It seems they responded beautifully to Tupac's poem. I guess a poem like Nani's poem is much more conceptually difficult, but I think with literature the hardest and most rewarding thing is to be able to step into somebody's shoes like Scout did with Boo Radley and Tom Robinson towards the end of To Kill A Mockingbird.

The end of egocentricism is the end of childhood. What do you think? A good discussion question? A cliche?


the thing is, that the poem really isn't conceptually difficult. i don't think i was wrong in making the assumption that most kids have at least parent or guardian at home, taking care of them. and to understand the sentiment behind the title, that's all you really need...the experience of someone caring for you, or of caring for others.


This is a question I debate within my head daily. Do I push my students to read "great works of literature" and try to understand what a character is going through during a time period or in a situation that they have never expereinced? How can I expect my students to enjoy literature and experience literature if they cannot connect with the characters and their emotions, situations, etc?

For example, my students read A SEPARATE PEACE and detest it. They complete the book kicking and screaming. I understand their pain. My students are lower to middle-class suburbians who cannot relate to these two fictional, WW2 characters at an all boys prep school.

Then we read SPEAK. A protagonist that they can relate to. Situations they experience in school on a daily basis. Most kids finish the book far ahead of my deadline.

A Separate Peace is more academically challenging, but SPEAK gets the kids reading, participating, analyzing. Where is the happy medium?

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A Separate Peace is more academically challenging, but SPEAK gets the kids reading, participating, analyzing. Where is the happy medium?

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I analyze the literature is carefully and get the some basic and important points .Its generally shows your reading skills.

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