Friday, 3 August 2012

The Doctor and Professor X do Shakespeare, with a special guest.

When I began reading HuffEnglish, the blog of English teacher Dana Huff, I was a little wary at first: lots of Diigo links, and a post about being "connected." Y'all know me; I immediately though, "Really, lady? Thanks for that. Bye." However, at the bottom of every post, she has a, "You also might like..." list of three other entries she's written that might interest the reader. At the bottom of one Diigo links post was a review of my second-favorite novel (Ahab's Wife, for those of you who are curious), a post about "Why Fiction Matters," and another about "Indie Writing." SOLD, madam.

Allow me to take a moment to discuss what she brings up in "Why Fiction Matters," a post from December 2010. She writes in response to another blog, actually, one that proposes we stop reading fiction in schools that we may "encourage boys to read" and "help students improve nonfiction reading skills." The author of that entry claimed to have been writing in irony, but nevertheless, the point is one worth considering. Why is it important to teach fiction?

According to Huff, Hemingway, and myself, it is because fiction "shows us who we are," as individuals and as human beings. It is not just important to teach fiction; it is essential. But it must be taught the right way. Huff argues for backward design as the solution to getting boys more engaged in reading. She says that in order to make it matter, we have to give them an essential question for which to read. I think she may be onto something, though I'd hope that along the way, the students discover something more than the answer to one question alone.

Her blog is an intriguing mingling of techno-joy and more settled writing about the material we teach. For those of you who have fallen for this brave new world of technology, you should like her; even I will keep reading.

I stole these from Dana Huff. It made my morning.


  1. Ooh ... did you ever see David Tennant in HAMLET on PBS last year? And oh my word, did you see Patrick Stewart when he came to Ann Arbor to do a TEMPEST set in the Arctic Circle? Be still my "I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon-for-a-week-to-go-to-the-Prince-of-Wales-Shakespeare-School" heart.

    And Stephen Fry? Not too shabby, either. :)

    1. I did not see either, unfortunately! I did see Patrick Stewart alongside Simon Callow and Ian McKellan in WAITING FOR GODOT, though, and met them all afterward. It was glorious. Sir Ian flirted with my friend. We both almost cried with excitement.

      (Also, I added to this to make it an edublog post; is that all right?)