[Milton-L] text questions

gilliaca at jmu.edu gilliaca at jmu.edu
Wed Feb 6 10:51:17 EST 2008

.Of course one must consider context.  .

I am teaching the early British survey right now, and have come back from a very frustrtaing meeting with the class. We are reading SGGKgt, in the modern version in the Norton Antholog. I asked as usual for questions about the assignment for the day - which had been Part 2. Silence. A couple of questions about words in part one [haubreckm helm] and then one about Part 2: "thrice." 

NOw I suspect some of the silence comes from not having read anything - this class has maybe one major - the rest fulfilling general studies requirement.  So I quizzed them on Bk 2 - things like name one real life geographic feature in the part about G's travels - name a couple of the perils he faces on the journey - what does he pray for just before he sees the castle.  From the lack of hearing pens scrathcing away, I fear I will fond lots of nothing.

I collected the quizzes, went over the answers and then said, I'll not assume you haven't bothered to read the assignment [feeling my nose growing] so I assume you don't think I mean it when I ask for questions at the beginning of class - I do. I asked how they coud deal with unknown words as they read. 1. keep reading and maybe it will show up again and you can figureit out. 2. I read with a dictionary open on my computer.

Anyhow - I find in non-majors and increasingly in majors really poor vocabularies and an inability to sound out a new word.  No wonder that many don't read for pleasure - how can they enjoy what they can't u8nderstand?

Cynthia A. Gilliatt
English Department, JMU
JMU Safe Zones participant
"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate." Fr. John Weston

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