[Milton-L] textbooks

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Thu Apr 21 14:47:03 EDT 2016

Mike, I'm afraid there's a pragmatic reason for that. I taught for a semester at a local community college in a generally affluent county--day session classes, so primarily composed of fairly recent high school graduates. The course description required that I teach two plays (one modern and one from an earlier period) and one novel. Because this was an ENG 112, I began with Death of a Salesman . . . which I was astonished to find that they had difficulty reading, even with the help of study guides containing questions I had written myself to further their comprehension. It was worse when we moved next to Huckleberry Finn, which I read in high school. Same story--copious background material, in-class readings, study guide questions--too challenging for them to appreciate. Hamlet was out of the question, so I told them there would be questions about it (matching, multiple choice), but no essays. I don't think half of them even tried to read it!

You can just imagine trying to teach Milton . . . !

(For one thing, you have to be able to read punctuation, which--beyond commas and exclamation points--many young people seem incapable of doing these days.)

That may sound snarky, but it wasn't intended to be. For me, it was beyond depressing.

Best to all,

Carol Barton

From: Mike McAdams 
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 2:29 PM
To: milton-l at richmond.edu 
Subject: [Milton-L] textbooks

I am a high school teacher in a public high school in Southern California. We are in the process of adopting new textbooks. The four that we are considering are from the major textbook companies, including The College Board. Milton's poetry is not in any of the books. I do not want to be an alarmist, but it appears that works in the canon are being excluded in favor of non-fiction articles.

Mike McAdams
Bloomington High School


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