The Literature Workshop by Sheridan Blau. Teaching Texts and Their
The Literature Workshop
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The Literature Workshop

Teaching Texts and Their Readers

By Sheridan Blau

Sheridan introduces the literature workshop as the most effective approach to solving many of the classic instructional problems that perplex beginning and veteran teachers of literature, proving that a workshop model can help students read more difficult texts than they think they can.

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Full Description

    Sheridan Blau is among the small number of writers who have really original things to say about teaching and learning.
    —Gerald Graff
    Sheridan Blau is a gem in the English teaching profession: a teacher-researcher and an innovative teacher who blows the lid off of traditional forms of literary instruction.
    —Jeff Wilhelm
    I can’t think of a more helpful book about teaching literature. It’s sophisticated, subtle, and responsive to complex theory—yet practical and accessible.
    —Peter Elbow

In this groundbreaking book, Sheridan Blau introduces the literature workshop as the most effective approach to solving many of the classic instructional problems that perplex beginning and veteran teachers of literature. Through lively re-creations of actual workshops that he regularly conducts for students and teachers, Blau invites his readers to become active participants in workshops on such topics as:

  • helping students read more difficult texts than they think they can read
  • where interpretations come from
  • the problem of background knowledge in teaching classic texts
  • how to deal with competing and contradictory interpretations
  • what's worth saying about a literary text
  • balancing respect for readers with respect for texts and intellectual authority
  • ensuring that literary discussions are lively and productive
  • how to develop valuable and engaging writing assignments.
Each workshop includes reflections on what transpired and a discussion of the workshop's rationale and outcomes in the larger context of an original and practice-based theory of literary competence and instruction.

Contents

Introduction: Principles for Practice
I. Teaching and Learning Literature: A Problem with a Solution
1. Stories from the Classroom: Lessons on Learning Literature
2. From Telling to Teaching: The Literature Workshop in Action
II. How Readers and Texts Make Meaning
3. Which Interpretation Is the Right One? A Workshop on Literary Meaning
4. The Problem of Background Knowledge: A Workshop on Intertextual Literacy
III. How to Talk and Write About Literature
5. Where Do Interpretations Come From?
6. What's Worth Saying About a Literary Text?
IV. Writing Assignments in Literature Classes: Perennial Problems and Provisional Solutions
7. Writing Assignments in Literature Classes: The Problem
8. Writing Assignments in Literature Classes: Models for Solutions-in-Progress
V. Foundations of Literary Knowledge
9. Honoring Readers and Respecting Texts: Value and Authority in Literary Interpretation
10. What Do Students Need to Learn? The Dimensions of Literacy Competence

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