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Schools refuse free literary works... :(

Schools refuse gifts of 'boring' classics

To Refuse a Classic...

Hm... more interesting movie adaptations might do the trick. I know so many young people who picked up the book after having seen Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice...

But why assume beforehand that young people aren't interested or find them too difficult? Isn't it the task of the teacher to explain them, to intice enthusiasm in them?

I've always been under the impression that the English cherished their cultural heritage. What a disappointment. The mind boggles!

What do you think?

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

I might start ranting on this subject, so let me apologise first.

But in my opinion if there is just one child in the school interested in the classics then the classics should be available to them. Schools cannot complain on one had about their lack of resources and then refuse free books on the other.

I am fairly disgusted by my country at times. I think that teachers are being very unfair to young people in assuming that they are not interested or not up to the challenge of reading them. Surely teachers should be giving us the skills to enable us to communicate fully, and that includes the vocabulary to read the classics.

I could go on for hours, I think it’s a general representation of the laziness of our society – that a book be rejected simply because it requires more concentration and a better understanding of the English language than a comic. I don’t think it is limited just to English either, I know the sciences are suffering along with any interest or subject that takes effort, and it makes me very scared for the future.

I just hope there are enough individuals with energy to counter the lazy mob.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

But in my opinion if there is just one child in the school interested in the classics then the classics should be available to them.

I couldn't agree more, Lisa! It's such a gross generalisation to state that children don't read literature anymore these days. That's not true at all. There has always been people who didn't like to read, but then again there will always people who do. And it's up to the teacher to warm the students, instead of assuming they don't like it...

I didn't like math nor did I have the talent for it, but I'm very grateful that at least I was forced to learn something about it! Shall we just eliminate history from the programme because it's all in the past and just boring for modern children who are much more into SF? Ridiculous!

If children don't even get the chance to acquaint themselves with their own (cultural) history and people who made it, how will they possibly know whether they think it boring or, vice versa, exciting!?

Perhaps teachers who think like those of the schools who even refuse free books (I bet there are very good ones around too!) should try to evoke a little bit more idealism in themselves.

I just hope there are enough individuals with energy to counter the lazy mob.

I say amen to that!

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

I agree with all that you have said. It is equally appalling here in the States. About ten years ago when I wanted to introduce my children (ages 7 to 13) to classical literature I went to the local library only to find not much there. I asked where the classics were and was told that people don't read them anymore so they are going away. That's when I started buying books and building my own.

However, lately I think there is a return to the classics because of some wonderful movies that have been made. My daughter is now an English major at university and she is meeting many students that love the classics. She is also one of the best read students and thanks me for introducing her to the classical world at 13. When the professor is discussing a story new to her she already has an idea about what is being discussed because she has read books that are similar.

I also love Pink Floyd's classic "Brick in the Wall" and the new version by Korn. Sometimes the school system is behind the curve. I hate it for kids who don't have someone to encourage them to read good literature. Hopefully things will change.

Meg

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

You will understand why I homeschool my own and refuse to send them to school.
I will tell you an anecdote. In her German lessons, my daughter and her classmates were asked to say who they would like to be if they had to pick a fictional character.Kids chose name as Rambo, wonder woman, the lord of the ring various heros and heroines. Guess what my daughter said to the amazament of her teacher: Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Wow! A classic. the teacher immediately asked her where she had come accrosss the f character and Julie spent the rest of the class telling them the story of PP.

For his spelling homework, my eigh-year-old was asked to write a proper name with each letter of the alphabet. He started as follows:
A Aslan
B Bennet
C ...
So? Classic works not good ?Kids not interested?
ha!

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

I think it is very sad if teachers and librarian are so pessimistic about our children. If they do not the trouble to familiarise the young generation with our cultural heritage than who will? I am from Germany so do n't know much about the situation in the UK but I think it is not worse than in our country. Of course, there will always be kids who don't like to read or are not able to. But there are many who aren't encouraged by their parents and they should have access to the classics at school. If books like "Oliver Twist" or classics by Jane Austen and others are presented in an interesting way than I think there would be many kids who read them. Several years ago, my children were invited to have a sleep over at a local library. Of course, the didn't sleep but rather tried to read as much as possible and talk about it with their friends. I think that would be a good way to get our children read and not just mangas, SF or Harry Potter.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

However, lately I think there is a return to the classics because of some wonderful movies that have been made

I'm sure those movies help make young people enthusiastic, Meg. and kudos for your daughter! My children study history and law respectively, but they both always liked to read decent literature. And I'm glad of it.

Eli! I didn't know you homeschooled your children. Wow! I've never considered it, but then again it's highly unusual in Holland.

Education is okay still, although in the past one was obliged to read far more books than students have to do nowadays. Still, there's enough room for Dutch and foreign literature in our school system.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

How cool is that, Eli? Discussing P&P in German class... Did she discuss Goethe in English class? Fair's fair, right?

Several years ago, my children were invited to have a sleep over at a local library.

That sounds great, a sleep over in a library, Birgit. I've never heard of such a thing, but I'm sure my children would have loved it when they were little.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

My 6 year enjoys the classics. They have read Treasure Island, The Christmas Carol, the whole Narnia series, King Aurther. My husband reads him a chapter every night before bed. He follows them without any problem and he is only just starting to read. Oh I am glad we are homeschooling. I can imagine the same problem here in the US as well. The adult fiction section of the library is full of paperback fluff. Yes it is important to get kids reading something but then they should move onto something challenging. They should have to read the classics for their lit classes and book reports. This is sad so many kids are being deprived of what they should have access to.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

I bet, Susan, that your children will love reading literature all their life! It's wonderful that they are already so fascinated about the classics.

I remember my parents owned an entire series of classics adapted for young children, and Treasure Island was one of them, just like Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoë, Oliver Twist, Sans famille etc. and a couple of Dutch classic you won't know. I read them over and over again. There was nothing boring about them, on the contrary, they were adventurous and exciting.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

Homeschooling is great. My eldest, 19 y.o , today commented, out of his own will,about a story he is reading in English. He is enthralled. He said "I like so much better to read on my own. I hated to read and kill a book at Literature at school."(He used to go to a convential school two years ago) For killing the story, he means going over it trying to read what is unnecessary, following a questionnaire, measuring the verses and all that crap. Shakespeare wrote for his own and his reader's entertainment.(Just like us, humble FF writers) Not to puzzle children at school.
Quoting Mr W M Thackery, in his Regent masterpiece "Vanity Fair", which I am currently reading, chapter 5 paragraph 15: If people would but leave children to themselves;if teachers would cease to bully them; if parents would not insist upon directing their thoughts, and dominating their feelings-those feelings and thoughts which are a mystery to all(...)If, I say, parents and masters would leave their children alone a little more, small harm would accrue...
A pioneer...the revolutionary idea of HS only started in 1960.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

On imposing our thoughts on children.

I would like to tell you about a friends son. He is 9 and a huge fan of Dr Who. He loves all of them, from the first ever back and white shows to the present. He loves the effects and sparkle of the new ones, but freely admits they are not half so atmospheric or scary as the earlier ones, which were slow burners, several shows leading up to the unveiling of the monster. He thinks that was a better way of doing things rather than the instant gratification of the one monster per show format now.

I suspect that this common theory that children (and adults) no longer have the patience for slow burners but require the sort of instant on the spot entertainment may be one reason why the classics, which do require an investment of time, and emotion to really apreciate are being neglected. I also think that the theory is mistaken, and that we as children and adults are being insulted by a general rule which is so common in our life styles. I dont know who is directing it. But I wish they wouldnt.

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

"Homeschooling is great. My eldest, 19 y.o , today commented, out of his own will,about a story he is reading in English. He is enthralled. He said "I like so much better to read on my own. I hated to read and kill a book at Literature at school."(He used to go to a convential school two years ago) For killing the story, he means going over it trying to read what is unnecessary, following a questionnaire, measuring the verses and all that crap. Shakespeare wrote for his own and his reader's entertainment.(Just like us, humble FF writers) Not to puzzle children at school.
Quoting Mr W M Thackery, in his Regent masterpiece "Vanity Fair", which I am currently reading, chapter 5 paragraph 15: If people would but leave children to themselves;if teachers would cease to bully them; if parents would not insist upon directing their thoughts, and dominating their feelings-those feelings and thoughts which are a mystery to all(...)If, I say, parents and masters would leave their children alone a little more, small harm would accrue...
A pioneer...the revolutionary idea of HS only started in 1960."


Eli, I could not agree more with what you have said. I have also home schooled four of my five children. The reason I did was much the same as you have outlined. They really do dissect a story to the point of "I wish I hadn't read it" My oldest went through public school his younger siblings did not.

As I said my daughter is doing well in college. All of my kids have but the oldest missed the appreciation for reading for the reasons you stated.

Meg

Re: Schools refuse free literary works... :(

I guess there are many advantages as far as HS is concerned, if the parent who does it is qualified enough to do it. It would never have crossed my mind, even though I'm well educated, I don't think myself qualified to take such responsibility upon my shoulders. Fortunately my children went to good schools in our neighbourhood, schools that didn't kill their intellectual appetite, but, on the contrary, stimulated it. We, as parents, gave them the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument (cello and violin resp.) and do a sport. We taught them about values and standards and other things. But we left the reading, math, writing etc. to their school teachers. After elementary school, they went to grammar school and had Greek and Latin, next to English, German and French... and Dutch of course. Neither are math miracles, but that's their mother's fault... LOL So, all in all, we were lucky, I guess.

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