That last statement had me really thinking (of course critically thinking). Do we really teach our students how to think? I know that we spend lots of time telling them what to think. In fact, I remember having to memorize lots of facts and details during my school but I remember having a really hard time with critical thinking. I loved multiple choices, true or false, and fill in the blanks kind of tests because I was a master memorizer. But I really hated essay tests because they involved thinking. It involved analysis as well as synthesis. Luckily, for me, many of my teachers felt it was easier to give the tests that I liked. Unfortunately for me, when I went to college, I was like a fish out of water. Of course, I had wonderful friends who supported and encouraged me when I struggled. It was during this time that I learned how to think and realized that I was pretty good at it too. College professors do not want you to spit back things that they have told you. I began to look at things differently and having my own ideas and opinions about what I was reading.
I feel like once you learn how to use the tools, you can use them to create new things and we all do not have to create the same things in order to be considered a craftsman. We may use different tools and perfect our skills in different ways but that is what makes the world what it is. An artist can be a painter using oils or a painter using watercolors but nonetheless, both are artists. Someone may use hammers and saws to build cabinets or build houses, but both are skilled in their particular field.
This makes me realize that it doesn’t matter whether we teach our students using the classics or using modern literature. Maybe our students are reading material that explain a new hobby that they are interested in. Maybe students are reading directions that show them how to do something new.We need to be encouraging our students to read and analyze what they read no matter what they read. I remember having a teacher that didn’t care if I read Harlequin romance novels or classic novels (at the time, I read both) but he was just happy that I was reading. This encouragement helped me develop my love of reading. I think if we do this for our students, students will be more successful in reading for knowledge and reading for fun.
Original image: 'What I'm reading and re-reading' http://www.flickr.com/photos/61787893@N00/163867388 by: Earl