I have been reading “Why Read?” by Mark Edmundson for a while now. I had to re-read it several times to fully grasp the message of the book with its strong arguments on the approach to reading and to the teaching of it.
One of the two quotes that I think I can own as a reader and as a teacher (as the book argues that a reading is a process of re- creating one’s self) is:
“Reading woke me up. It took me from a world of harsh limits into expanded possibility. Without poetry, without literature and art, I (and I believe many others, too) could well have died miserably. It was this belief in writing that, thirty years ago, made me become a teacher.”(page 1)
As I read these lines, it is the passionate attitude of the author towards reading and literature that draws me. Have I thought about the greatness of writing before? Have I looked into writing as an essential part of my life and the life of others? I believe that answers to these questions are reflective of my attitude as a reader and as a teacher, which requires so much of growth.
The second quote that can be used as a contemporary mantra in teaching is:
“…part of the risk of true teaching lies in the willingness to see students make choices, sometimes bad choices. We must not worry to submitting our students to influence.” (page 101)
This, of course, is in the context of the author’s argument towards a ‘humanistic’ approach to liberal education, where, accordingly, its purpose is ‘to give people an enhanced opportunity to decide how they should live their lives’.
These are all theoretical in nature, but putting these into actual practice, it is my belief that these call for activities that focus more on dialogues and questioning in the classroom.
School year 2012-13 mantra: let reading be a bridge towards life choices through classroom dialogues.