English is definitely my favorite subject for many reasons, but one sticks out to me in particular.  To me there is nothing better than a simple class discussion, in which the teacher asks some sort of question pertaining to the story being read, and then the students take turns responding and sharing their thoughts.  I feel like I learn so much from these discussions just by listening to my classmates, considering what they have to say, and then forming new and improved ideas of my own based off of their thoughts. 

I think I, as well as other students, benefit greatly from class discussions in which a series of questions are brought up and everyone gives their two cents about it.  But from what I've seen, not every English class at Fremd gets to experience class discussions.  I often see fellow classmates working on study packets for their book that ask questions based solely on events in the chapter.  To me this is not helping the students to dig into their books and learn more about the characters and more importantly, themselves.  It's just "busy work" that doesn't help them analyze characters, author's decisions, and word choice, aspects of literature that are far more important to master than being able to recall the chronological order of a particular chapter. 

Take the movie "Good Will Hunting" for example, a film about a prodigy who, despite his incredible mental capacity, lives a trouble life filled with fighting and too much drinking.  Finally this prodigy, named Will Hunting, meets with a psychiatrist who helps him to sort out his problems and give him a more firm direction in life.  By arguing and conversing in a healthy manner, Will not only learns more about himself, but he also helps the psychiatrist learn more about himself.  As a viewer, there is a lot you can take from the discussions Will and his psychiatrist have.  Even in the trailer for the movie, (below) the narrator of the trailer states that "Some never know how much they can have until they discover how much they can give."  That statement could easily be the topic of discussion amongst 30 students for a full class period, and in the process these students would be forced to consider their ideas, reform their own, and make inferences based on the feedback from their peers.  But if you were to fill out on packet asking "How many shrinks did Will see before he found one that he cooperated with?", or "What are the names of Will's friends and what are their jobs?", you would miss out on an enlightening experience that would help you learn more about yourself and your classmates.

Even though I may feel this way about how an English class is most successfully run, you may disagree with me.  If you think you have a better idea of how an English class should be operated, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject. 





Views: 52

Comment by Rachel Lee on May 22, 2012 at 5:50pm

I agree that class discussions are helpful! It's fun listening to what other people think about a topic and also when I am conveying my ideas to the other people. I think it's a great way of communication and learning in depth about contents and meanings :) Good job on your blog!

Comment by Rachel Hellwarth on May 22, 2012 at 5:55pm

Great post, John! I agree with you. I think class discussions are a thousand times more interesting and thought-provoking than a simple packet that needs to be filled out. Class discussions can open your mind to other student's points of view, instead of just being stuck in your own because that's all you wrote down in your packet. I believe being able to see things from someone else's point of view is the greatest advantage gained from class discussions.

Comment by Claire Herdegen on May 22, 2012 at 6:05pm

Awesome topic to post about! I completely agree with you. I think that by having discussions open to the entire 30 student class, students can not only open their minds to other ideas, but almost subconsciously get to know the students in their class better. Each person's answer to a prompt or question asked to begin a discussion is invariably different in some way. Although a group of people could agree with one point of view in the class, individual students have different variations on one theory or answer. Class discussions are a great way to bring out acceptance and respect in kids as well because the talks teach us to have open minds and understand other people's opinions.


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