Sunday, October 29, 2006

Writhing in Thought

One of my students in critically reviewing an article refers to the author as “writhing the article.” That kind of writing is always the hardest. More than likely, the student was referring to himself as someone who was writhing in having to think critically about a text.

Students in my classes have been struggling with their critical review assignment. Some students are struggling with evaluating a movie, too, not recognizing that a movie can be approached as a text. Once one has seen a movie often enough, it becomes relatively easy to pick out where the movie works and where it doesn’t. Perhaps high schools should assist students in developing their critical senses by seeing movies like Citizen Kane, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and The Graduate. Even evaluating a movie like The Breakfast Club could prove profitable. It’s too bad that the subject matter in those kinds of movies wouldn’t be appropriate for our young people and would lead to parents protesting about what their little darlings are being exposed to. It’s no wonder that recent posts at Rate Your Students have mentioned how high school students tend to do nothing but bide their time until graduation. I know I hated high school and couldn’t wait to have it end. Struggling to understand Citizen Kane would have been better than reading Travels with Charlie in English class or better than watching my political science teacher comb his hair in front of the class.

Maybe I shouldn’t expect too much thinking from my freshmen. We’re not a society that promotes thinking as a virtue.