For my Professional Writing class, which is one of those general all-majors courses that teach you how to write resumes. etc. I need to do a "research project". It is sort of like pretending we worked for a compnay and I need to prove something. I also need to prove this is something worthy of my employer to pay me to research. Anyhow, my professor has suggested that I do something in english/poetry, etc. because that is my major. So for example, he says maybe there is a poet or a style of poetry that is not being taught in public schools (maybe for some controversial reason, or not) but I think it should be. Then I will do research and present it.
So anyone know of a topic?
Girls and poetry seem to go together well at school and they can find poets to identify with on the syllabus, but boys are not doing as well if you go by the exam results. Is it possible to produce a gender neutral syllabus?
I think Linda's idea is great. Having taught literature, mostly in summer school sessions, the guys tended to come in with the attitude that "literature" of any kind was going to be difficult.
Finding literature that bridges that bias might be a worthwhile research project. I think that the idea of promoting a project which is not real, will often help clarify in one's mind what type of research project we WOULD be willing to do, for our own master's, or other graduate thesis.
I see your point on the poetry...men/boys not being as interested in it or being unable to identify with it. However, last semester I took a class that was all for the boys. English Literatures to 1600. The class was full of Star Wars fans who loved medival, Lord of the Rings stuff and especially loved the Beowulf. Ick.
So, how might I go about researching such a thing?
Use the web. Find out what cultural and sexual biases studies have been done. First and foremost go to your college librarian and ask for a list of topics. That would be the first step. Then go to the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature and see what's been written recently. Good luck, it's a pretty ambitious topic.
I still have a few weeks to decide on the topic. Can anyone think of a specific poet, who contributed in some way, and should be taught in schools (whether he/she is or is not). Or perhaps a specific style of poetry that has had some sort of impact on the poetry world or the world in general?
Peter, could probably help you here. Many of the "beat" poets are still not taught because their own generation deemed much of their material obscene and too anti-establishment in topic to be included in public textbooks.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg come to mind. You can read their work here and decide for yourself.
Post Edited (02-22-05 14:26)
I for one have always wondered why many many highschool students are first introduced to JULIUS CAESAR. Perhaps this started in British schools where students could be expected to know some Roman history. It doesn't make any sense to me for American students.
If someone were to do some research about how students were first introduced to Shakespeare (performing or watching or reading? which play?) and whether it engaged them or bored them, I'd be happy to read that. (But I suspect it's been done and done and done.)
Perhaps not a specific poet, but 'how to teach poetry so students enjoy and learn.'
Try the database searches in your college library.
I asked my husband last night if he thought boys were less interested in literature and poetry than girls. He said "I don't get into the poetry thing, but I like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit". Interesting.
A quick search of one of the databases in my university's library- specifically the MLA International Bibliography- brought up the following articles. (Search terms: boys +literacy) You should have similar resources at your school.
'I Just Like Being Good at It': The Importance of Competence in the Literate Lives of Young Men
Author: Smith, Michael; Wilhelm, Jeffrey D. Source: Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 47, no. 6 (2004 Mar): p. 454-61 Doc. Type: journal article Libraries Worldwide: 1390 CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC U , View Full Text in HTML format (PerAbs)
2. Boys May Be Boys, but Do They Have to Read and Write That Way?
Author: Williams, Bronwyn T. Source: Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 47, no. 6 (2004 Mar): p. 510-15 Doc. Type: journal article Libraries Worldwide: 1390 CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC U , View Full Text in HTML format (PerAbs)
3. 'The Anxious and the Uprooted': Dennis Potter and Richard Hoggart, Scholarship Boys
Author: Creeber, Glen In: Gras, Vernon W. (ed. and introd.)--Cook, John R. (ed. and introd.); xvi, 279 pp.; The Passion of Dennis Potter: International Collected Essays; St. Martin's, New York, NY Publication: 2000 Doc. Type: book article See more details for locating this item
4. Boy Talk: Critical Literacy and Masculinities
Author: Young, Josephine Peyton Source: Reading Research Quarterly 35, no. 3 (2000 July-Sept): p. 312-37 Doc. Type: journal article Libraries Worldwide: 1236 CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC U See more details for locating this item
5. An Investigation of the Relationship between Emergent Literacy Skills, the Achievement of Reading, and Piaget's Conservation Tasks in First-Grade Boys and Girls
Author: Streitenberger, Denise Cantrell Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences 58, no. 8 (1998 Feb): p. 2995 Doc. Type: dissertation abstract See more details for locating this item
Thanks Pam, you just gave me confidence.
He said "I don't get into the poetry thing ... "
Guys don't realize that writing poetry is a great way to get laid? Tsk.
Tsk. As if women can't see real poetry from that kind of stuff. He knows better than that.
At least when I was in school, we all knew SOMETHING about Roman history, even if it was Rex Harrison Richard Burton Liz Taylor version
The first Shakespeare we were introduced to was in 7th grade-A Midsummer's Night's Dream, it was in our textbook. In 9th grade we did Romeo & Juliet, and 12th grade was Hamlet and Oedipus the King (that was Shakespeare, right?). In my 300 level english class, we did Othello. I think that's plenty of Shakespeare, don't you?
There's no such thing as too much Shakespeare!
Et tu, Bluto?
Talia, Oedipus the King, was written by Sophocles about 2000 years earlier in Greece.
Post Edited (02-25-05 14:23)
Obviously a contemporary of Anonymous and Parentheses
Good luck. I've got two research papers for this quarter- one on higher education in Vietnam, and one on the transition to PeopleSoft for student administration software. (Yes, it makes me yawn, too)
Pam, you could write about "student administration" of the university and that would shake them up.
Didn't Berkeley try that in the 60's?
Peoplesoft, always makes me think of "soft people", bad logo, very bad.
Apple =good connotations
Del=good "people using computers always say "What in the del's wrong with this computer?"
Gateway=good "your gateway to knowledge, etc."
HP=bad "sounds like a highway patrolman sitting on your desk"
microsoft=good " machinery made soft" beautiful idea
IBM = "just take the last two letters" and run with it.
Pam, as hard as you work at your job, I'm sure you'll do well whatever the topic.
HP = good, tasty brown sauce to go on sausages and chips.
No, no, you put guacamole on chips!
I wouldn't put guacamole on anything, but if I had to then it would be on crisps.
Two countries separated by a common language- isn't it fun?
I sometimes think that's our purpose here, to alert students to the language differences over time and space.
I would suggest the anti-beat poet Kenneth Patchen because he has a lot to offer everyone and he is almost never part of anyone's syllabus. His work is plentifully available and he has written many volumes of poetry and prose. I once wrote a paper on his use of cliches in poetry to jar his audience. I heard someone on the North Beach read his poems tonight at an open reading, and they weree a great hit.
p.s., He offended almost everyone in the beat scene by refusing to be 'hip' -- that's a common joke around here, since he was so passionate he out-cooled the coolest.
Post Edited (02-27-05 18:43)
Perhaps it was a reference to Oedipus in of Shakespeare's plays that I am remembering.
I have done quite a bit of research and found some really interesting things on boys and litrature in education. However, when I gave my proposal to my professor last night (orally) he was concerned that the topic would not seem new enough. The articles I have, I believe are new, or are a new spin on an old topic. However, I am fresh out of resources. Does anyone have some similar topics I could search that might relate to thhis and allow me to expand? I'm open to all ideas. Thanks guys.
I gave my proposal to my professor last night (orally) ...
Ahem. Possibly needs to be rephrased.
What was the question again? You are looking for new topics or new ways to spin whatever the old topic was?
Maybe narrow it to poetry- whether boys and poetry or teaching poetry in the schools. If you look at the homework page here, you see zillions of posts from kids who are hating every minute of learning poetry. (of course, they could be like this in all fields, and we're just not seeing them post their 'I need algebra problems done!')
I knew that was coming from you as I typed it.
How about the usage of poetry to teach other subjects (like history, geography etc) ?
You know, I think that is a great idea! I happen to be taking an American History class simultaneously with a literature class that spans 1600-1800. I think this has worked out great....it is so important to understand the context of the society when reading something.
Just wanted to thank you for this topic and all the help...I got an "A" and my classmates were very much interested in the topic when I gave my presentations as well.
Well done. And to interest your classmates as well. Did they come up with interesting topics also?
Yes. They all tried to focus a topic based on their majors. some of them were the current baseball-steroid issue, robotic milking machines on dairy farms, the portrayal of women in advertising, the parking problem at our university, the modern concept of changing the museum-visiting experience, debt management, identiy theft, the impact of the "Christian right" on the last election, healthy eating in public schools, autism, the impact of a college education, and the effects of flourescent lighting on the body.
I can't recall any direct reference to Oedipus in the works of Shakespeare, but there is an influential book of criticism called "Hamlet and Oedipus: A Classic Study in the Psychoanalysis of Literature" by Ernest Jones, and a marvelous essay on "Hamlet and Orestes" by Gilbert Murray. And lots of papers and lectures with both Hamlet and Oedipus in the title, so it would be easy to start to think Shakespeare had written a play about Oedipus.
Now, what if Sophocles had written HAMLET???
then Shakespeare should be sued for copyright infringement!