ERIC Number: ED362880
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Requiring Literature in Freshman Composition.
Noting that too many people, including college teachers and administrators, view literature as entertainment and, thus, impractical in the "real world" of employment, a teacher at North Hennepin Community College in suburban Minneapolis supports requiring literature as the primary reading in Freshman English classes. After remarking that a visiting "expert" once told an assembled college faculty that teaching students to read computer manuals was more practical than teaching them to read short stories, the paper makes the following four points. First, reading literature is practical since all meaningful communication, including reading, is metaphorical. Because literature is the discipline that deals most directly with learning through metaphors, learning to read literature properly is the most direct way of learning to image properly what is read, a skill that is the key in reading technical manuals, if--a big "if"--they are well written. Next, reading literature can be enjoyable if it is fun, if it deals with important human topics, or if it helps empower students personally--or, better yet, if it does all three. Third, reading literature is an efficient way for students to become critical thinkers. If critical thinking is taught through responding to literature, students bring to the critical thinking task a life-time of relevant experience. They become aware that critical thinking is part of everyday life, rather than an exercise for some college course. Finally, reading literature in Freshman English classes is the easiest way for a college to encourage awareness of and respect for cultural diversity. (NH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Composition Literature Relationship; North Hennepin Community College MN
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Midwest Regional Conference on English in the Two-Year College (Madison, WI, October 7-9, 1993).