15 1

I don't know what the school curriculum teaches these days. What is the classic literature that is taught or is there a recent canon that is used?

Geoffrey51 8 June 24

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


I'm reading three different books over the summer for a summer reading. All three books are some type of medal winners. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I intend to start my year with discussion and activities on these books. Mostly though we read nonfiction texts to support the social studies and science curriculum with a base on ELA standards. ELA standards are pretty broad with including speaking, listening, reading and writing about what is the chosen readings. I try to focus on writing because I feel that the students need that skill as a life skill over just acing multiple choice tests.

Sounds like a great idea. I don't understand how multiple choice answers move anything along as they don't require critical analysis or understanding. Life isn't multiple choice as, in many instances, the choices available are not always the best solution


I cannot speak for high school, but I have taught lit at two schools and it depends on the level of the course and other factors. For example, I taught intro to lit at a community college and we read mostly contemporary short stories. However, I have used Frankenstein and Great Expectations for the novel. We also read Oedipus Rex, a translation of the Greek play, and Death of a Salesman. I discussed the canon and how it changed in recent times.

There are also classes centered around a specific genre or author, i.e. science fiction, the Beat poets, or Shakespeare. I teach myth classes and we read Frankenstein, Dracula, and in one, I am Legend.

I teach grad courses in British lit on the Victorian era and selected topics in British lit. The Victorian lit is classic and in the other, we read both classics and contemporary works (of course, "contemporary" is subjective).

The canon has changed in recent times to include women and people of color; the works used to be overwhelmingly by old white men. It is not static.


I graduated in 2003. We read Shakespeare.


The kids are taught whatever material is on achievement the state uses to grade the schools and teachers. Here in Texas it is likely something to do with the Alamo and probably written by David Barton explaining how Davy Crockett and other Christians were slaughtered by atheist Mexican illegal aliens.


In my personal experience, I did not appreciate literature class in high school. I had to read "Silas Marner"...a dull person who lead a dull and uneventful life. On the other hand, I was a voracious reader in h.s., read Melville, Jack London, Jules Vern, Edgar Rich Borrows, etc. So, "forcing" me to read what someone else thought I should read but found boring (or was disturbed by like Dickens) and a waste of time that I could use to read something that I enjoyed.

I suspect you would get more out of Melville and London than George Eliot. Although her work is a good read I have never really considered here to be exceptional literature. Much like Thomas Hardy who I have loved to read but for me they are both focused on the social concerns of their locale rather than greater depth. Great reads but not great literature. (I'll be in trouble from someone now no doubt!)


In 1980 I joined the US Navy, many of my recruitmates in my bootcamp company did not knew were Puerto Rico was. So if I didn't liked the dude I will say the Pacific Ocean 730 Miles off Hawaii.


The dumbing of a nation. Any easier way to control?


Are children able to read writing anymore verses printing----No

Marine Level 8 June 24, 2018

It depends on the school. My kids took a lot of AP classes and loved their lit courses, which were loaded with classics and contemporary pieces. My son emerged from the curriculum with a love of Shakespeare, both reading and acting it. We lucked out. Our mostly rural southern school managed to maintain an excellent balance of STEM, fine arts, and liberal arts.

Zster Level 8 June 24, 2018

Can tell you this common core has dumbed down our country. []

azzow2 Level 9 June 24, 2018

As a 30 year teaching veteran of high school science teaching. I tend to disagree with your statement. It's not the curriculum, even the Common Core, rather it's the parenting model whereby the schools and teachers aren't supported. We can't give homework because it will not get done. Then we get assailed by parents because their child is failing because they didn't do their homework, therefore did poorly on exams because they were unable demonstrate that they have mastered the material.

@t1nick The parents do not understand the common core so their hands are tied and are in most cases unable to help with homework. so it is a vicious circle. I have seen endless post on twitter and facebook of people saying they do not know how to help with common core homework.

@azzow2 I can understand their dilemma. I've been through a multitude of curriculums over the years. For science, the common core curriculum is pretty straightforward. It was designed to create a structure of consistency in the basic knowledge required to both; be successful in college, and to compete in a world market. The US has been falling behind in the science and math fields for a long time. The standards were written to address this deficiency. They are not perfect, but are refined and improved on a regular basis.

On a side note, the biggest group of detractors to the Common Core curriculum is coming from Christian special interest groups. The Common Core removes God from the science curriculum. So it isn't surpringly fundamentalists are raising such a rucus.

@t1nick We could go on and on about the negatives and positives what needs to be addressed is things like public computers with touters and positive reinforcement. For so long people have gotten punished for doing badly in school instead of rewarded. You might say that doing good the reward would be a good paying job. That is only good for people that can think long term, most people want short-term gratification. The old practice was to spank your pet for messing on the carpet. The newer way of thinking is to reward your pet for doing their business in the designated area. Humans are animals rewarding for doing good is way more productive than punishment.

I think the op was originally about books like in English class. But common core is a joke. When someone first told me about it, thought he was pulling my leg when he said his daughter was taught it. Then another guy said his granddaughter was being taught it. They are taught 5 + 7 = 10. I kind of get what they are getting at, I do 5 +5 in my head then add two. I know the answer is 12, not 10. Hey buddy I'm a little short this week can I borrow $5? Borrows me the $5. Couple days later "hey man can I borrow $7 I still didn't get paid". Borrows me the $7. I get paid the next day. Thanks bud, here's the $10 I owe you! Who came up with this shit Tump "university"?

@TheGreatShadow The last administration indoctrinated common core. []

@azzow2 That's sad.

Most of the common core math stuff that terrifies people, is stuff American students don't see unless they are Mathematics Majors in their junior or senior year. (Me)
I remember seeing some of these techniques thrown at us like magician slight of hand in 'number theory' class and being like "Woah Dr. David Blaine, do that again!" It was clear there are techniques out there for quick solving mathematical equations that we totally skip in our culture.

We are a society who's education system has barely evolved from the one room school house because it was good enough back then.

Saying common core is bad because parents don't get it is akin to us outlawing VCR's back in the 80s because grandpa couldn't figure out how to set the clock on the thing.

@azzow2 I understand your point. How you get to desired objective is important. I take your point and agree.

@t1nick Agreed to the issues you state. Teachers are no longer "allowed" to teach.

@azzow2, @TheGreatShadow I do not know about the math standards, but the science Common Core Standards make sense. I get the feeling that you looked at the example on its own without looking at the context and point that was trying to be made. I agree that the problem as you present is ridiculous. But knowing math teachers as I do, they would not teach an invalid concept. I suspect that there was a larger purpose to the problem that the child was unable to articulate to your friend, or more likely your friend had preconceived notions as to what the Common Core represented and failed to look into his granddaughter's lesson. Potentially another example of anecdotal hyperbole as opposed to real facts. Just sayin".

@azzow2 Students are being "rewarded" to their detriment. I teach first year composition and in the last couple of years, have had mixed classes of AP high school students and "mainstream" (mainstream is not what it used to be) students. I teach online and have students ranging from 17 to 40s and 50s.

I have had some apt high school writers but overwhelmingly, they do poorly. They do poorly because they have not been taught the basics of writing and formatting papers. In the first entry level class, ENG 101, students are not expected to have an in depth knowledge of the formatting (MLA or APA), but they should have a grasp on grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. In the 102 course, the high school students should have a grasp on formatting and how to write a paper. Students who took 101 decades ago can be expected to be rusty, but not the high school students.

Despite not knowing the basics, though, the high school students have been passed along. In part, this is due to the teachers not wanting confrontations with parents when their teens fail and the pressure from the school to pass students. Then, they get into college and "meet" someone like me who will not pass a student who does not write clear, coherent papers with correct formatting.

And back to "rewarding" students and stroking their egos. In 18 years of teaching entry level composition, last term was the worst and most stressful term I have had, and it was due to the high school students. The students in both of my classes were woefully unprepared. I had several of them tell me that they could not understand my directions for the assignments--I did a readability check on several sets of directions and they were written at a high school reading level. I sent a set to my department chair who said they were clear.

Several students told me that they could not understand why grades on their papers were low because they had their high school teachers read the works and they said that they "were fine." No, they were not, and the errors were diverse and wide ranging.

By the way, I have students do readability checks on their works, and I have had students with eighth and ninth grade levels. This does not even take punctuation and content into consideration--they students are shocked by the scores.

I once had a student who received low grades in a seated class who complained that even though he did better on each paper, his grades were still low. In comparing this to a work scenario, if someone is hired to shuck 100 ears of corn and only shucks ten ears, he/she will get paid for those ten ears. If they shuck 25 the next day, that is an improvement, but he/she will still get get paid for those 25, not for 100.

Instilling confidence and rewarding students is a must, but instilling a false sense of confidence does the student no good. This is why employers are crying out for employees who can read, write, and have good communication skills. Teachers are afraid of honestly appraising the work of their students for fear of reprisal.

@t1nick I am a single dad I have 7 years old twins. My daughter is excellent at school work my son struggles with it. I have taught my self a lot of logic and common sense over time. So my practice is to pass that on to my kids. I am thinking that that kind of thinking might be becoming rarer these days. Would like to see some common sense brought to schooling. Things like knot tieing as an example a few years back I volunteered for Head Start. What I had observed then, was very few parents interact with their kids. They use school as a babysitter so they can go to work. I had observed one parent out of like 70 families that actually picked up a book and read to their kids. From this observation tells me society has put the burden of education on schooling.

@azzow2 I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments

@Gwendolyn2018 What you are saying. I totally get my friend is a constable in South Carolina and so I pay attention when something comes up in the news about South Carolina that day that student was disrespecting the teacher and the off-duty sheriff dubbing ad a school security. He dragged the student out of the classroom then later was terminated. This just shows how powerless teacher are kids disrespecting and just get away with it. They need new ideas.


Some classics never leave. My friends son, who's in school, read Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, and The Great Gatsby. I read 2 of those in h.s. Plus I'm sure the teachers have a say as well.

Teachers usually follow a set curriculum and often do not choose the works.

@Gwendolyn2018 they don't choose the curriculum, but are given options with the books. I know my teachers did, but that may have been something that principle allowed.


Each State, School District has its own particular requirements. So, it depends upon where you live.


Are the Literature Arts still even taught in high school?
I thought everything was STEM now.
Science Technology Engineering Math

Which are all important.

But there is still a need to plant seeds of wonder in those minds

Yeah, but when I went to school the "Thick" boys did "Woodwork & Metalwork" and the "Boffins" did Physics. If they had taught them together for the last 40 years then the UK would have the best Technicians and Engineers in the world. ( which, now we hardly produce anything -Coal, Steel,shipbuilding etc all gone) just may be a good thing.

Certainly agree there. Not sure how to justify courses on The Divine Comedy or Dostoevsky or even T.S. Eliot currently. A tragedy, but if those of us who have the time and inclination can share our delight in art, literature etc. with interested individuals, the Classics can still sing out their eternal message!


Changes every year and is decided by the relevant Curriculum Council but this is this year's Victorian Year 12 list. []

Kimba Level 7 June 24, 2018

Thanks Kimba, some good works there


I am now imagining kids being barraged with books being launched from a cannon. Beautiful!

You DO seem to have a violent streak.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:114420
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.