Higher Education Webinars
June 11, 2007 - 9:51pm
We finished reading for the AP exam in Louisville on Saturday, and I’m home now. But before I left, I sat down with Jim Barkus, Chief AP Reader for Literature and Composition, and Professor of English at Baylor University, to ask a few questions.
June 8, 2007 - 7:29am
Some of you were curious if the man in the slideshow in my previous post is me. Alas, no.
June 7, 2007 - 7:07am
Sometimes, when you've finished reading 56,000 exams, you have to take a break and go see a big concrete chicken and a wax dummy of Colonel
June 6, 2007 - 7:29am
Here was my day, in a sentence: “The past of the character greatly contributes to the meaning of the novel as a whole.” Indeed. Many, many AP English Lit essays I graded today began with the same startling insight. Please pass the hemlock.
June 5, 2007 - 6:59am
Jim Barkus, Chief Reader for AP Literature, told us our punctuality each day and steady application to the task of reading student essays would get the job done by Saturday evening; we weren’t to worry about our speed. It’s a little hard not to think of speed, though.
May 31, 2007 - 10:16pm
No, not with childcare; I have that under control. When Mrs. Churm left Sunday for the NAFSA conference in the Twin Cities, which will last a week, I blew my bosun’s whistle to call my two little boys away from the window, where they were sadly waving goodbye to their mother. They fell in. I blew it again, and they snapped to attention.“Rule One!” I said.“Daddy’s number-one job is to keep us safe!” Starbuck shouted. His little brother, Wolfie, said, “Bye,” and started biting my cell phone.“Rule Two!” I said.“Daddies always win,” Starbuck shouted.
May 31, 2007 - 9:17am
Near the end of each semester a student inevitably asks, “Why is literature always about bad stuff?” Even if we’re not reading, say, Titus Andronicus (dismemberment, cannibalism, it’s got it all), cummings (“his rectum wickedly to tease / by means of skilfully applied / bayonets roasted hot with heat”), or Erdrich’s “Red Convertible” (suicide, students suspect, maybe), it’s a fair enough question. Do you know a literary work in which everything turns out great?
May 25, 2007 - 5:44pm
But another kind of teacher, the artist, shows us how to see, and some of the most interesting are those who model growth of consciousness over time, using developing craft to expand ambition. These career arcs offer much pleasure and instruction, especially when combined with letters, memoirs, interviews, and secondary sources.In literature, Joyce’s arc grew toward unintelligibility, as did Henry James’s, in a different way. Twain’s arc grew from high jinks through moral profundity and into prescient bitterness. In painting, J.M.W. Turner and Picasso come to mind.
May 23, 2007 - 7:34am
My acquaintance Chaz and I were imagining an ideal teacher. Actually, we’d been talking about the future, when I intend to move my family to some fallow farm and live an idyll of slow food, deep thought, and lazy fun. Chaz plans to quit the academic IT business in a huff and live in a pop-up camper back in the woods on our property.
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