Englisches Seminar, room 11
Shirley Jackson’s "The Lottery"
Great literature offers readers insights into the existential issues facing individuals and humanity at large, transmitting wisdom through vicarious experience. Many teachers are driven to teach literature for this reason but find students are apathetic and adverse to reading "old" texts. Through close-reading of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, we will explore strategies that teachers can use to get students engaged in literature: scaffolding for difficult texts (vocabulary, visualization, background knowledge), building empathy for characters and situations (pre-reading prompts and activities), as well as ways to get students to read slowly and critically (jigsaw and teach-out of difficult passages). The role of a teacher is to bring a text to life and to show students how the text relates to their own lives while building knowledge and skills to become more thoughtful and critical about texts, media, and experience. Once this connection is made, students will feel they have a reason to care about great literature, feel confident in their reading skills, and be motivated to learn.
Tyler Burba is a teacher at the High School For Health Professions & Human Services in New York City. Until 2019, he taught English and then transitioned to teaching music appreciation. He has a BA in Literature and Music from Naropa, a Secondary English Teaching Certification from the University of Boulder, CO, an MA in Media and Communication from the European Graduate School, an MA in Ethnomusicology from Hunter College, and he is currently finishing his PhD in Philosophy from the European Graduate School.
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