Should literature be a required class for schooling?
Debate Rounds (3)
However, literature as a class, is, in my opinion, more for the entertainment and personal joy of attempting to analyze text. It does not have beneficial aspects in most areas of life. Now the argument could be made that interpreting texts is a useful skill in some jobs, however it is NOT the same type of concept. In fact, most texts studied in literature classes are outdated in their language and motive and have no relate-able, current day text equivalents.
It may be useful if you desire to go into a job that solely studies books, which is a VERY limited section of jobs, and by that argument, the school district could mandate programming classes, or physics. Which both are more applicable in ones lifetime.
Additionally, literature is completely subjective. The personal opinions of a teacher may either co-align or contrast with the beliefs of a student. The teacher may make any decision regarding a grade at all. They could pass or fail students at their liking as they can justify either side.
This would define it as an elective.
An elective does not mean it is a class for fun, and can still provide useful skills in life, but literature does NOT need to be a mandatory class.
If one made the argument that it is good to be familiar with classic novels and plays, I would counter with the fact that reading them and understanding them is completely different than analyzing the text to your own personal discretion.
In my English class we had to read classics such as Hamlet and we had to answer factual questions about it, but it was not until I had literature, (a waste of my time) that I had to "analyze" it. I was able to open to pages at random, choose an object and say that it represented an emotion, with a vague sense of connection, when in reality, I didn't believe a word of the bull!@#$ that was coming out of my mouth.
Literature is a waste of a class both in that its usefulness cannot be extended to real life situations, the class is subjective to the extreme, and the 'connections' made do not help anyone.
I support English classes 100%, BUT literature and 'analyzing' text should be regarded as an elective class as it does not provide useful life skills or any for jobs. There are many more subjects that are regarded as electives that are much more relevant and prominent in society. Thus, I believe that Literature as a class should only be offered as an elective.
Thank you :)
(I am currently in a AP literature and the teacher does not like me. I have had people completely copy my discussion analysis writings and turn them in for 100%'s where I receive 50%'s. Three times I have turned in my friends papers and received a 20 and 50's while she got two perfect grades and an 80. This bias subject is not relevant in life and its' subjective aspect completely discredits the accomplishment of it.)
Reading, interpreting, and analyzing texts improves reading comprehension, vocabulary, and broadens one's ability to interpret what one is reading.
I believe that, unfortunately, your personal experience in one specific class has skewed the way you think about literature. I'm assuming this is high school that we are referring to but let me remind you that, as a child in the public school system you have been subjected to the requirement of reading and analyzing literature before.
When an elementary school teacher asks her class of third graders, "How does Arthur feel about his glasses?" She is asking them to draw clues and evidence from the text and make an argument. It is untrue that, as an AP student, you have never had to analyze texts. You may have just been unaware that it was, in fact, what you were doing.
In your argument you state:
"It may be useful if you desire to go into a job that solely studies books, which is a VERY limited section of jobs, and by that argument, the school district could mandate programming classes, or physics. Which both are more applicable in ones lifetime."
This argument could be used to throw out almost anything in the public school system. As a college student, preparing to go into the field I can almost guarantee that I will never again use the quadratic formula (because I am not a Math student or preparing to be a math teacher) nor will I ever need to know that Avogadro's number is 6.02 * 10^23
The public school system is not meant to prepare you for one specific job in the field, although they do have technical high schools that offer more career based classes and electives are, as I think you understand, meant to further a student's interest in what they plan to do later in life. The public school system is meant educate you on a gradual and broad level, so that when you do up and decide that you want to be a chemistry major, you have a basic understanding of how to balance equations or when you decide that you are destined to be a famous author, then you understand the inner workings of plot and theme and setting and so on and on.
"Literature is a waste of a class both in that its usefulness cannot be extended to real life situations, the class is subjective to the extreme, and the 'connections' made do not help anyone."
Literature extends to real life situations in ways you may not expect. Every time you pick up a newspaper you are being told that something is true. You will most likely pick up a book after high school and read it. Even when reading a magazine article, it is up to you, the reader to either take the author at his word or to disagree with him/her. You cannot do anything except swallow their ideas if you don't know how to break down the text, analyze it, and then form your own arguments based on it and possibly something else you've read.
"...the class is subjective to the extreme..."
If you are referring to your earlier statement that "The teacher may make any decision regarding a grade at all. They could pass or fail students at their liking as they can justify either side." then you may be right. However if you simply have a biased teacher, this is not a good argument to make regarding the educational merits of a class. Any class can have a teacher who is biased towards one opinion or the other. I have had teachers in the past who would mark a Math question wrong, not because I had the wrong answer but because I didn't use their methods to get to the right answer. Does this mean Math is not important to my education? No. It simply means I had a rigid teacher, unwilling to be flexible.
"...the 'connections' made do not help anyone."
This an awfully broad statement. Have you done research on whether or not students in a literature class do better in other aspects of life than those who are not in a literature class. It is untrue that no one benefits from the connections that one might experience in a literature class. I cannot say whether or not the connections have benefited you but your argument that the class does not 'help anyone' seems to be made in frustration of your own situation.
"The chance to read and write is something that everyone should be able to experience. Literature in all forms is everywhere in today"s society, and with this idea, it is clear just how important it is. Whether it is studied in the classroom, read for pleasure or purpose, literature is a central part of many lives. It offers not only a chance to enlighten a person, but it also gives the chance to broaden one"s horizons and perspectives. In my case, having the opportunity to study literature in two different languages has helped me to find similarities in two different cultures, and to also find that although literature varies in form and content, it is important and it is a central part of many lives." "Stephanie Conroy
"Reading and writing, the basic principles involved in the study of English, serve as the gateway to a deeper level of thought. After mastering these elementary skills, comprehension, analysis, and interpretation are learned and used to better educate ones self. Studying literature and observing personal reactions to the literature can make one more aware of his or her own values. English skills are helpful in every area of life. Reading, writing, comprehension, analysis, and interpretation increase efficiency in multiple ways including communication, documentation in other areas of study, and reflection of personal values. I believe there is no area of study that English and communication skills do not influence." "Maria Freund
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