Teaching the Classics

by Angela B
(Virginia, USA)

Teaching the Classics
For all grade levels

Teaching the Classics is a program for teaching literature to any age and grade. It is written to be used with any book, so there's no answer key and the teacher has to read the book that's being studied.

TTC uses the Socratic method of teaching literature -- i.e. asking questions. This is a blurb from the website: "A syllabus notebook accompanying the course contains everything a teacher needs to conduct powerful literary discussions, including our exclusive Socratic List, a set of 178 graded discussion questions applicable to any book on your reading list."

The questions are in groups, and the questions in each group get progressively harder, so you would only use the first few questions in a group with young kids, but with older, experienced students, you'd use the harder questions that require a lot of thinking.

The TTC Syllabus is essential, but the DVD set is optional. The DVD set is aimed at the teacher, in order to teach her how to teach literature. If you feel you need more help after watching the DVD and trying to use the syllabus, there are a few book-specific guides that can be purchased and downloaded.

The author also offers literature classes on DVD for three classic books. In the syllabus and DVD, various books/stories are used to teach different literary elements. It uses The Tale of Peter Rabbit to teach plot and conflict, and then it has a little extra info about plot and conflict for The Iliad, Macbeth, and Great Expectations. Other literary elements are taught using other books. But that info is for the teacher as models "for teaching the skills of literary analysis and interpretation" to their students.

TTC has a free guide for The Bronze Bow. It has some of the questions from the Socratic list, so it'll give you an idea of the types of questions that are in the list. It'll also help you decide whether that's a method you want to try for teaching literature.

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