On Sunday, Day #69, I posted a chart titled “Why boys don’t like English.” The chart illustrated the results of a survey taken by curriculum designer Grant Wiggins.
I shared that chart this morning with my Advanced Placement English Literature students, and they corroborated the findings.
Boys hate English. Science was better than math. Health class was hilarious (“….because we can say penis,” I was told).
“What else does the chart tell you?” I asked
“You have to like the subject,” one said.
“You have to like the teacher,” said another.
“Why?” I asked, “why is liking these things so important?”
“No one wants to sit doing work they don’t like with a teacher they don’t like,” was their collective response.
I sympathize, but I know there will be experiences in their futures far more challenging than the English class that they do not like.
Furthermore, I am confident that students are better prepared to meet life’s challenges because of the lessons of empathy and human experience they learned in English class. They may even grow to appreciate what they learned or turn with new interest to the subject when they get older.
In the comedy Much Ado about Nothing, Shakespeare’s character Benedict says, “A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.”
Might not the converse be true? Could “A boy hates the English in his youth that allows him to endure in his old age”?
I like to think so.