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Teaching Literature at Ridgeview

Russell Weaver

This collection of essays demonstrates that using fiction, poetry, and drama in the classroom provides students with the best opportunity to learn about thinking, writing, and life at their deepest levels. Several of the contributors have worked or studied at Ridgeview Classical School in Fort Collins, Colorado. E. D. Hirsch, in The Making of Americans, has said of this school that its success «stands as a sharp rebuke to the anti-intellectual pedagogy of most American schools». Within this volume, readers will also encounter essays by teachers who have not worked at Ridgeview but utilize the same approach to teaching, illustrating that these methods can be used with students at all levels of education, from rural schools to major universities. Included in the appendices are course descriptions, syllabi, and study questions to provide examples of how these teaching concepts can be applied in the classroom. Ultimately, these authors provide readers with new insight, in this era of supposed practicality, by illuminating literature as a down-to-earth vehicle whereby students can learn to read, write, think, and feel in ways that empower them both as learners and as human beings.
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R-Evolution of a High School Classics Teacher



In my classroom, one of the most important components of my teaching strategy is the use of study questions. I use them in all of my classes; History, Literature, Latin and Greek, and I have seen them used successfully in the Sciences as well. In this essay I’ll explain my personal connection to this method, give some suggestions on development and implementation, and also share my opinions on how it benefits both teacher and student as a tool to focus and engage participation and discussion.

I’m a high school Classics teacher. I love the stack of books on my desk that I use with students on a daily basis: Thucydides, Herodotus, Homer, Vergil, Livy, and Horace. I get to read the Iliad every year, teach the Aeneid in Latin, and every year I get choked up over the deaths of Socrates and Priam. I believe the ancient books are formative and I have seen them be transformative. I enjoyed majoring in the Classics and when I became a teacher I wanted to recreate my own meaningful experience for my students; but in reality, it took me a long time to figure out how to actually do that.

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