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Classics in Grade School

Everyone in grade school has been required to read the "classics" such as Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Orwell, and many more. But just how relevant are these authors today? For example, should middle schoolers be required to read "A Midsummer’s Night Dream," is it relevant, interesting, or digestible for that age group? What are the pros and cons of teaching the classics? With so many new authors out there, specifically young-adult authors, what is the point/purpose of returning to the classics year after year?

Make a solid stance– should teachers require their students to read the classics in grade school? Why or why not? Give specific examples of what makes the story(ies) relevant and interesting to school-aged kids. Give specific examples of what negatives could come from teaching the classics to school-aged kids.

Fully flush out this topic and get to the bottom of whether this is something teachers should still be doing.

  • I agree with T. Palomino's observation about school structure - perhaps a clearer look of the age groups of said students being taught the work (as 'grade school' and 'middle school' are not universal concepts), with the idea of analysing why these "classics" are taught as foundational at particular ages. Also, the core theme you seem to be bringing up is a question of what *constitutes* a "classic", and why they are considered key texts in educational courses. That may be a stronger point of analysis, and would naturally lead to considerations of why they're required in schools. – seriouscourt 2 months ago
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  • I was revising our archives and found the article “The Importance of Learning the Classics” by Ben Woollard, posted on July 4, 2017. Two things are addressed in there: 1) the need to define first what we mean by “classic” in literature (and how it is different from “canon”); and 2) why reading and learning from them is important for both readers and writers. The answer to this last question pretty much follows intuition and is very logical. Now, to go against this logic or reasoning requires at least a hypothesis, which this topic proposal, unfortunately, does not provide. It also goes without saying that the topic has already been analyzed here in The Artifice. – T. Palomino 2 months ago
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