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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
Should more schools make Tolkien's works mandatory in their curiculum?
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Poll: Should schools make Tolkien's works mandatory in their curiculum?
Yes! A lot more people would appreciate school!
No. It just doesn't fit school literature all too well.
View Results (30 votes)
 

Morok Cloudkeeper
Rohan


Jul 23 2012, 11:54pm

Post #1 of 26 (700 views)
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Should more schools make Tolkien's works mandatory in their curiculum? Can't Post

Being a student myself. I would love that my school would make Tolkien's works obligatory in our classes. Instead of the boring stuff that we always do.


(This post was edited by Morok Cloudkeeper on Jul 23 2012, 11:54pm)


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 24 2012, 12:15am

Post #2 of 26 (285 views)
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I have spent a lot of time on both sides of the desk [In reply to] Can't Post

For several years of my life I have been both a teacher and a student simultaneously. I have even dipped a toe in education research Cool.
However, most of that has not been at the grade level that this is relevant for, I think.

I had a hard time choosing either of the given options and this is why: I really think that an element of choice should be part of the curriculum - at least by a certain age.

So I would choose kind of a combination of the two and say it should be an option on some of the optional reading lists and that having options should be required Tongue.


imin
Valinor


Jul 24 2012, 12:28am

Post #3 of 26 (289 views)
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At my school we read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course i loved that but i know others wished we had read some Jane Austen or something similar. I think it just so happened at my school that, Tolkien's works are read to us. I know the teachers were big fans so i imagine it was because of that.

I think TH could be part of the curriculum as its relatively short and i think most children can cope with it. The LOTR i would give to older children but i think i would also give a choice as to what they read so maybe not on the curriculum for this. Ultimately i dont know, i am not an English teacher, i would of course like everyone to love Tolkien's work but not everyone finds it enjoyable/interesting.


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2012, 6:58am

Post #4 of 26 (265 views)
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Probably not [In reply to] Can't Post

If Tolkien had been mandatory at my school, then I wouldn't have read very many books Wink. The books we did have to read I enjoyed though - except "Great Expectations" by C.Dickens - I hated that one with a passion.

Sure, it would be nice to read Tolkien all the time, but I never really liked my English literature classes - you can analyse a book too much. And that may have ruined Tolkien. I like to discuss his books in detail, but by analysing every word, every theme, every sentence just to understand the political/cultural/social/financial etc situation at the time the book was written really doesn't interest me. Many will disagree of course ...


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2012, 7:02am

Post #5 of 26 (285 views)
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Really?! [In reply to] Can't Post

We would've been in the same year at school - did you do it for GCSE or A-level (or sometime between years 7 and 9)?

I'm going to sound really geeky now - sometime in 2002/2003 I joined the after school English club. My motivation for it was because we got to go on relevant fieldtrips that had something to do with English literature (at one point we went to the Daily Mail newsrooms). I convinced the teacher to takes us all to the Lord of the Rings film exhibition in London! I made up some stuff on how it would be good to see how a film is made, and then compare it to the book. Unfortunately ... the teacher became ill and we didn't go ... I left the club ... Unimpressed


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jul 24 2012, 7:43am

Post #6 of 26 (285 views)
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Agree, the books should be optional choices.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Jul 24 2012, 7:43am)


imin
Valinor


Jul 24 2012, 12:18pm

Post #7 of 26 (255 views)
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Years 8 and 9 [In reply to] Can't Post

So you didn't miss out or anything, lol. It was pretty much just another book to read for most people but by that point in time i had already read both of the books and enjoyed them so i of course totally loved those classes.

Normally i didn't like English classes i just felt they were a bit pointless (i know they are not its how i felt at the time!) These classes though i really got into, whereas i would most likely just sit quiet for nearly all the rest of the year!

That's awesome you convinced your teacher to make a field trip to the LOTR film exhibition. Shame you didnt get to go, did you ever make it round to going?

Oh and i think i was in the year above you at school as im a little older i think (24)


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2012, 2:09pm

Post #8 of 26 (256 views)
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Yes, I went before I suggested it, and hope I could go again [In reply to] Can't Post

But the trip for the club got cancelled Unsure Nevermind, here's hoping for a Hobbit exhibition!

Ahh yes, you would've been in the year above me Smile


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 24 2012, 6:00pm

Post #9 of 26 (246 views)
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My teacher started reading The Hobbit to us in 2nd grade... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and I loved the first chapter so much I swiped my father's paperback copy as soon as I got home from school that day so I could read ahead. The following year it was his LotR books I was borrowing.

So it wasn't standard to any curriculum but everyone in my class loved it, as I recall.

I'm not sure what I think of it as an assignment, though - analyzing literature turns some people off that particular author and I'd hate for that to happen with anyone for Tolkien.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Jul 24 2012, 7:18pm

Post #10 of 26 (275 views)
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I said 'no', but not because it doesn't fit. [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't want some of my favorite literature to be mandatory, because of what happened when my daughter read "To Kill a Mockingbird" in high school. The teacher put questions on the test like "What flavor of chewing gum did the kids find in the tree?" It made the experience so tedious that my daughter hasn't been able to read the book with pleasure to this day (she's a voracious reader whose favorite author is Jane Austen, so I know she'd be able to get through it with no problem.) It's one of my very favorite books, and it makes me sad how that teacher ruined it for her. It's been ten years and she still doesn't feel like picking it up. I'd hate to have that happen to some kid with LotR.

I read LotR every year in junior high and high school, and wrote a book report on it more than once for English class. I suppose that was cheating a bit, but I did re-read it and write a new book report each time. So it counted for school, but it was my choice to read it.

I think teachers can suggest great books; my seventh-grade teacher suggested I read "A Wrinkle in Time" when she found out I liked math. But requiring them and making them tedious is a crime.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Jul 24 2012, 7:20pm

Post #11 of 26 (239 views)
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I hated "Great Expectations" too [In reply to] Can't Post

and so did my kids :-D


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2012, 7:34pm

Post #12 of 26 (248 views)
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Glad to hear it! [In reply to] Can't Post

I actually enjoy the TV versions and films (especially the 1946 version). I think they are done brilliantly.

Like you said above, however, it (literature lesssons) become so tedious that you can't appreciate the bookt. I've not tried re-reading it simply because I didn't enjoy it the first time round. I'm happy to watch the films Wink


sevilodorf
Gondor


Jul 24 2012, 11:49pm

Post #13 of 26 (247 views)
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Making a book mandatory [In reply to] Can't Post

automatically makes it something undesirable to some readers. Serious mindset issue.... offering it as part of a reading list is on a different level.

now if the course were specifically about LOTR or a particular genre and you sign up for that course you know what you're getting into and do not have the right to whine ..."they made me read it."


As for using Tolkien at the elementary or high school level... I'm afraid No Child Left Behind and high stakes testing has pretty well gutted the use of literature in public schools.


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 25 2012, 12:18am

Post #14 of 26 (227 views)
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get middle earth questions on one of the standardized tests then [In reply to] Can't Post

Tongue

You may laugh - but my brother mentioned that certain popular board games showed up on his ACT test - I'd hate to reveal too many details lest I compromise the test ...

Anyway - I'm not sure how one would do that or if it would have a chance of happening - but if it did ...


sevilodorf
Gondor


Jul 26 2012, 2:55pm

Post #15 of 26 (209 views)
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copyright [In reply to] Can't Post

They don't put passages from "real" works of literature on most tests. The test makers have their "minion" writers create passages.


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 26 2012, 3:12pm

Post #16 of 26 (223 views)
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Foiled! [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess someone will have to think up a different ebil plan then ... Crazy


(This post was edited by Escapist on Jul 26 2012, 3:17pm)


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


Jul 26 2012, 8:46pm

Post #17 of 26 (330 views)
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I actually think most students hate school literature just because... [In reply to] Can't Post

And I wouldn't risk turning Lord of the Rings into "something I had to read in middle school... they tested us on it, I can't remember a thing."
I arrived the long way to Tolkien. I began with historical novel first, then continued with school requirements involving epic sagas, Arthurian cycle, and Norse myth. Only then, in what I perceive as a sequence, my teacher, seeing I enjoyed Medieval literature, recommended Lord of the Rings to me. It took me 3 tries, the third after reading The Hobbit... and only out of conviction. In my opinion, the community, the mystique and fandom would suffer much from such a move.


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Jul 29 2012, 5:53am

Post #18 of 26 (181 views)
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Not completely 'gutted' [In reply to] Can't Post

My daughter read The Hobbit in elementary school over a year ago. For that matter, she and my son have also read Tom Sawyer and some Shakespeare poems along with all the other elementary-level stuff - and we're a Title I school! Granted, NCLB makes it harder for schools to prioritize the good stuff, but it can be done.


batik
Tol Eressea


Jul 29 2012, 6:38pm

Post #19 of 26 (184 views)
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no vote cast! [In reply to] Can't Post

Pretty much on the fence with this one. My Tolkien experience came well after my school days though the thought did run through my mind ...why did I not read this in school?
Tolkien's works must not have been on the required reading list--I was a "good" student and read all the required stuff (Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, for sure). My recollection of Jane Erye for the longest was the test question concerning the color of Jane's eyes --Crazy
After re-reading those two, I found I liked both much more than during my school reading of and maybe that is due to (a) age/experience and (b) have to/want to factors.
So..I dunno.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jul 29 2012, 10:27pm

Post #20 of 26 (181 views)
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Yes. At least The Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

It's been several years since I helped my kids and g'kiddies with schoolwork, but I know that they've all read The Hobbit between the age of 9 and 13 and enjoyed it very much. For them to understand the author and study his work(s) would benefit students greatly, imho.


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 30 2012, 12:04am

Post #21 of 26 (183 views)
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I voted no for the same reason as Auntie. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


sevilodorf
Gondor


Jul 30 2012, 3:31pm

Post #22 of 26 (212 views)
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It truly depends on your district [In reply to] Can't Post

Mine has taken on the motto "fidelity to the core" meaning when they (any one of the four different departments) wander through your classroom with their clipboards, you are ONLY to be using the sanctioned textbooks during the scheduled instructional time. Plus a set pacing calendar that basically says you are to be on page x by day y and giving test z on day q.

Some of the material in the core texts is excellent children's literature. However one of my biggest issues with it is that it's often CHAPTERS from the middle of books. Constantly walking in on a story in progress is difficult and a little unfulfilling as there is not always a true resolution. (Yes, I hear the folks saying that it encourages students to find the whole book.... would be fantastic if the whole book were available...but many factors make that nearly impossible. I've done what I can finding the whole book for my classroom library but it's not always possible.)

Being a rebel and an old stick in the mud who still remembers the read alouds from my long ago school days, I carve 10 to 15 minutes out of the day for a class read aloud. And, (wonders of wonders) it's those books that former students remember and remark upon when they stop by -- I've been at the same school for 25 years so am now on second generation students so I see a lot of former students.-

Anyway climbing off my soapbox ....


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Aug 2 2012, 6:12pm

Post #23 of 26 (223 views)
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Wow, that's harsh - hang in there, sevilodorf// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Misto
Lorien

Aug 14 2012, 1:44pm

Post #24 of 26 (141 views)
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Doesn't sound like a very great idea to me [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I guess you wouldn't be doing your cause a favour. Tolkien's work is pretty massive in terms of volume per book (save for the Hobbit) and let's face it: not everybody likes it. Also, speaking from own experience, I disliked a lot of books we discussed in school because of the way be (over-discussed) them. It took years before I touched some of them again and realised that, after all, most of them aren't half as bad if you leave the school component out.


Gwytha
Rohan


Aug 16 2012, 4:11am

Post #25 of 26 (158 views)
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No but not because it wouldn't fit [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to join the multitudes in not wanting to spoil it by making it mandatory. And I hate the idea that everyone would be encountering Tolkien's works at the same age. I've read a lot of the different descriptions in people's profiles of their first Tolkien reading experience and often they are very meaningful. And I especially think of that story of the soldier who was wounded in Iraq. He was given a copy of LOTR by his doctor in the hospital and how much it meant to him and how LOTR really helped him through a painful and traumatic time. I'd like everyone to read Tolkien when the time is right for them, not when someone tells them they have to.


That said, I really enjoyed many of the books I was required to read in school. But for me"I have to read a book?" is kind of like "Please don't throw me in the briar patch." For many other people that would just kill any enjoyment they might get from choosing what to read for themselves.

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