Chris McCurry: Bring it Back 2016

Nov 24th, 2016 | By | Category: Fall 2016

Chris McCurry, continued from “Bringing it Back: BLTN Teachers Reflect on Summer Learning

Each unit, students will read 5-10 different texts related to the unit’s topic. And each text will have a different mode, form, genre, purpose, audience. They will read a book of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction as their anchor texts and then explore the world of essays, film, YouTube videos, TED talks, performance art, etc. for each topic. This design features the highest amount of student choice I’ve ever granted. For 100% of their learning, students will be in charge of the process and product. They will be seeking conversation and collaboration. Each unit has a task that asks them to contribute to their community in some way.

This course could not exist without all my years of Bread Loaf.  In my first year, I took Vengeance with Professor Demarco and expanded my understanding of graphic literacy through Dante’s Inferno, an experience that led me to create five successful Donors’ Choose projects to make graphic literacy a mainstay in our English department. In my second year at Bread Loaf, I took a class with Michael Armstrong. Michael’s work with the imagination taught me that two of the most powerful triggers of the imagination are fear and opportunity. He taught me that imagination is the engine of empathy. These insights led me to rethink not only my classroom management but my pedagogy.

In the third year, I took Doug Jones’ course and I learned about “performance and performativity,” how we build narratives with subconscious actions and words that resonate with place and time, family and peer group. African American Literature is essential to every English Department in the country.

Then,  last year, in Amy Hungerford’s class, I explored the role of gaming in literature as another access point, another lens, another way to recall our humanity. I strongly believe that we can engage more young people in learning if we embrace a pedagogy that provides gaming and games in the instruction. Now, finally, after Disability Studies, in which all these interests can intersect,  I leave Bread Loaf jazzed for this class I’ve designed and put in the world, but more for the students who want to take it. These are students who want to work for and in and about and with their communities, as Bread Loaf has asked me to do. Thank you Bread Loaf. Thank you Bread Loaf Teacher Network.

 

 

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