Monthly Archives: August 2011
With my research assistant Sarah Hertz, I’m developing a rubric for close readings of Shakespeare’s texts, mostly verse, in my English 205 this fall (2011). Close reading is a core skill for English majors, and thus is one of the skills the course focuses on. (The others are slow reading; annotating texts; using evidence; paraphrasing and comparing passages; and the stages of critical writing–from citations to arguments to outlines to editing.)
On Day 1 of a course, after I’ve given students essential information like my office hours and how to pronounce my name, I ask about their prior knowledge of the subject. In my introduction to Shakespeare, for instance, I ask which of his plays they read in high school, which they’ve seen in performance, and if they have a favourite (and why). And I ask what students hope to get out of the course, beyond fulfilling a requirement.