This forum essay explores a collaboration between a teacher and a book. Combining autobiography with teaching notes about a variety of colleges (the writer held adjunct appointments in six colleges in fifteen years before joining the Keene State College faculty), the article claims Scholes, Comley, and Ulmer successfully show how to teach college students difficult texts and critical thinking through imitating language and forms drawn from wide-ranging models. In so doing, students realize how ideas circulate between popular and high culture, and how literary texts inform one another. Though some deem writing by Erving Goffman, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Derrida, however important for understanding current critical debates, too difficult for entering students, let alone their instructors, Dizard says Text Book “teaches well.” Quoting from student papers for proof, Dizard shows that advanced as well as uncertain students can and will master difficult material, provided the teacher is willing—-and brave enough—to learn anew.
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Robin Dizard; Stranger than Friction: Learning and Teaching Literary Studies Using Text Book. Pedagogy 1 April 2010; 10 (2): 407–424. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2009-045
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