Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference

Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

June 19 - June 22, 2013

Thursday, June 20 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
[Welcome to my Class]: Welcome to ENGL 2301, Literary Periods, 1800-Present: 'Nature' in Four Times

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Robert Lapp (Mount Allison University)

This session will welcome participants to the first day of a second-year class in literary history. Students still expect first day to be “syllabus” day---when you get a course syllabus and a set of assignments and are sent away to buy your textbooks. But I think of the first class as a way of setting the tone for the rest of the term: like the overture to a musical, it should be an captivating sampler of all that’s to come. So after briefly pointing where the information we’ll need for the course is posted online, I launch into an interactive presentation of four short works that illustrate the different ways “Nature” is imagined in British culture from 1800 to the present. Using performance as a technique to capture attention, I begin by reciting a Romantic-era poem by Wordsworth, then hand out a hard copy (along with the other short works for the day) on pages with space for notes. Then we engage in a quick “review”-discussion about how we go about “reading” a poem for its elements of both theme and style. Then I perform a Victorian poem by Tennyson, after which we “pair’n’share” to develop more perspectives on our handouts, and so on through some lines from T. S. Eliot’s Modernist Waste Land to a video clip of Monty Python’s postmodern “Parrot sketch.” In less than 50 minutes, we’ll have experienced a vivid glimpse of four different literary periods, and of how “Nature” is a surprisingly relative concept!


Thursday June 20, 2013 11:00am - 12:00pm

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