Books read in high school English (while being classics) are usually outdated and unrelatable. Fourteen – eighteen year olds aren’t going to relate to 16th and 17th century England. I’m not saying get rid of all famous literature. But instituting some more modern in class literary analysis would be beneficial. A lot of students turn to sparknotes because of the lack of enthusiasm for ‘another old book’. This, and the chore of having to translate every word from old English.
2. Free reading
Lots of schools have time in English class for students to read a book of his or her choosing. The big problem with this is students who don’t like reading will automatically find the nearest book to use as decoy to look like they’re reading, rather than putting in the time to find a genre that they like. I propose that all teachers spend time helping students research the style of book that most fits them. This will enhance comprehension and enthusiasm. Or at the very least put in a recommended/commonly read list. There’s a type of book for everyone!
3. Single type of essay
In high school classes there is always one type of essay — analysis. Occasionally there are some short stories. But for the most part there is one major style of essay that students write, which is literary analysis. It is a helpful to look further into the book for deeper meaning, but it does not help a student hone their craft of writing in any other way. English classes should institute more assignments where students can write introspective essays, or perhaps even plays. English essays are one-sided and monotonous.
4. Essay grading
Grading is a very statistical and functional way of ranking students performances. But when done wrong, it throws off a whole system. This is most apparent in teacher essay grading. When grading, there should always be a second opinion. All teachers have their biases — especially in a more subjective field like english — and having a student-teacher or second teacher proof-reading the grade will institute a process of checks and balances. Not to mention, averaging grades will result in (a. a more truthful grade, and (b. more commentary and feedback for the writer.