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tv   Book Discussion on Lit Up  CSPAN  August 12, 2016 12:21am-1:15am EDT

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space in his heart for a customer credit performs sunday that emphasis should focus on the vibrant middle class? education in the middle-class is the solution? speemac you need people if you are desperate to you have a lot of choices perco if there is no knowledge of the during the deliberately then you can take quite you are given perco for women or for businesses but since you brought this up but it's interesting case right now
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i went to iran to see about the everyone deal . there was thethere wa implementation that they certify that they met their that obligation and the sanctionse should be lifted and i was there talking to people who are very excited about change i met a young woman not bigger than this release, in a couple of push button phones. and a very energetic in english speaking she is thatthat exc excited. what she thinks the market will go through the roof so there are a lot of people like her there will
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be tourists, end banking and ebay in all the things they have. but did you have the regime which doesn't want to see things change to have perished eric l. without class most. is thatpolia possible? half the time you say it is not possible. then there is possible -- some of the time the people say now.n m into wins? i have no idea. fascinating into physical a types of attention speemac
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just a comment. you said education isn't economic opportunities was the announcer in the to create a democracy your only living head when dash into mouth you don't call lot of choice>> a speemac that is the message of bernie souders . n [laughter] n select add a half to deal with any domestic politics. i am not going there. speemac i want to ask you a question about the future of islam. had if you believe me i don't think
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, i think it's a losing strategy, which is unpopular, it is like a virus, a virus within islam. so then you have a cold sore akio eat in yourwill broken-down thing you don't eat spirit because it could be contagious . n [laughter] n but that is so low like a success that has manifested itself to become contagious and i think eventually the body will become stronger. sova said there recess nt
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hit the far razzle all. and is it and by competing interests to allow the space. men is necessary to
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bring up cold sores in lowe's the crybabies alas think so flawed but i can tell you always have the european history bruce is what we actually see with his love of god. have you have lebanon, syria where at the end, we don't end up the place with a dictator
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could be thinking of the state system in a round the world for a long time. en he is relatively new to thee ottoma police. with the caliphate we're more like the roman empire. we are large. and the modern state system with the flagship and borders is just carved. so the reason is the relatively new. id for the region i think that
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is why if you look at the big system, you have thedates mandates, a few decades of mandates, a veteran after the european countries, they had to commit suicide again with the world war ii. the united states was in for a few more decades. then they decided that we would destroy that system. . .
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with that, you can chew on that on your drive home. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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we will defend american jobs and workers by saying no to bad trade deals like the transpacific partnership and unfair trade practices. >> they lost one third of their manufacturing jobs since they put china into the wto. >> they look at the 1994 free-trade agreement in mexico and canada. >> this is in the cause for more people come in more expert, more
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markets and more democracy for our allies. >> a discussion of the founding fathers viewed free trade. >> united states simply wasn't a free-trade nation for most of history that u.s. is in fact this goes back to the constitution. spirit and an examination of the world trade organization that enforces global trade rules. >> at the time it was being negotiated for its sister 800 more pages in the rules and regulations nothing is inevitable here and when they were being negotiated the u.s. had its official advisers 500 corporate advertisers. >> watch the spotlight on trade deals saturday at 8 p.m. on c-span and c-span.org.
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now new yorker staff writer on the literary culture in schools. this is about 40 minutes. >> good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to barnes and noble. tonight i have the distinct pleasure of introducing david, the author of great books and an acclaimed account of returning to college and reading during the curriculum more. he is a staff writer and film critic for the new yorker andit his reviews and essays have appeared in the new york magazine among others.
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he brings us today his new book letup, one reporter, three schools, 24 books that can change lives.school can today's teenagers be turned on to serious reading and what teachers can do it and what the bucs, one of the schools we are fundraising for them tonight.thm in the register a portion willea be donated. david writes in his nuanced account of the great books costing three very different schools, he is proving that the teachers have always known that talked with passion and commitment, literature old and new can inspire every student. this is against the knee-jerkes decline of reading among young people. so without further ado please join me in welcoming david.
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[applause] >> thank you so much. while some. glad to see you on a friday night. i set out five years ago to answer a particular question that seemed enormous question. that could turn 15-year-olds on to reading seriously, serious literature, serious magazines when so much of their time is absorbed in this. t it seems the right time in their
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lives when their brains were still malleable and up in the air when they were making choices what kind of jobs do they want to get and what kind f work do they want to do. and i wonder how much are they reading? the book as you may have heard is doing okay.the book thank god for this house in which we manage to survive asan writers and readers as well as online. but the statistical evidence from the research and common sense media would suggest they were not reading many books. we are in the middle of an enormous transformation in the way that we consume print and in
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the way that we relate to one another it is so pervasive and enveloping that we can't evenno grab a hold of it. my own magazine has been going through convulsions the last 15s years or so. the new yorker as a hard copy as you know is a kind of artifice. it's very carefully written and in some degrees sometimes in the editing phase it is laid outut very carefully and suddenly we are in the middle of this storm of journalism coming from every single angle. they've done a lot of work on how we relate to technology and she thought the internet was a reflection of our spirituality.
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she jumped the fence in the lase two books alone together and the recent book reclaiming the conversation. she's a professor at mit and sociology. she's done a lot of work withk h teenagers and discovered increasingly they are avoiding face-to-face confrontation with. there's romantic relationships between teachers and students and ordinary friendships and romantic friendships. and she sees that as an enormous damage to. there is this and that and all this fantastic recognition and everything talked about.
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it happens in the face-to-face encounter. i feel the same way and we've done the dog and pony show where she talks about the potential loss itself and i talked about how how much you grow as a person when you read seriously. it's important to me because ihi have really bad adhd. when i go to the movies i like to sit fairly close. it is a great sensory.
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i remember in 1972 i saw the godfather for the first time and i remember how it felt on the street part of the reason i felt that way i was sitting next to fade on way so that was a sensory arousal, too. but i've always felt that to restore myself in some way apart from just the reflection in the practical way it reading and reading and immersing myself in literature. i'm sure i don't have to argue here. we talk about the centrality to the citizenship i think it would
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not be extravagant to say you are seeing right now the loss of the real understanding of real e character of the person of rhetoric in the kind of political campaigns that we are seeing. if you had read huckleberry finn and noticed the other con men that tested. how we will did develop three-dimensional people those are the large issues. the first time the baby smiles and you turn pages, you all know this.
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they are not going to remember of course that you associate that with the pleasure of reading itself and this is one of the big differences but you also know between upper and middle class poor kids. there isn't a single time a mother has to get food on the table for three or four people and they may not read much themselves. those conversations of emergence in the world and what objects are in the world and what's playing around the house. if you spend some time looking at the lack of that habit of avidity and the nonstopity to
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curiosity.ve if i did believe that i obviously wouldn't have written this and the intervention that could be made in the normal way of teaching. i think it will do some good or change the market than excited about literature itself so i don't have the interest to do this and i'm not an educational researcher, i am a reporter and critic, and i am sick of the education writing and reliance on enumerating everything.
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they don't allow themselves until it's been established statistically. the latest folly in this metric you've seen the race to the top which tied the school assessments to how they scored on the tests that the point which they were in their normal interests and creating three-dimensional human beings and engaged in test preparation of time that the latest folly there is a book coming out by angela from the university of pennsylvania that's getting a lot of attention. what it does is set up the numerical rubrics by which the character can be measured and the rubrics are such things as perseverance which makes perfeca sense.
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but the zest and positiveness. my guess is mel brooks displayed zest but woody allen none whatsoever. i find this absurd. you have to find a way of measuring it and teaching it to. reading literature is about developing character that there had to find some numeric that would alert us to what thehenumi deficiencies are just as the reading and math tests in those areas but without telling us how to overcome the decisions of desperation is tha that continud throughout american education i think because we don't want to face, we cannot face and we will not face the problem which is
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poverty. that's the real problem. i was sick of the pornography of educational failure in this commemorative fallacy. and i want to see something that worked, what kind work. sso i'd done something like this before. the book that was mentioned in which i went back to columbia. they last through the time of the curriculum debate through the children that descended from latin or african descent to be asked to read the westernof classics you remember that. and i went back.
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they wrote it as a middle-aged venture so i had to model for what i would do. so we would listen and read everything and try to shape it for the narrative.he it sounds like an upper west side joke. the copy you to tell you about the school. his name is samuel abrams then at 61st street behind lincolncon center.to then it is a progressive school but not a soft feel good kind of place everybody worked hard. they believe in writing and speaking more than testing.
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the teachers have great freedom to write their own curriculum and choose their own books with agreement from the principal and that way they were able to attract intellectually distinguished teachers and give them free rein. physically it was miserable. it was never intended to be a school. it was cramped and crowded. you couldn't get a jump shot in the gym more than 10 feet without scraping the ceiling which is all proof to sam and me as well that you don't need an' good physical plan for a good school. you need teachers, students, computers and a good library. they've now left. they are at 44th street and a much larger place and i even feel a kind of nostalgia for the kind of closed-end type of soul -- soulfulness.
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anyway, he settled into the class taught by a teacher named sean leon and stayed there the entire year. i think i went to every actual class of english ten d.. sean has an irish mother, navy father. he grew up in louisiana near new orleans. he is a lapsed catholic which i mention only because it was an element in the way he taught the class which is he was in a state of distress himself about his own life. he allowed the students to see that and needed an element in the way they read the books. the reason this was unusual, no shakespeare, mark twain, but the kidthoughthe kids read these bod other classes they read stories by faulkner and hemingway and
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orwell and huxley and the daunting notes from underground, the short narrative that was written at the beginning of the period in the teen 60 and the other famous books that came 1 after it. some of the books were hard and disturbing. the kids were flattered by the difficulty i think of the assignment. i didn't notice anyone buckling under let's put it that way. he offered ways of organizing the classroom but one of the things he did was to use the issues raised by the text.
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i don't mean that it devolved into a confessional sunday afternoon in the church basement or around the campfire at summer camp. it was more rigorous than that it would be a degree of personal involvement and compassion and then it would go back. but it had the effect of questions that he wanted them to answer which was what do you live for, what does matter in your life? what are the relationships tohah your parents and each other and how much time are you spending on screens and even force them into a 48 hour digital fast which most of them failed as i would have. i discovered as we went over the results in class and kids wrote me letters about what happened to them but only three out of 32 students in class actually
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filled the downtime by reading books and a lot of them were seriously upset without their daily contact through the internet or with constant music or the television set constantly on our something electronic constantly on. they were unstrung into these were good students, these were. dedicated students. they did all this stuff and elaborate structural discussions in the book and metaphor symbols and so on. i love hearing them talk about it to play with it and have fun with it. they have the tactical issues
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all play into questions of character and how you present yourself in the way that you are shaping your soul. some of the interestingsome of classroom ways of teaching literacy is the tormented the poems and the kids that wrote their own versions of anonymously.thth i don't know who wrote what does it allow them to vent in extraordinary ways. when we got to the text, the hero was a self hating intellectual who feels superior to the world by means of perceptiveness and insight into what other people find them for. they have their own problem p
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fitting into society and have negative notions of what the grown-up society is going to do for them into the incredible success that they were all placed in the violent opposition to each other for the pleasure of grownups that is the text for this period. when they got the serious text, baseball kind of -- base all the narcissism in that kind of pride and they felt a certain glory which he intended and he had them take the role one stigma at a time in the end to walk it for questioning in this way of life and then they would add each side of the issue and switch. we had a kind of mad musical chairs and this would allow them to speak via the means to step into their own characters.
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i think that's what i was ableib to do. it was to do a dramatic narrative that i showed some of the students. some of the students coming oute of their shell to become themselves a. at the end of the year, i knew that it was this interesting and i couldn't shape it enough. i went to the 11th grade classes because i wanted to see whatat would happen to the group of tenth graders that year after. i visited a teacher that was difficult because it was a book
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written in 185-6200 years earlier and the language is archaic into the issue at the center whose husband is away into the whole town is obsessed with her and they found it hard to understand why that was an important issue. she has a child out of wedlock, so what. the way that she dealt with this was to dramatize the issue directly, that is they read a lot. they handed out scripts and then the students took different persons and sometimes differentd characters. she alternated the atmosphere
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and motive in the theater and after a while, the idiom became more familiar. when she caught a student reading dimmesdale when she caught him reading weekly she said what does that mean do youo know what you did? a few minutes later when the conversation came back she made a lot of excuses and contradicted herself which caused the confusion. the reader had fallen without realizing it and so did the others in the influential voice they read it a few times and then seemed more like it everything he made a comment. ably lowered his voice. the girl spoke a great deal and her words normally a sort of
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refusal to relinquish her child. god gave her into my keeping. i will not give her up. she read it with passion and anger and then her comments became more to the plate and less self-conscious. whatever the students initial. resistance to the novel hole for an cleared away it was a vagueness. as the students went on theyey admitted they were surprised by the power of the fable. she not only got them to embody it as much as possible but to see it as a shaped around certain choices, and character. she kept shifting the classroom and even the room for the character she kept apparatus of the reading constantly in motion so the students can never settle or allow the book to fall away from them. she made the process then this will eventually they would possess the book.
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the key to successful teaching if i can use an example is that if you want the students to give of themselves you have to give up your self. you have to break up the break u classroom routine and sometimes even risk revealing something of yourself. if you're trying to give a lot of them, at the end of the letter classes after many kinds of exercises, she showed up on the last day with a big black big and sat on a table and they wouldn't answer any questions the students had about her lifea i said wasn't it the best time of your life and she didn'ttime answer that. but it was the way they prepared for the exam.
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by another in 11th grade teacher i will mention quickly he was more like a college teacher and i pray that it's never ralph ellison's invisible man. they did a structural reading and discovered the progress of the young black hero the autobiographical novel that by studying its structurally to put together the elements of the novel, they have to put together the elements of their own personality. so it was a combined literary analysis as self-analysis at the same time.i .. ere is no royal road to heaven. it works with this particular audience and the kids particularly well, but there's
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that old question of when you do any kind of writing, does it scale? you describe something that works rather well i that cannote replicated elsewhere? there are comparable schools all over the country. there were aspects of what he does but certainly could be imitated or adapted or used in the same. but i thought where else. i had to get out of new york. i was eager to get out of new york so the next year i went to new haven with another single class and not a good school this time. the principal himself described
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it as a dumping ground. mainly low skilled kids, one of two companies have high schools. a lot of charter schools and comprehensive high schools. they have to take everybody. english-language learners, kids that have been incarcerated in a pushed out of charter schools. it's a good organization and i hope you know that they removedd over performing kids even though you're not supposed to. they remove low performing kids all the time. those kids that were thrown out of the schools and new haven were at this place and the teacher was a local woman into first the kids didn't want to read at all. what was the point is a.
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how about helping get anywhere? she started reading in class out loud and got them to read out loud. and they read to kill a mockingbird. the students are reading about the heroine and also the women that get beaten and to bring an accusation of rape. the study the book and discuss in great detail the physical elements of that life in what waand whatwas the structure of d talent, what was the racial
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relations. what did people eat and how did they get around flex they ask the same questions about their lives. they have sent laura and our grasp that d. zaire for information. and i am talking about income. to grasp the world and make one's way through it they know a lot about their families and neighborhoods and how to be safe in the neighborhood but they don't know whether the social and economic conditions are around everything that's happening to me and the poor neighborhood in new haven. so she was using that to get them to ask questions about their own lives. as the year went on they began to read more. it's it was a very funny and abt
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loud joyous woman of mixed it up and she told me several times that teachers that were polite and try to establish the decorum and shake hands bomb at a school like this. as i said you have to open themselves up. they wanted to perform for her so it was very touching and we read some shakespeare. they read stories by hemingway and began to read with some real pleasure and at the end of the year she had to choose one of four books. the one they liked the best they had to read it and write a report on it. he was a warrior in sierra leone
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in the forces by his own account to kill many people when he was 13, 14 and so on. he was rescued and came to the united states and was adopted by an american woman that wound up at oberlin where he had a good writing teacher and kids were very alive to that kind of stress in everyone's life. both the violence of it. at the end of the year, a miracle happened. it was just a total coincidence. they taught at the university and new haven and they were able to take the kids to see him and
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meet him so they read his book and thought for the first time i think the literature seemed real to them. i want to tell you very briefly about a third school in the high school middle upper-class suburb of the coast of long island sound. largely wealthy kid. they found out that a lot of the kids particularly the boys were simply not doing the reading. they went on the internet and on the scarlett letter sparked notes or some other study guide. or they were wealthy enough to have tutors who took them through the books and they never
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did the meeting and they are bracing their way through papers and so what do they do? instead of the original school g they tried something very different. they allowed them to choose books of their own. they didn't give up on access or robert frost once dickinson at the same time they had to have a time of their ongoing. a book they chose. they could choose from the school library or the classroom library. they could use it from the garbage can. it didn't matter that it wasn't literature. it might be young adults or a sports biography. filed, the point here as i'm sure you can see with grudging readers that get them hooked
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initially by reading stuff that they enjoyed the teachers would do a hollywood session to describe what was in it and sell the book. kids didn't have to read that in particular but they had something going and to keep another book going after that and after that. suppose they are reading the same book over and over again, nothing but horror fiction. they survived because teenage girls kee get it going. they would say that's fine, let me point you towards some books by stephen king who's a pretty
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good writer. some of these early books are well written. let me tell you about this genius of the hair-raising stories or robert louis stevenson. the point was allow them their pleasure and passion and try to take those and elevate them and i have a lot of good stories i think about laddering of exercises that worked as well as the few that didn't. the other part of it is that the school tries to establish a whole culture of reading and they have to post it on the outside of their door with your reading at that moment. so, there is a constant conversation of books and school. but i have been trying to describe is how do you forge those links that create a
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lifetime reader. there are many variations on this, that you have to either appeal to white students need emotionally at that point in their lif life or what gives tha particular kind of pleasure they can't get anywhere else. those are the two things. i think i will stop at this point and thank you all for listening if there are any questions. >> we have a microphone here raise your hand and that they will come to you. >> it seems like a lot of what you are talking about his unusual teaching. how do you separate that out? it sounds like they could do what you're talking about in any subject. >> we have to raise the pay and
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the status and the way that we treat them particularly the union teachers i think it is disgraceful. of course there are mediocre teachers and i'm in favor of the principles having somewhat greater power removed. but to denigrate them in general has been a disaster demoralizing the last ten or 15 years and teachers tenure and so on, while we don't need to talk about finland because it is a small country but i would just say that the teachers are recruited from the top rather than the bottom and they make 115% of the income where in the united states they make 65 to 70% of the income and that is those that go into accounting wil acc,
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engineering and the other professions. it's a recent failure of the common core because developing the common core which may not be a bad idea but it wasn't built into the teacher training so what we did in new york state is increased for testing difficulty with which resulted in many people getting low scores, disgusting parents and teachers and two tied at experiment whether a teacher is good or not seems completely inane. how do you develop a cadre of great teachers is to be invited upgrading their status. >> i loved your book. it was terrific to read about this with all the teaching going on. i have a question, thought.
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the books that are being chosen, it seems so much of the same old like those to kill a mockingbi mockingbird. that teacher david great stuff. i would love to see the kids reading more books in their own century like the pulitzer prize and national book. do you have any thoughts about that? >> to kill a mockingbird is beautifully composed and the landscapes and the different social life and i'm not going to knock to kill a mockingbird. they do enjoy the short wondrous life

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