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Friday, March 23, 2007

15 Minutes of Jane Eyre a Day?

Lately there has been an outpouring of books and articles against homework. Critics call homework a form of child abuse and say that it prevents children from engaging in wholesome activities. Government surveys say that most students spend an hour a day or less on homework. Yet the campaign against homework never seems to abate.

When do students have time to read a book other than when it is assigned as homework? There is no time in school to read a book. A recent news article about the case against homework cited a high school teacher who said that she would tell her students to read no more than 15 minutes a day in their assigned novel (Jane Eyre). How stupid is that? How can anyone, young or old, get engaged in a novel if he or she spends no more than 15 minutes a day reading? At that pace, it seems like this class will be reading the same novel all year, if they manage to finish it at all.

I wonder what happens if you get caught up in the book and read for 16 minutes. Perhaps I should not be suggesting such things. I wouldn't want to cause headaches, or facial hair- as the 18th century experts would have it (women were said to grow facial hair and develop poor eyesight and cross expressions from reading books). I first read Jane Eyre in less than 24 hours, and you can see what happened.


rinabeana said...

I always found time to read books outside of assigned reading when I was in school (not so much in college, but before that). Don't these so-called homework critics know that kids will just use their extra time to play video games anyway?

Anonymous said...

I am coursing my last school year, and we are supposed to read one chapter of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" for each English class (second language).

How many English classes a week? only 2.
How many pages a chapter? Less than 10.

And it's so true, horrible as it is: the majority does not care to read them. In general means, with no forced-reading there would be no reading at all.
...living without reading? :(

Anonymous said...

Reading is a passion that can be both shared, passed on, caught . . .

I have loved to read my whole life (Jane Eyre being an "assigned book" in high school - that I grew to love, and have re-read so many times it is astonishing)

I have shared my love of certain books with my daughters, some by reading to/with them - some by just watching movies and saying "you have to read the book though - there is so much more, it is so much better"

I am glad both proud and grateful that my girls have come to love and appreciate many of the same books I do - Jane among them.

I have several sons who I can get to watch the movie - - -


I am in favor of MORE homework. It is all that may get sons to read Jane Eyre! At least all mine know the story!


Brontëana said...

to rinabeana:

Indeed... I went to St.Mary's to collect a book for my thesis and ended up also buying Richardson's Pamela, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and Cardinal Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

And I am not counting the Beowulf, and the Goethe I also picked up last month. Hem.

Brontëana said...

to josefina:

It is good to hear from you again! I remember you shared your thoughts on another post about education. It seems that the situation has not improved since then.

Thankfully my own students love to read- or at least they finish the readings when asked to.

Brontëana said...

to law:

I was very surprised to hear that homework is considered controversial these days- a from of child abuse? How else is the child to learn? From my own experience, I would guess that children would probably end up spending their 'extra' free time not socialising with their friends or their family, but on the internet or watching television.

It is good to know you are doing your part :)

Uncle Mario said...

I confessed! I gave in and purchased the PBS DVD version of Jane Eyre at my local Barnes and Noble! I took adavantage of using B&N member card.

And yes, I read Jane Eyre at my Boy Scout Troop's campout last October (something I would have done 25 years as a young Scout).