Tip 34: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

wheeled-handcartOne of the things that makes teaching easier and more interesting these days is the preponderance of information on the net.

When I began to teach Early British Literature, with no sample syllabus and few remaining notes from most of my own courses (except the Old English classes), I surfed the net looking for the beached treasures that I could take advantage of. I found many.

In no particular order:

Intro to Neoclassical Literature

Dryden introduction

Questions on Everyman. Dr. Wheeler has many good ideas and I have mined these assiduously. They often come out in another form in my class, but they are very useful.

Paradise Lost essay ?s sources
2. Cliff Notes
3, 5 ParadiseLost.org
7-15 Universal Teacher
I go find a bunch of essay questions and then I mix them up so that I don’t have the same topics I am reading every semester. These are some of the sources for the essay questions on Paradise Lost.

My lecture on Paradise Lost was assembled mostly from web sources. The ones I used are:
Johnstoi’s English 200
ParadiseLost.org
Dr. Drake’s work on Toliver’s structural analysis of the poem
Universal Teacher’s structural analysis.

Gulliver’s Travels
St. John’s discussion questions
Russell McNeil’s draft of a lecture on Laputa
Encarta’s introduction to satire, which I really stressed the first few years and now just gloss over
history of the novel, which I do not use now, but did help me organize my own thoughts on this topic
Read, Write, Think’s historical references in book I

wheel-red-on-white-wallI have plenty to offer my classes that are novel and unique. But part of the reason I am able to have that is I don’t try to do everything myself. Sometimes there is a better mousetrap. Sometimes we are just trying to reinvent the wheel.

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