As I am going through high school, I have become increasingly appalled at how literature/english classes are taught.

Creativity is no longer a factor - I think that teachers are trying to kill it, inadvertantly, perhaps, but killing it none-the-less. Grading is not based on how beautifully something is written, rather, how is compares to some arbitrary scale.

I, myself, have been part of the "enriched" program at my high school, which I suppose is some sort of program planned to "enrich" students into the pseudointellectual elite. The classes I have been have been depressing, to say the least.

What seems to be the popular teaching method in these classes is teaching via a "process". It happens likes so: Students are given a sheet with all the expectations for the writing assignment; the sheet has a list of exact steps to get a good grade; anything that strays from the normal/expected paper is failed. It's an awful system; no longer is creativity a choice, rather, students are taught to follow directions to the letter, never thinking for themselves. Any essays that are not written in the almighty five paragraph style are graded poorly, content matters only in the use of large words that makes the writer seem smarter than they really are.

I tried an experiment once: I crafted a paper that used the most convoluted sentences possible, using large archaic words. I got an A+, despite the fact that the paper was, indeed, bullshit.

I have had, I think, one teacher that actually grade things as they should be graded - the rest - well, they are all having love affairs with "rubrics."

Creativity, I realize, cannot be taught, but it can be nurtured. And at the very least - unimpeded. I am of the belief that the best way to teach someone how to write well is to allow them to read great literature; great writing is something that can be created with some cheap algorithm.

The educational system has yet to figure this out.

Update, March 2003: I certainly didn't care for high school, but this node makes me cringe.

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