Friday, February 29, 2008

The Six Senses in English Class

English class contains such a large amount of right-brain aspects that it is mind-boggling. Every time someone creates a piece of writing, this constitutes design. It must not only be neat and easy to read, but the words must connect and flow in a way that is pleasing to the senses. In other words, it must look and sound enticing. Good writing is always well-designed in order to look appealing on the page and engage people in reading it.
Story is an enormous part of English. In most every English class I have ever taken, novels have played a part. Because they’re obviously in story format, they are easier to remember. In fact, I can describe most novels I have read throughout middle school and high school. Teaching us how to read, understand, and examine various works of literature is one of the primary aims of English.
In English, play is not neglected. In seventh grade, while learning about poetry and other writings from Medieval times, we constructed miniature models of castles, since castles were an integral part of this era. I chose to build mine with sugar cubes. We were allowed to work in groups, and my group and I had a fabulous time building this castle (and eating a few sugar cubes along the way). Also, in most English classes I have taken, the teachers try to make the subject matter enjoyable even when it’s somewhat dry (vocabulary, grammar, Shakespeare, etc.). This helps liven it up. English is a deeply interesting subject to me, but as with all classes, it becomes even more interesting when the teacher incorporates play, makes jokes, and generally tries to inject some fun into the learning.
In some works of literature, empathy helps the reader because of sad situations or problems that the characters may have. Feeling empathy, even for characters in books, greatly helps in “getting into” the book more and understanding it.
There are amazing amounts of meaning in books; that is, if one digs for it and consciously tries to find it. It is impossible to get anything out of a book if one simply reads it. At that point, one is just reading words. When you look for meaning in seemingly meaningless parts of a book, you will be surprised at what you find. Sometimes your way of thinking is changed just by looking for meaning in books. Meaning in literature can open your eyes---if you only stop to look for it.
English is essentially a symphony without music. In writing, separate ideas come together to form one big idea or argument. When examined, all elements in a good piece of writing should connect. Most writing is about one large idea, with smaller ideas that connect to it to support it. Symphony can also be found in literature in the same way. There is one main problem or idea in the book, and the events are all related to this problem or idea. For example, in Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, the basic idea is that right-brainers and their qualities are becoming more prevalent in this new Conceptual Age that we are entering. Abundance, Asia, and automation are three pieces of evidence that support this. Design, story, play, meaning, empathy, and symphony are six traits that people who want to excel in this new world and develop “a whole new mind” must master. Any way you slice it, this is all evidence and ideas that support the idea of emerging right-brainers. Everything presented in this book connects in some way.

As with every other subject, AWNM has altered the way I perceive my learning. When thinking about learning in a different way, it enriches the entire learning experience, and English class is no exception.

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