Today I was sitting in a meeting where we were discussing English courses for next year. Let me preface this by saying I really like my department and respect my colleagues, but as I was listening, I made an observation about our course reading list: in our grade nine and ten academic level classes, all of our course texts are fiction. Now I’m sure this is the case in many, many, many English classes, but is it truly reflective of today’s student?

I’ve been thinking greatly about my own reading habits. When I was younger, I really enjoyed reading fiction novels- in fact, I devoured them. I was constantly reading late into the night and sometimes even forgoing my school work in order to finish a book that I just couldn’t put down. But, times have changed for me. I’m still reading as much as ever, but I find that I read non-fiction almost exclusively both in pleasure and professional reading. Does this make me a bad teacher? I don’t think so as I’m still thinking critically, applying what I’ve learned to my life and engaging in critical discussion with peers and family members. If I was a student in my class where we weren’t reading any of the style of texts I’m most into, would I be as successful as my fiction loving classmate?

It just made me think.

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One thought on “To Fiction or To Non-Fiction

  1. I think we’ve done a much better job in elementary of legitimizing non-fiction texts for curriculum. I’d still like to it expanded to other texts, especially visual ones.

    If I was a student in your department, it would be inequitable to present such a blatant imbalance of genres and text forms. Balance, we need more balance.

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