Student Take Over - Day Twelve and Thirteen Online

A slippery task for unsure students.

There's been enough of me talking in class. Thankfully, last Thursday and this Tuesday, that changed completely. I hardly spoke at all!

Each student had about ten minutes to share a story for the class to read and then ask questions about interesting use of language that would help reveal deeper meaning in the text. As they began this activity, everyone was a little on edge and unsure, but they soon realised that they had the answers and I wasn't setting them up to fall.

That initial session brought up interesting ideas, which included:

  • Why is this the father's reaction in Oysters by Anton Chekhov? 
  • What is it like to want to laugh alone like the officer in Give It Up by Franz Kafka? 
  • Why is this behaviour shown at the end of Borrowing a Match by Stephen Leacock? 
  • How is the mood of New York connected to the narrator in The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath? 
  • Since we're not from a Western culture, how can we know who 'Nicholas' is in Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman?

It was impressive to see how students approached the task, some by revealing the questions before reading, some by asking more about little details and others by opening more for general reactions to the tone of the pieces.

This continued with students on Tuesday asking:

  • Why is this mood created in Likable by Deb Olin Un? 
  • How can we assess the use of POV in this version of Salubrities Abroad from Punch Magazine? 
  • What does The Zebra Storyteller by Spencer Holst imply about the function of us as writers? 
  • What is plan A in the story Plan B by Nicolas Julian?

These sessions of sharing stories and leading discussions is intended to build up the students' abilities and confidence in sharing with each other about literary intentions. In just a couple of weeks, they will be doing something similar as they critique each other's final story drafts. 

For now, the students are on holiday until next Thursday. In South Korea, we just happen to have a couple of holidays in a row (Buddha's birthday and Children's day) to make it a longer break. Yesterday they all submitted their proposals, so it's time for them to relax and approach the first draft of their final piece.