How Your Writing Might be Changing Lives
I’m a teacher who uses Medium as a course-writing tool when designing content for my Chinese students.. Don’t worry, I have good reasons – and a point.
I live and work in Shanghai, and I begin all of my classes with a frank and open conversation about how everyones weeks have gone and anything new that’s taken place since last we saw each other. In Australia, spending ten minutes this way might be frowned upon by parents, but here in China, having their kids speak with a native English speaker in a natural conversational setting is half of what they’re paying for, regardless of what I’m meant to be teaching.
I got a job in Shanghai as a drama teacher, but have expanded into other areas over the years. Most recently I’ve been teaching a lit theory class, and it’s been an enormous amount of fun.
Marxism and More
For most people, just reading the words ‘lit theory’ made their eyes glaze over, but I’m that freaky individual who loves the theories behind why words and writers are the way they are. (I also love music theory, no-matter how skull-crushing it can be).
The kids and I have spent hundreds of hours over the past few years pouring over feminism, marxism, auteur theory, and lots more. We start working on a theory in a very light capacity, then move deeper at whatever pace they can handle.
Auteur theory began with ‘death of the author’ and a simple question, “does J.K Rowling have any more right than me to add after-the-fact details to Harry Potter?” That question alone inspired hours of debate and discussion, leading to the big one, “Is Harry Potter ruined because JK outed herself as a biggot?”. It’s amazing the lessons you can learn organically when discussing issues the kids actually care about in an open and honest way. My English teacher in school completely turned me off feminism with her long dry speeches about Joan of Ark and the monarchy. Getting kids hooked on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ will teach feminism, racism, and so so much more.
I think student-led conversation and project-based learning is the absolute most ideal way to learn, and I’ve witnessed the kids achieve a lot more in this area than I had…