In school, we teachers often encourage our students to be “committed” to the particular goals of a class or an assignment, but it might also be useful to remind the students that un-commitment, or detachment, can be just as essential. To use an analogy, if a sports team is unswerving in using a specific strategy during a game, they might not notice when changed conditions in the game create the need for new strategies. They might be so focused on using their plan that they fail to make modifications in order to better break apart the opponent’s defense. Their complete commitment might actually be their downfall. The same thing can happen to students. A young writer might be so focused on following her preplanned framework for an essay that she fails to notice, as she’s writing, a wonderful new direction she could take. Similarly, a student might be so devoted to finding out “what happens” in a novel that he misses much of the magnificence of the writing. It might be helpful if we teachers encouraged our students to practice the art of detachment – the art, I might say, of going after goals but not being held back by them. If they get the ‘A’ they have set their sights on, fine, but if they don’t, they must be able to detach themselves – free themselves – from that goal and notice the useful results that came from the ‘B’. If they commit themselves to travel certain roads, fine, but they must foster in themselves the freedom to take different roads if the conditions call for it. There may be some golden coins at the end of one road, but there may be a true treasure at the end of another.
Monday, March 12, 2012
DETACHMENT IN ENGLISH CLASS
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