One of the joys of teaching, especially a course like English, is that you get insights into the thinking of students. It is very powerful! Often times it is a look at ourselves, as parents, teachers, and society. The perspective can be enlightening as it is given through “fresh” eyes. Some may say it is a naive point of view, but I am more in agreement with: “truth comes out of the mouth of babes” (and yes teenagers).
Working in small groups gives more students a chance and a reason to share their thoughts and find their voice. Here are the responses from 6 different small groups:
Of Mice and Men Chapter 2 Pre-Reading and Discussion in Small Groups
1) Gossip. a) What is gossip?
– The talk behind people’s backs. Gossip is often negative. Often girls. Can be good sometimes. Guys consider it talking. News. 50/50? Negative. Rumours. Gossip is the spreading of rumours or the act of talking behind someone’s back. Talking behind someone’s back. Spreading rumours. Repeating to one another. Gossip tends to be negative. Part of the belief system. Rumours.
b) What harm can be caused by gossip?
– Causes hurt feelings, feelings that you don’t belong. Causes you to become a liar. It can hurt someone. Can be boring. Can start rumours, truth stretched out. Make someone sad, hurt feelings. Story changes. Suicide. Loss of friendship, depression, loss of sanity. Gossip can hurt people’s feelings.
c) Does everyone gossip?
– Yes, because it is easy to become caught up in it. Yes, Everyone. Yes!! Some people do and some people do it less. Everyone gossips, mostly girls.
d) What are alternatives to gossip?
– Know your facts before telling others. Not to have a grudge. Find a better way to communicate. Put a stop to it. Say something positive. Be honest, talk to the person, JUST DON’T DO IT! An alternative is to keep it in a small group of people.
2) Setting. The story is shifting from the river to the ranch, what are your expectations and predictions?
– We think Lennie will get into trouble and go back to the river. They will not get what they want, they will start but get into trouble again. Lennie will have to go back to the spot. They may become separated. It’s going to workout. Lennie will get in trouble, will blab. George will have to bail him out. Lennie and George are going to find their way to the ranch. To find a job and get interviewed. They might lose their job and not have money to go anywhere. Lennie will get fired, George will end up getting fired. Early mornings, working hard, physically demanding.
3) Characters. New characters will be introduced in this chapter, be sure to observe the techniques the author uses to introduce them to we, the reader. In your life, how do you learn about people?
– From other people. Talk to them. Their actions. Facebook. Watch how they interact with others. Facebook. Creep it. Follow (we will keep our eye on this group :). Question them. Other people. Meet them. People watching. Ask questions. Get to know them. Hang out with them. By getting to know the person. By watching them (their behaviour, actions, the way they talk). Talking to them. Listening. Observing. Gossip. Judgement. In a novel the author describes them to us.
All of us, English class Grade 9 + 10) would love to hear your thoughts and views on any of these questions. Thanks!