I apologise for the crappy picture quality but my blackberry, Ernie, tries. Anyway, this is the view from the Grad lounge in SLAIS where I spend time between classes or generally hanging out.
The hand belongs to Janet, a fellow MACL-er and yes, they are s’mores before they become s’mores. We have an hour between classes on Tuesdays and this is how we spend time.
On to the actual glimpse of school beyond the pictures. We actually got into the subjects we are studying in class and while I found all of what we study fascinating, there were some particular topics that really caught my attention.
In a class I am taking, New Media for Children and Young Adults, we took a look at the changing scope of education in the first world countries at least. We no longer need the stagnant medium of the teacher standing in front of the room speaking to the room full of kids. According to experts and scholars, what we need is an interactive medium with the teacher still present, yes, but also a large variety of interactive internet based media that keeps students engaged and participating. Education becomes an active and conscious process instead of the passive mode we have adopted for the past hundred years (forever?). To point, there are various schools in the US that have inculcated internet based learning in their school – one of which is Quest to Learn. Obviously this isn’t perfect, there are still odds to be worked out and the question of how we are going to lessen the distance between privileged kids of the first world countries and the underprivileged kids of third world countries but it remains that education is going to look very different in the next few decades.
Reader Response Theory
This theory states that a book is a collaborative idea between the author and the reader. That is, the author may write what she does but what the reader takes away from it is, in no small part, due to the reader’s experiences and thoughts which shapes her reaction to the book she reads. This is something like the prologue of The Pictures of Dorian Grey states – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What makes a thing beautiful is determined by the person looking at the piece of art or in this case, writing.
This is not really new but it does muddy the waters of reviewing, eh? What if your reaction to the book is because of you and not because of the author? ( I don’t buy that but I thought it was only fair I asked the question.) Something to ponder.
We also discussed censorship and my professor had lots of anecdotes from her thirty plus experience as a public librarian to make the lecture amazing and fascinating.
I had a rather interesting thought the other day in my creative writing class while we were critiquing a classmate’s manuscripts. We have all seen the insistence of many authors, self-pubbed or otherwise, for “niceness” in reviews. This has always struck me as strange because reviewers are under no obligation to pussy-foot around for the “feelings” of the author whose work is being reviewed. The creative writing class I am taking is an advanced one. It is full of people who will walk away with a Masters in Fine Arts and go on to write novels, screenplays etc. When we critique each other, it is understood that everyone’s work is respected. We are careful about the words we use to describe someone’s work and how we word our criticisms or suggestions.
Because we aren’t reviewers.
Dun dun dun.
I think people who complain about negativity and snark in book reviews forget that reviewers aren’t their critique partners. We are consumers of products and yes, we will complain as loudly and as snarkily as we want should the product fail to satisfy us. It is “art” (I am rather reluctant to term it such) we are consuming but the fact remains that is being consumed. We are reading for entertainment which is vastly different from reading for other purposes.
And there you have it. Second week glimpse.