You may be surprised to learn that knowing the Little Red Schoolhouse
(LRS) curriculum often matters more to literature people than to
writing people. Here's why: if you're a writing person you need
to know all the major pedagogies and their strengths and weaknesses.
But no one expects a literature person to know them all. However,
if you know one that's distinctive, and let's you mark your teaching,
then your ability to teach writing is not a ticket you've punched,
but a genuine advantage. In addition, LRS is more adaptable as
a background for teaching literature than most other pedagogies.
Be prepared to offer a two minute example of how an LRS activity
improves students' ability to learn literature.
**You've got to know what LRS is, where it came from, and what
its reach is.
**You've got to know what's special or distinctive about the LRS
curriculum, like the following:
LRS is grounded in the writing of professionals, not students.
That is, it teaches students what they need to know not what
they used to know.
-LRS is explicit and formal: tells you what to do where and
-LRS is highly flexible: it is used to teach lawyers, doctors,
engineers, literary critics, all the way down to first year
students--teaches them principles that they can adapt to new environments.
-LRS is entirely reader based: what do I have to do to get my
readers to respond how I want is the question it asks and answers
-LRS gives students a coherent theory of what a text is and
how it works.
-LRS teaching starts with student intuitions and responses--it
does not move from principle to application but from intuition
to application. LRS gives a principle for describing intuition
and then teaching students how to manage those intuitions.
**You've got to have a two minute explanation of LRS with an example
of what it looks like. For example, if you want students to know
x, then you teach them one of the following: nominalizations (characters & actions);
introductions (fairytales); and point of view (for instance,
the lesson handout that shows how judges changed their minds
with evidence from different points of view). You'll need to
explain quickly how one of these lessons would play out.
If you're a graduate student in the English Department at the
University of Virginia, you'll have wonderful preparation for
the job market
through the Placement Director. Click here for the website,
and if you've forgotten the password, contact someone in the