Monday, January 16, 2012

SCED 4200 Blog Post 1 (Introduction)

My name is Evan Black and I'm studying to teach English at the secondary level. My minor is Spanish and I will also receive my certification for that as well. I see a lot of connections between the two fields, especially as it applies to literacy, as both focus on language and its use in society. The goals of the Spanish class are more utilitarian in nature since most students will enter it with little to no experience with the language, so much time is spent on basic learning. English classes in America are more in-depth, exploring the language in its complexity and usage in literature and interpersonal settings. All these aspects of language interest me, and I want to help my future students develop a similar appreciation for words and the power they can give us all in our personal lives and in society as a whole.

I also hope to incorporate several forms of media in the classroom, mostly due to the fact that my love of words has developed through many different sources in my life. Growing up I was an avid comic book reader; at the time I had difficulty seeing how this could be considered a form of literacy, mostly due to society's view on the medium. I also participated in tabletop roleplaying, which encouraged me to explore the nuances of character development and the relationship the character has with the plot in which it finds itself. Finally, I wrote a script for a short fan film with my friends that helped me understand how words on the page can translate into images on a screen. I'll probably talk more about how these activities have shaped my literary experiences in my next post.

Also, I've cultivated a strong artistic talent over the years (my parents say I stopped drawing stick figures before I had even learned how to write), engaging in projects both personal and professional. One of the major endeavors at this point in my life is a project I've worked on for two or three years called Nereus. It's essentially a scientific speculation on extraterrestrial planetology and xenobiology, where I design as plausible a planet as I can and populate it with equally plausible alien flora and fauna, then provide articles and illustrations for my imagined species. Geeky, I know, but after reading about my other hobbies are you really surprised at this point?

After showing people my artistic work I'm often asked why I'm going into teaching English instead of Art. The answer is that, quite frankly, art has come too naturally to me. When I think about teaching others how to develop their artistic talents my mind draws a blank. The process is too subconscious for me to articulate, and I don't know how I could help students learn the same.

By contrast, my interest in language and literature is something that I've developed over time. In other words, I had to learn to like English, and because I had to learn it I can understand when students have to learn to like it as well. It's for that reason that I believe I'll have better success teaching English than Art.

That's all I can think of to introduce myself. If there are any questions just add a comment on this post and I'll answer them as I can.