Teaching with MAPS
HOW TO USE MAPS IN THE CLASSROOM
Although MAPS has many resources for students and faculty writing research papers, its most notable use may be in classes every week. Prior to MAPS there really was no realistic way to give students access to commentary about so many authors. Now with each week's poetry readings everyone can gain a fairly detailed knowledge of the history of criticism surrounding each poem. People thereby come to class ready to agree and disagree with past critics; they are already participants in a conversation before the class begins. Acquiring this level of background knowledge also makes for a more democratic and collaborative discussion, since students and faculty are closer to being intellectual equals.
This conversation can be enhanced by requiring everyone to post an email or electronic bulletin board comment about one or two poems and the attendant MAPS analyses before each class. These posts should go to everyone. Even shy students will thereby be drawn into a dialogue, and everyone will begin formulating interpretations and posing questions for discussion ahead of time.
The impact of all of this on the quality of discussion can be astonishing.
Advanced undergraduates or members of graduate seminars can then go on to write original poem analyses for publication on MAPS.
Several courses have been developed around MAPS and the Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry. We are excited to receive additional syllabi, lesson plans and course materials to be shared with the MAPS community. If you would like to contribute any of these materials, you can do so through our Teaching Submissions form.
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