Every term at least one student attempts to write this article.
- Hello world! on
Every now and then, a student asks, “Why do we have to take this stupid English course?” AUUUUGH.
As it turns out, there is a better response then “AUUUUGH.” Reading literary fiction gives you skills that help you in real life, namely emotional intelligence and empathy. Those are really important skills to have if you work with or for people.
I’ve always thought that a punctuation mark for irony or sarcasm o deadpan humour would be helpful. In my imagination, it would be a set of jazz hands encompassing the passage marked by irony, like parentheses might.
Fast Company has a few don’ts for email writing. It seems common sense to me, but the thing about common sense is that it’s not as common as you think.
Well, of course it is. And reading literature in particular, far from being an artsy waste of time, teaches readers to understand people and to empathize. What is marketing, if not understanding people and empathizing in order to find the most effective way to reach them? I was not at alls surprised when my colleague at the Journal, Todd Babiak, turned his skills as a reader and writer into a now-successful communications and marketing business.
And before you dismiss the writer of this piece as a business school washout, I would note that many of my classmates in the BA Honours English program went on to law school; that’s no coincidence. Close reading of complex materials is a very important skill in law, and being able to connect with people sometimes very different from themselves is necessary.
In fact, there is NOTHING that is irrelevant to your career. You never know what you’ll need in the long run, but reading and writing well is definitely doing to help.
Apparently, our skills are deeply appreciated after all. Part of me, though, thinks it would be awesome to work at a shoe store.
My students! I haven’t met you yet, but I hope you read this and learn how to learn.
When I was in my first-year English class, one smartass challenged our instructor: “We analyze things in chemistry. Why do we have to read literature?” That kid was pretty annoying. Anyhow, it turns out that performance in high school English is a predictor of university success. Why literature? Because it’s hard. You gotta read the stuff that’s hard to understand and sensitive to interpretation. Literature has a wide range of genres, styles, and registers. You won’t necessarily find that in reports. You learn not just how to read, but to read well.
So pay attention, students of mine. It may seem trivial to you now, but just wait. It’ll pay off.
Most of my students take notes — or rather, “take notes”– on their laptops or tablets. I’ve caught some emailing or Facebooking or shopping (!) during class. It’s kind of your business how you spend your time, but c’mon. It can’t be good for your learning.