The New Chaucer Society is seeking to widen our membership, hoping to include more high school teachers as active participants. While most of our members have traditionally been college teachers and graduate students, we are eager to include those who teach Chaucer and medieval literature in high schools. Membership in NCS provides a unique opportunity for teachers at all levels to learn from one another, share best practices, and generally promote the study of Chaucer, “the father of English poetry,” in our curricula and our classrooms.
In addition to a membership drive, we are announcing a pre-conference day on 10 July, 2016, which will be devoted to high school teachers and teaching. We believe this first day will provide an engaging forum where teachers can meet one another, meet other members of the NCS, and share teaching ideas and concerns. The day's program will include conversations with leading Chaucer scholars, lunch, two afternoon roundtables (see below), and a wine hour sponsored by the NCS.
After this first day, everyone will be a part of the regular sessions and conversations of the NCS meeting, which also will include many sessions devoted to teaching. (For these, see the Call for Papers on this website.)
Call for Papers for Teaching Roundtables on 10 July 2016
Please send your proposals to those listed as chairing the sessions by October 1, 2015.
1) Reading Medieval Today
What best practices can we share that reflect the ways in which we teach reading medieval literature today? How do we teach reading in a secondary classroom with access to online resources, and how do we best equip students to shape their own interpretations? What interpretive strategies might Chaucer's work inspire, and which texts serve as helpful starting points? How can teaching medieval literature teach us about teaching other literatures?
English Department, Upper School The Bishop's School, La Jolla
2) "Relevance, Difference--Both?"
How do we engage students and get them excited about the literature we study, especially when dealing with texts from the distant past? Teachers of literature have often taken one of two time-honored and seemingly opposed strategies, one that makes these texts "relevant" to our students, a mirror of their own cultural concerns, and another that confronts the cultural and referential strangeness of these texts directly, hoping to broaden our students' historical imaginations in the process. Both approaches to Chaucer and medieval literature invite inventive ways to frame these texts in the classroom. This session explores successful, inventive lessons using either approach, and hopes to initiate discussion on how the apparent divide between them might be bridged in our pedagogy.
Upper School Division Lead Teacher, The Colorado Springs School