How to Dismantle Spectacles and Interpret Worlds

Submitted By:
Meghan Tally, Windward School, Los Angeles, CA

High School Reading as an Act of Meaningful Aggression by Giles Scott
The Millions, September 19, 2017

Writing for The Millions, Giles Scott champions the profound value of close reading and annotation in spite of the various forms of pushback we hear from students (e.g., it takes too long, it’s too hard, it kills my love for reading). For Scott, active, critical reading is “about a way of thinking, a way of seeing” and about “questions not answers.” This thought-provoking and surprising essay reminds us of the worthiness of our advocacies for close reading, even if our students aren’t reading every page of every book we assign. (His aren’t, he learns year after year when he solicits feedback in June.) Shifting the paradigm, Scott brings new dimensions to the notion of cultivating empathy through reading. He argues, for instance, that teaching reading can also be “the teaching of stillness,” a way of helping students learn how to be thoughtful and reflective – how to be active, critical thinkers – in a busy, noisy world. In his essay, reading becomes the most urgent and profound skill students acquire and practice, as they learn “how to undermine and dismantle the spectacles surrounding them.” For all teachers of reading, across disciplines, Scott’s essay is a useful and inspiring meditation on students’ annotations as “the beginning points of interpreting their worlds.”

Teaching Practice
Science of Learning