The Force Of A Classic by Fiza Pathan
Nothing works best as a classic to stimulate the mind of a student and help the individual to achieve his or her highest capabilities. However, we as parents, teachers & educationists should not in a way force the profitable habit of reading on a child. We must realize that, just the way we as adults do not like our government or any other powerful body to push something down our throat that we do not wish to be a part of in any way, for children…we are their ‘governments’ and they too have the right not to be forced into any habit without their own choice taken into consideration. Well then if such be the case, how is one then going to ignite the flame of studiousness & how can one cultivate the habit of reading in the mind of the child???. The answer however complicated it may seem, is in fact, quite easy.
Reading good classics and good literature should be tackled from another angle where the students of the 21st century are concerned. If one actually goes on the Internet and checks out the books written for children these days, one will realize that the numbers are NUMEROUS starting from normal adventure fiction, light humour, horror, vampire fiction, fantasy literature, hard-core fantasy literature & so on; the children of today have got a variety in contemporary literature to choose from, so how can one divert their attention to the classic section of the library?
There are many ways one can do this, which I myself as a teacher have subtly tried out successfully with my students. One way is to get to know the interests of one’s child and try to develop on it positively…and on the way, suggest a classic to read. Example: if the student has a fondness for horse riding, the classic ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell can be suggested to the student or if the child is into science fiction, then along with other techniques to develop the child’s interest, a classic like the ‘Time Machine’ by H.G.Wells can be used to develop the interest of the pupil in classic science fiction. Another way to interest the child in reading classics is to let the student accidentally stumble upon the book, maybe at the school-house, in his or her room, on the dining table, etc. Curiosity being the overriding emotion in every child, will stimulate the child to ask questions about the book:
- What is this story all about?
- When was it written?
- Did you read it?
- How did you like it?
- Tell me more about the content of the story?
The questions can go on & subtly, without the merest hint of suggestion; the pupil will come to learn about a classic from his favourite adult, be it a middle school teacher a grandmother or even a librarian. Another way to introduce a classic to a child sans force could be through the medium of audio-visual media. I’ve often used this technique at my tuition classes with my students where I show them a clipping about a classic in the form of a video, power-point presentation, slides, etc., & then out of sheer curiosity, they go ahead & read the classic. I’ve also noticed that classics like:
- The Count Of Monte Cristo
- Oliver Twist
- Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
- David Copperfield
- Hound Of The Baskervilles etc.,
- have a great appeal to first timers with classics.
However, whatever method one chooses, one must never force a classic onto a child. Just as we engage a new-born baby into the world, we need to stimulate our pupils in a slow step-by-step process into the habit of reading good literature, which will help them moralistically, intellectually & culturally.
Copyright © 2013 by Fiza Pathan
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