Difficulty in the class room

It seems that the continuity between this weeks reading is the struggle to overcome challenges in understanding, particularly with reading, but as the essay. “Cathedral,” exemplified, this struggle to understand can extend to other elements in life. “Engaging Ideas” provided a groundwork to the concept of how to assist struggling learners, what causes difficulty in reading and what methods to explore to assist those with difficulty. Following that article with the above mentioned “Cathedral” allowed for a hilarious break. The obvious egocentrism of the speaker, coupled with outright ignorance allowed for a bit of comic relief, specifically the slapstick-like description of the blind man’s random eye movements. This article seemed more appropriate for a reading methods exercise, but the conclusion revealed another teaching method, working together and guided learning by struggling though something unfamiliar and difficult. The officers success, directed by the blind man’s questions and supporting comments, made for an effective segue to the third article, “Introducing Difficulty.” The premise of learning through struggling resounded with the previous essay.
One particular quote stood out to me, “Nobody, not even a genius, knows without having learned to know” (Salvatori and Donahue 3). This line would serve as a helpful reminder to any student, those who are struggling and those who work with ease. The reminder of past struggles adds value to the skills acquired, and the affirmation that even the “genius” had to work hard validates the struggling learners efforts. One strategy which stands out is to have students write out their difficulties, enabling them to “acknowledge the complexity of reading” (Salvatori and Donahue 5). This seems like a reasonable exercise for me to implement with my 9th grade students, considering the frequent difficulties they had with the Odyssey. I am curious to see how  they express their difficulties.
In contrast to the above readings, Pope’s “Textual Interventions” seemed more like an exercise in not reading for detail. The density of the writing made it comparable to a scientific research paper; an item which, according to “Engaging Ideas,” should not be read for detail, rather skimmed over for general ideas. The 46 page document may have been better served as a bulleted list as the distracting examples provided little assistance in comprehension. The proposed instructional plans, presented in a conversational tone, were interesting, and inspired several ideas for my own classroom, but the format of presentation still irked my sensibilities for what qualifies as appropriate literature; “Now firm up…Then turn…Don’t draft…Do this…” all could be plainly outlined in a structure more accessible than an essay (16). Despite my reservations regarding the structure of this piece, it does present some lesson ideas worthy of further, in depth, review.
The final article, “How Experts Differ from Novices,” seems to conclude a simple sentiment, experts are capable or reasoning and solving difficulties due to their experience and training in a particular field. This sentiment nicely returns us to the earlier article, “Introducing Difficulty.”