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Fresh Takes on Teaching Literary Elements: Lessons and Activities to Deepen Comprehension – Part II Connecting Life to Literature And Literature Back to Life Jeffrey D. Wilhelm Boise State University
Theory: Understanding Setting Activity Theory/CHAT Any human activity- both internal and external - is in fact allowed, encouraged, and shaped by situations and the social dynamics of the particular situation in which it occurs All human activity governed by cultural goals and rules Situated Cognition All learning is situated and is coproduced by the setting and situation – Herbert Simon’s scissors (info-transmission and standardized testing are just two examples of how current cognitive science in violated in schools)
Essential Questions for Setting How does culture (or other settings) shape who we are? What do we need to know to live in Indonesian culture? To what extent does time and place dictate who you are and what you can do? To what extent is the American dream accessible to all? What is a hero, according to the Greeks vs. the Romans? Reframe a unit so it focuses on setting . . .
Setting: A Heuristic Levels of setting Microculture: your classroom Mesoculture: your school and community Macroculture: the political and cultural situation of U.S.A. in 2009 Microculture: East Egg Mesoculture: East Coast of U.S. Macroculture: The Power Structure of Wealth and Status during the 1920s
Setting as Physical location Think of your own life. You are invited to a party. Is it the address that counts? The street itself? The neighborhood? The traffic, which side of the tracks the address is on, what properties abut the property, whether it is an area of industry, business or homes? Depending on various considerations, it will depend. And depending on what topic, conflict, or point will be explored or expressed in a story, writers and readers will need to attend to different details..
Setting as Temporal: the period or era; the duration of time the story spans Past, present, future or hypothetical/fantastical past, present or future “The Story of an Hour”, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Legends of the Fall
Setting as Social and Psychological; the human dimension This includes the mood/feeling of the setting, the culture and cultural constraints of the setting, and the resulting effect on characters