An Interview With
By Megan Carlson
Deborah Appleman, a
literacy education scholar is coming to Monmouth College to do a
series of workshops and a presentation Feb 24-25th. I spoke
with Monie Hayes, assistant professor of education, about the
importance of teaching and practicing critical reading, which is
Appleman's topic of discussion while she is here.
Assistant Professor of Education
MC: What are you
hoping the students and faculty will get out of the
MH: I think, for
starters, they will just find their time well spent by just
being there. She is very engaging. Mostly though, I’m just
hoping that it will prompt students, in particular, to look at
all kinds of texts from the classic texts they’re assigned in
class to popular culture they see everyday. I hope that they
will be in the moment while they listen to Deborah Appleman, but
also put her advice to good use.
MC: How does this
approach differ from traditional methods?
MH: It doesn’t
actually differ. She says that there are some traditional
methods of theoretically informed textual information that
generally we save for junior-senior level. It’s making
available a critical repertoire for students who are early in
their scholarly path. I believe that reader response is a
wonderful way to look at text as well, but we don’t problematize
MC: How does the
teacher's use of this method impact student learning?
MH: I think it gives
a richer, more varied, and owned response. Many texts ask
people to see the world in a different way. It gives students a
way of starting someplace with the text and finding the
message. It also helps to find out whether you agree with the
text and do all readers agree with the text.
MC: Does critical
reading help students make an opinion about a text? Should they
keep their minds open or just go with what they think?
MH: They should
accept a range of opinions, but I think many instructors would
like students to come to a considerate and informed opinion.
Defending and justifying the opinion is also important as well.
MC: Is there
research that supports the text?
MH: This is all of
Deborah Appleman’s work. Her research supports this, and she is
groundbreaking. This research has never been done. She has
been able to go to schools with various socioeconomic
backgrounds. If something is rich and intellectually
challenging, and will foster their own critical capabilities,
they’ll be able to do it.
MC: Is there any
additional information that would be important to know?
MH: I find her work
to be very adaptable to anything. It gives people a critical
and theoretical repertoire, but also fosters ownership.