Style has devoted a special issue (Volume 48/1) to recent pedagogical work by Peter J. Rabinowitz and Corinne Bancroft ’10. Rabinowitz is the Carolyn C. and David M. Ellis ’38 Distinguished Teaching Professor of Comparative Literature.
The issue begins with Rabinowitz and Bancroft’s “Euclid at the Core: Recentering Literary Education.” In their article, which addresses teaching literature in secondary schools, they reject the Common Core Standards in part on the grounds that “they have no significant theoretical grounding.”
As an alternative, Rabinowitz and Bancroft propose a new curricular framework grounded in rhetorical narrative theory and cognitive narrative theory (especially the work of Lisa Zunshine). Their title comes from the Euclidean principles behind their model, which starts with a few basic postulates and uses them used to build increasingly complex types of literary knowledge and experience.
Their proposals also build heavily on the importance of “kid knowledge”—knowledge that students already possess before they come to class. The resulting curricular program avoids the major problems with both traditional text-centered instruction education (such as the Common Core) and more subjective reader-centered models. “Euclid at the Core” is followed by 11 responses by high school teachers, education theorists, and literary theorists.
The issue concludes with a second essay by Bancroft and Rabinowitz, “‘Thanks to All at Once and to Each One’: Continuing the Conversation,” which responds to those 11 essays and further develops the arguments in “Euclid at the Core.”