Monday, April 20, 2009

Venn Diagram

Before taking this course with Darlene, I had heard of the Venn Diagram and even used it here and there, but not super effectively. I had seen Venn Diagrams used in textbooks and interpreted them for coursework, but I had never really thought of an effective way to use them in my English classes. Then, when I was thinking about how to teach the term tragicomedy to my sophomores, the proverbial "light" came on.

I had taught William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice for several years, and had focused on the term tragicomedy because I felt that this play needed to by recognized for the aspects that make it a tragedy and a comedy and not exclusively one or the other. I liked the idea of using the Venn Diagram because we could use it to show how our understanding of the term tragicomedy built over the course of the play. It is not until the end of the play that one can see all of the tragic and comic elements of the play; however, events and characters can be tracked during the play to build an understanding of how and where this play incorporates elements of both comedy and tragedy.

I will continue to look for areas where I can incorporate the Venn diagram into my lesson and unit planning. I think that this is one strategy that has to be used purposefully. Maybe this is a personal reaction of mine and not one that others share. I found it to be an excellent comprehension strategy in this one case, but I'd not want to use it with every unit.

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