eNotes Study GuidesWhat parts of a study guide do you think are most useful for your students and for yourself--themes, summaries, criticism?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree with kwoo1213 on this one - I do think that all of the enotes "stuff" is of a very high quality but I find myself using the themes section more than anything else. It is just so useful to have a look at a text that you may not know very well and have the main themes listed if you are going to teach it - gives you some idea as a teacher how to prepare and plan your teahing.

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I love ALL of it!  I usually refer to the themes and other elements sections (if available) most.  I really like the fact that these are downloadable in PDF and that there is critical analysis in the study guides.

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

I agree with #4 and 5 - the style, historical context, and also criticism sections provide something beyond the work.  They give the work context and often provide interesting facts to help lure reluctant readers (and me).  I'm constantly doing research to find interesting info to bring to students about the works we read and the authors.  

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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My favorites are the themes and style sections.  I also find the historical context to be very valuable.  I love to discuss with my kiddos how cultural events affect literature and vice versa.  History is my second love since you really can't teach literature without knowing a little about the time period in which it was written.  The same is true of religion in British Literature.  I love it, and would be perfectly happy if all I had to do was read and study. 

I'm like you--I think it's the history that interests me more than the literature. I love to find the unusual or not so well-known or gory stories (like how Edward II died) to connect to the period our literature is from.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

My favorites are the themes and style sections.  I also find the historical context to be very valuable.  I love to discuss with my kiddos how cultural events affect literature and vice versa.  History is my second love since you really can't teach literature without knowing a little about the time period in which it was written.  The same is true of religion in British Literature.  I love it, and would be perfectly happy if all I had to do was read and study. 

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I agree with Linda, sometimes the summaries are too well done, but if you ask questions that reach far beyond the expository and go into the critical response I think you'll be alright. I try to look at the summaries first and build my questions from there. I have to ask myself, "Can I answer this if all I read is the summary?" If I answer yes, I add an element to it and it really helps force those students to read. I like the themes, the essays, the historical context is great if you like to go cross curricular which I loveto do. I've often had students say they learn more about history in my English class than they do in their History class (our history teacher shows movies that are loosely based on history).

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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For me, the best parts of the study guides are the critical essays. I don't need the summaries or character analyses, but I do sometimes need help interpreting some detail.

For students, I think the articles on style and themes are important. I wish the summaries weren't quite so detailed; that is, I prefer the overview to a chapter-by-chapter summary because some are so detailed you can get away with not reading the book.

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