My friend Linda, who teaches English as a Second Language to an amazingly diverse class of 20 college students, emailed to tell me how my post on Frederic Church’s “The Heart of the Andes” coincided with one of her assignments. (Scroll down for my original post.)
Linda is the most creative teacher I have ever known, and I’ve known a lot of teachers. Her students, who hail from China, Haiti, Mauritius, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Syria, and Bangladesh are not only perfecting their English but learning a great deal about American culture in the bargain and I daresay enjoying every minute of her class.
Here is Linda’s email:
(The reason the students were instructed to check out the knights in shining armor and the “Artistic furniture of the Gilded Age” exhibit has to do with some of their reading. As I say, Linda is a creative teacher!)
How interesting that you posted this at this particular time. Last week, I sent my students off to the Met to do three things: check out the knights in armor and next the “Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age” and last to choose a Gallery Talk to test their listening skills with a lecturer who wouldn’t accommodate their being ESL students. Several of the students chose a particular Museum Highlights tour where the docent took them to see this very painting. I know because a few chose it to describe as the most impressive thing they saw on the tour. Two even said they lagged behind the group because they wanted to keep looking at the painting. One described it as 3-D. These were students who have never been to the Met or perhaps any art museum before. So, as you hit on, it’s all relative. You and I can’t even number how many times we’ve been to the Met or seen “great paintings”, but for these students, it’s all new, so they’re closer to the original audience. Now we’re in the midst of our intense review for the upcoming reading comprehension exam in June, and one of the reading passages yesterday was about American artists and the beginning of landscape painting on this kind of scale in the mid 19th century. The students who went on that tour all commented about “Heart of the Andes” again. So today, I’m printing out your post for them so we can see the old-time photo and follow up on yesterday’s talk. Thanks! Linda
Coincidence, yes, but a powerful demonstration how we are all connected in unimaginable ways via the internet. Gives me goosebumps.