School of Education
Integrated Studies: Elementary--Teacher Certification
Primary Subject Area
Education, Classroom Management, Literature, Respect
Arts and Humanities | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Psychology
Ray, Katherine E., "To Read or Not to Read: The Influence of Literature on Behavior Management" (2009). Senior Honors Theses. Paper 80.
Perhaps one of the most discussed issues in American education is that of classroom management. This is not simply an elementary-level problem either, as would be expected due to the younger student’s short attention spans, but an issue that affects the middle and high schools as well. More and more, behavioral issues are becoming a problem because they cause disruption in the classroom and restrict the students from reaching their full learning potential. But are these problems only due to the special needs of students, such as ADD or ADHD, or does the issue lie deeper? Perhaps reviewing the literature that adolescents, and even pre-adolescents, are reading will give a little insight into this problem. Harry Potter, Eragon, and other popular literature portray young people with predominantly good and noble intentions but these characters face adversity as a result of authority figures who are either foolish and careless, or conniving and sometimes even pure evil. Although a story about a power struggle may not cause many issues if encountered in an occasional story, the trend has found its way into all types of media and has established itself firmly in the minds of students, persuading them that authority figures in their lives, whether they be parents, school officials or teachers, do not equal their mental capacity and therefore are not worthy of obedience, much less respect. While this attitude has been the precursor to beneficial change in many instances, students must be given the skills and strategies to approach every aspect of literature with a critical eye and be able to understand when disrespect towards authority is necessary and when it is simply disruptive and rebellious. In this way, students will grow into educated, critical yet controlled individuals.