Date of Award
Master of Science in Education (MSEd)
Education and Human Development
There has been a longstanding debate on whether or not the canon should continue to deserve a place in the modern inclusive classroom. One side will argue that the canon contains meaningful lessons and content that influenced writings today, so it should still be thoughtfully taught, whereas other sides will argue that the canon is an overused crutch that teachers lean on instead of trying to find more modern, diverse texts. Considering both sides of the argument, there is a way to blend the canon and the contemporary in the modern day classroom without putting so much value on the canon. The canon can be a stepping stone for learning, but it does not have to be the entire path. Educators should be mindful of what students can learn from looking at the canon critically rather than passively, and use the canon to help reinforce skills that students develop from the contemporary texts that they read. There is a place where the canon and contemporary can live in harmony in the modern day classroom, but it must be done meaningfully and it involves commitment and intention on the teacher’s part. The canon does not need to be praised or put on a pedestal, but it does not need to be erased entirely. There is value in critical analysis, and in using the canon as a place of comparison with contemporary texts, students can evaluate change, privilege, bias, and their own values—thus growing not only as students, but as individuals.
Sheils, Logan, "Considering Contemporary: Finding Purpose for Canonical Works in the Modern Classroom" (2020). Education and Human Development Master's Theses. 1302.