My Chaucer students are doing stepping stone assignments for their research project, which is basically a lit review about some topic or question to do with Chaucer. So I've been reading their reports on what they've been reading, and also reading some of the articles they've been finding. It's pretty interesting, to be honest. And it's certainly helping me catch up a bit on the Chaucer lit.
Several of the students are education students, and a few of them are interested in how Chaucer's being taught in secondary schools.
I, too, am getting a sense from these articles of how people are teaching Chaucer, and it seems cointerintuitive to me.
Mostly, it seems from the articles I'm reading, high schools are doing projects on the various pilgrims, perhaps also reading the General Prologue.
I think the General Prologue is a pretty amazing piece of writing, but the amazingness isn't readily apparent unless you've read a little estates satire and probably some historical contexts, especially about religious folks.
So I'm wondering what other folks have either experienced or done with Chaucer in high schools (I never read Chaucer in high school, not a word)?
I've never taught high school, but I think if I wanted to do a Chaucer unit in a high school class, I'd teach one of the tales, and then only teach the description in the general prologue of the pilgrim teller. And the tale I'd teach? Totally The Franklin's Tale.
And I have to admit, I'd teach Gawain and the Green Knight rather than most of the other tales. Then, um, probably the Pardoner's Tale. Or the Summoner's Tale, or the Friar's Tale. (I guess I'm confessing that I'd try to avoid some of the more sexally disturbing tales.)