I am teaching Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to my year 12 English class for the first time this year. I read it in the holidays and absolutely loved it. We did not have a class set of the novel but I knew that it was available free as an online text so I asked my class who would be willing to download a copy and read it at home. Not all of them BYOD so I said that I would read it in class and project it onto the whiteboard for them to follow along. Only 3 of them were willing to do this which I was quite shocked at. We expect our students to be digital natives and to leap at the chance to use technology but often this expectation is a misconception.
I asked my HOD whether there was money in the budget to buy a class set of texts and was pleasantly surprised when she answered affirmatively. Less than a week later I had a class set.
We have been reading the text for close to 2 weeks now and the students are finding it difficult, even when I hand out ‘soma’ (boiled sweets) to help make their experience a happy one! We have also been watching the 1980 BBC television series which I found on YouTube. I wondered how I could help them understand the text and engage with it more and decided to create a Facebook page for them to engage in discussion about the text. I had heard that this approach has had positive results for other teachers. Students who were quiet in class and did not contribute to class discussion were able to have a voice in a less challenging environment.
I set the page up and emailed them all to invite them to ‘like’ the page. I did this 2 days ago and so far 4/28 have ‘liked’ the page. I have posted 2 discussion questions which no-one has responded to and a couple of links to helpful sites.
I want to help them but I’m not sure they want to be helped! Perhaps I need to be patient and give it more time. I’ll keep you posted.