Teaching Resources

Using MAPS as the standard for writing research papers in a classroom devoted to modern American poetry and poets is a great start. However, using the site’s intricate discussions and criticism on poets and their work can give to the classroom a more lively and dedicated symposium. Reading can be assigned to aid students in their efforts to gain more knowledge about history and culture of specific groups of poets which opens up discussions on anthropology, psychology, and more. Starting discussions with what everyone has read on the site provides common knowledge that the teacher can then act on. Students will come to class ready to address specific critics or comments that they read about. The site, being collaborative, results in collaborative discussions among intellectuals and scholars alike. The conversation can then be opened up to discuss more than the singular work itself and can range from topics of societal issues and restrictions based on gender or class, to syntactical differences amongst poets. Periods of historical importance are engrained in the works of the time and (sometimes without the knowing it) students will be participating in debates and discussions that connect history and literature. Requiring students to then write about the discussion or have homework assignments on the reading will engage not only the students but the teacher, therefore causing a conversation of new ideas and theories. Also, if every student comes to class with questions after reading a few poems the night before, along with related criticism, there are many possibilities for deeper learning. For help or inspiration for classroom work, syllabi have been uploaded from over a dozen professors, in which they utilize MAPS as a learning and teaching resource.

Further study of MAPS with graduate or advanced students can invite students to write their own analysis and criticism of a poet or poem. This process circles back to the idea that the site itself thrives on the collective process of scholarly minds to help future students for years to come. Intellectual growth in the classroom will be exponential if MAPS is used to its full capacity.