- Copyright Page
- List of Illustrations
- Notes on Contributors
- In Ancient Rome
- In the Classroom
- In the Custom House
- In Public
- Across Borders
- Mental Representation
- Mindreading and Social Status
- Dyslexia: Through the Eyes of da Vinci
Abstract and Keywords
Modern pedagogy presumes that students require preparation for literacy training, often easing them into reading by way of pictures and song. Earlier modes of pedagogy from the Middle Ages until relatively recently proceeded much more quickly, teaching students with sentences and short texts from the start. There was an emotional cost to this speed, as early schoolbooks acknowledged in the very violence they embrace. But examining this difference in approach closely also makes clear that modern classrooms rely on prior knowledge more than they admit, and, also, that the pace of modern teaching only serves to conceal the difficult but nearly unteachable cognitive leap that may well be the essential step in to learning to read.
Christopher Cannon has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, New York University, and Johns Hopkins University, where he is now Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and Classics. He has written books on Geoffrey Chaucer’s language, literary form after the Conquest, the cultural history of Middle English, and, most recently, elementary education in the fourteenth century. He is now at work on an edition of the complete works of Chaucer and a monograph on dictation.
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