Reading Response, 9/16


Deborah Coxwell Teague, “Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning—When You Read”

Gail Godwin, “The Watcher at the Gates”

Two questions and a comment–you get the idea.


42 thoughts on “Reading Response, 9/16

  1. In “Making Meaning-Your Own Meaning-When You Read” is it really necessary to do all those things just to remember a reading?

    Was anyone else creeped out when Gail said to draw your “Watcher” and pin it on the wall of your study?

    It was cool to hear the perspective of a teacher, talking about discussing readings in class because at some times, I have no idea what I just read also.

  2. Do you think the suggested techniques for focused writing are useful or just a waste of time?

    Why does Gail let her “watcher” take control if she knows he is “there”?

    When I read I tend to write in the margins or on a sticky note like Deborah suggests. It keeps me from falling asleep, especially when the reading is for school and not leisure.

  3. -“Making Meaning- Your Own Meaning- When you Read”- Why does Teague tell the readers that her, like the rest of the English teachers, fake the conclusions they seem to know about literature?
    – “The Watcher at the Gates”- why does the author call his writers block “the watcher at the gate”?

    – i thought it was funny how Teague flat out said that she didn’t know the right analysis she should tell her students. it kinda seems like all teachers just analyze as they go, and just play it off as if they’ve been studying that piece of work their entire life.

  4. In “The Watcher of the Gates”, why do you think the author includes a passage from Freud? Did he further influence Gail Godwin’s work?

    Why does Deborah Coxwell use many references to her teaching days at FSU in “Making Meaning-Your Own Meaning-When You Read”?

    I think it was smart of Gail Godwin to include her reference to Freud. Freud is such a powerful figure in anyones’ beliefs, so it gives the audience a better understanding of what she is like.

  5. In Coxwell’s piece, do you think she truly believes that her students will actually do all the “tricks” for analyzing that she suggests?
    In “The Watcher at the Gates” what Godwin trying to get at with having a “watcher”? I don’t understand the reference.
    Coxwell’s explanation of the teacher/student perspective on reading and analyzing is reassuring because I sometimes struggle to analyze poems with much larger meaning.

  6. Do all writers have a “Watcher at the Gate?”

    Why does Teague think that so many strategies are necessary for successful reading?

    I liked how Teague admitted that all teachers fake it when they explain what the author of a text was trying to say, and that no one really knows. Everyone has their own interpretations.

  7. Are there any other techniques/strategies that readers could pick up in order to understand difficult writing?

    Why don’t all english teachers take a few crucial moments to explain how to properly read?

    The love hate relationship that Godwin has with the Watcher is intriguing to me because of its complexity.

  8. Did anyone else like how honest Deborah Coxwell Teague was regarding being an English teacher?
    Is it weird that I totally understood what Godwin meant about having a watcher inside of her? Is it weird that I’m pretty sure I have a watcher inside of me??

    I found the two pieces refreshingly honest.

  9. Do you all wish your AP Literature teacher did not “fake it” when it came to the meaning of texts?

    Does Goodwin understand that her “watcher” is her own insecurities and doubts as a writer?

    These two pieces of writing were very eye opening in a sense and also very interesting and intriguing to me.
    -Renee Lemire

  10. Do you think the techniques showed can be used to increase our writing skills ?

    Both readings were very detail and descriptive

    Do all English teachers so called “fake it when it comes to reading/writing

  11. Q – “Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning—When You Read” (Teague) – Why don’t more teachers allow students to interpret a text how they want to, rather than giving symbolism guidelines/rules?

    Q – “The Watcher at the Gates” (Godwin) – Are Watchers the reason people get writer’s block?

    C – “The Watcher at the Gates” (Godwin) – I like that Freud/Godwin put the mind’s “get-it-perfect-now-not-later” filter into an idea that is much easier to explain and visualize.

    -Becky B.

  12. Why does Teague insist all those strategies help the reader?

    Where does Godwin’s “Watcher” come from?

    I had a could picture my own “Watcher” talking to me as I read “The Watcher at the Gates.”

    -Christie Gleason

  13. Do you think that using a different technique mentioned each time you re-read a passage would lead you to a different interpretation each time?

    Why is the “watcher” called a watcher if it really distracts? Should it not be called a “Distractor at the Gates” instead?

    I wish that my English teachers throughout high school would have asked for my opinions on the readings like Teague, rather than shut me down every time I gave my interpretation of what the author was trying to say.

  14. In Making Meaning- Your Own Meaning- When You Read, why is Teague so critical of how high school teacher’s teach? If it is such a bad way of teaching, why don’t they change?

    In Watcher at the Gates, why would their “Watcher” be so critical of their writing?

    In Making Meaning- Your Own Meaning- When You Read, I like how Teague admitted that even she doesn’t know all the answers to Literature. People interpret literature differently and it is important to express that.


  15. In “Making Meaning – Your Own Meaning – When You Read,” are all of the strategies that Teague mentioned necessary to learn “how” to read?

    In “The Watcher at the Gates,” the “watcher” is your subconscious, so how are you supposed to overcome that?

    In other texts we have read we learned that all writers fail sometimes – most of the time – so Godwin and his “watcher” should not be so afraid to fail. Failing is a natural part of writing.

  16. Do you ever read something, and think you have the full meaning of the text, and then read it again and get a completely different understanding for it?

    Would you follow Godwins tip that whenever you write a good sentence, to stop in the middle of it and continue tomorrow?

    If I followed this tip I would lose my train of thought and if my sentence was going to be really good, I would be really frustrated that I lost it.

  17. Palmer Harper

    In “Making Meaning – Your Own Meaning – When You Read,” why did Teague not mention to her writing class that they would have to read it multiple times as she had to understand it fully?

    Why in “Watcher at the Gate,” does Godwin try so hard to manage this inner critic instead of listening and acting upon what it is telling him? Also if it annoys him so much why does he not just ignore it?

    Both readings had a good insight into what strategies to use to become a good writer.

  18. In “The Watcher of the Gates”
    Could a “Watcher” be real?

    Deborah Coxwell Teague, “Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning—When You Read”
    Why is this essay written about a kid’s point of view.
    The text is written in Question and Answer format.

  19. Do you wish that in high school your teachers would have let you interpret texts the way that you read them like Deborah Coxwell Teague wrote about in “Making Meaning – Your Own Meaning – When You Read”?

    While writing your essays did you feel that you had a ‘Watcher”?

    I think the reading strategies Deborah Coxwell Teague listed could really help me.

  20. In “Making Meaning” it tells us that teachers fake it. Have you ever thought about the fact that your teachers could of been “faking it” during your school years? Did they really know how interpret all of the authors texts?

    How are you supposed to ever be able to overcome your subconscious?

    I think it was very interesting to read the ways to “outsmart your watcher”.

  21. Deborah Coxwell mentions that the does not share with her colleagues her flaws when teaching high school students and keeps it to herself. Does she still hide her flaws from others or has she learned to share and ask questions to improve them?

    In “The Watcher at the Gates,” why would i ever stop a good sentence? it would ruin it.

    I liked both stories, i can relate to “Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning—When You Read” because my other is a high school teacher, in “The Watcher at The Gates” i wonder why the watcher is so critical about everything.

  22. In “Making Meaning”, why does Teague decide not to be like the other teachers and just “fake it”?

    Does Godwin believe that everyone has a “Watcher”?

    I appreciate that Teague in “Making Meaning” understands that not all students will immediately get references to other novels or historical events. We haven’t all read the same books or learned about the same things.

  23. Even though reading a text multiple times will help to better understand the writing, will it really give more insight to the authors true reasoning in the work?

    How did the “Watcher” reply to the authors question at the end?

    I found it interesting that the author of “making meaning” admitted that they didn’t know what the meaning of some texts really were, that its up to the reader to decide what it means to them.

  24. Were the tips mentioned in “The Watcher at the Gates” useful? Or could better tips have been given to the reader.

    After reading, “Making Meaning-Your Own Meaning-When You Read” did anyone else immediately think of a time when you know that your teacher “faked” the meaning of a text.

    I think that Deborah Coxwell could have listed much bette tips for when there is a “Watcher.” Coxwell makes it seem as though writers block is inevitable when writing a paper and I believe that that’s not always the case.

    Louie Copley

  25. Lauren Anthony
    In “Making Meaning,” do you really think all those extra steps like creating a journal will help every reader get what the author of a text is saying, even though there isn’t one “true meaning?”
    Does anyone think that all writers have a “watcher” in some form or another?
    I wish I knew that all my English teachers were “faking it,” responding to those essays and short stories would have been a lot easier in high school.

  26. Andrew Miller-

    Is Coxwell-Teague accusatory of her teachers’ methods because she learns in a different way than others?

    In “The Watcher at the Gates”, can there be more than one watcher?

    I thought there were a lot of helpful note-taking tips in the first reading, and for someone who is unorganized like me that can go a long way.

  27. In “Making Meaning,” has they steps she explained helped her current college students.

    In “Making Meaning,” are her methods outdated only to used during her era

    In “The Watcher at the Gates”, i loved the concept of The Watcher because it helps us familiarize
    better with out procrastination, and gives us ways to deal with it by giving it.

  28. In “Making Meaning” why did it go from a story to an instruction manual?
    Are “watchers” the thing that inspires us and distracts us?
    After reading Making Meaning, it made me realize my whole high school career was a lie.

    Zachary Anders

  29. Are Watchers your subconscious influencing your writing?

    If high school teachers don’t really know the meaning, when will they stop acting like they do?

    I love how Deborah Coxwell Teague stated how high school teachers act as if they have all the answers. Reminds me of my senior year English teacher.

  30. Is the “Watcher” a persons conscious?
    In “Making Meaning” why did the teacher not talk to the other teachers about her problem with the students not thinking?
    After reading “The Watcher at the Gates” I realized how important it is to find my “watcher” and figure out how to get around him.

  31. Is the “watcher” always a bad thing or can it be useful at times to check yourself?

    Why do some high school teachers try to make everyone understand the book in the same way when there could be tons of interpretations for one piece?

    The different ways to deal with the watcher are very interesting.

    Timmy Corrigan

  32. In Making Meaning does the tips she tell us actually help students like me?

    Do most authors have that watcher?

    I feel like i have had a watcher when I cant come up with interesting detail to write about

  33. Is the Watcher his conscience?

    Does making the “Watcher” seem like a bully make it more relatable?

    I found Watchers at the gate hard to follow.

    -William Dell

  34. Why is it that most high school teachers believe they know the right interpretation of a piece of literature and assume all the others are wrong?

    Why doesn’t Godwin talk about the benefits of having a “Watcher” as well as the negatives?

    I found it funny that I had discussed how high school teachers believe they have the right interpretation of pieces of literature in my first journal entry. I agreed with how she felt and relieved that I am not the only one who thought this.

  35. Did anyone else feel as if the advice in “Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning—When You Read” would have seemed better if it came from a student’s point of view?

    How many watchers of your own did you realize you had after reading Godwin’s “The Watcher at the Gates?”

    “The Watcher at the Gates” made me finally understand why its so hard for me to complete a piece of writing in one sitting.

  36. In “Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning—When You Read” what does someone do if they have read a passage a hundred times and still don’t connect with or understand the text?
    In “The Watcher at the Gates” how are we suppose to know what our watcher looks like?
    My English teacher in high school was always like the author in “Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning—When You Read”. She would make us get in small groups and discuss what we thought the meaning was behind a story.

  37. Are watchers only internal or can there exist an external watcher, like a parent or teacher that reject ideas?

    The author of the “Watcher at the Gates” refers to Freud and the interpretation of dreams, so in this case is the watcher the superego protecting the ego from the id? Is the id where are best writing is waiting to be set free?

    I really enjoyed the way Godwin took a subject I learned in psychology and made it into a personal story of how it affected their writing. Showing the individual effects of a universal phenomenon.

  38. In “Making Meaning…” did Teague come across students who didn’t know how to read in college too?
    I think it’s weird how Gail seperated her “Watcher” from herself, not owning her own fears and lack of inspiration.
    Do all writers recognize themselves as having a “Watcher”?

  39. To become a successful writer are all those strategies in “Making Meaning….” needed?

    In “The Watcher at the Gates” is there any positives to having a “Watcher”?

    In “The Watcher at the Gates” I liked how Godwin compares how the “Watcher” will keep a writer from pursuing their imagination to everyday negative things.

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