Eager to escape rural Washington and life with his stepfather—experiences he recounts in his memoir This Boy's Life Grove Press, —he won a scholarship to the Hill School, a prestigious academy in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He loved the school but struggled there and was ultimately expelled because of failing grades in math. His first novel, Old School Knopf, , is based on these experiences. He told The Paris Review that the school granted him his diploma in , "but only after the headmaster made sure to read a selection of Wolff's fictitious letters of recommendation to that year's commencement audience.
After working briefly on a ship, Wolff joined the U. Army in He spent a year learning Vietnamese, and then served in Vietnam as a paratrooper.
After his discharge, he enrolled in Hertford College of Oxford University, where he earned a degree in English. In the meantime, he did stints as a waiter, night watchman, high school teacher at a Catholic school for boys, and reporter for The Washington Post during Watergate. It was very exciting" Boston Review. Wolff taught at Syracuse University in New York from to The novelist Richard Ford and the short-story writer Raymond Carver were among his friends and colleagues. Woods professorship in the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Results 1 - 24 of The This Boy's Life lesson plan contains a variety of teaching materials that cater to all learning styles. Inside you'll find 30 Daily Lessons. This Boy's Life Lesson Plans include daily lessons, fun activities, essay topics, test/quiz questions, and more. Everything you need to teach This Boy's Life.
I couldn't live like Salinger, for example, and shut myself up alone. I needed that intellectual friction, and I liked the sense of helping younger people along in their work. Wolff has been married to his wife since They have two sons and a daughter. The compromises don't diminish us, they humanize us. He is also the author of two novels and several collections of short stories, and has guided a generation of younger writers as a teacher. Skip to main content.
Tobias Wolff b. What the second is, no one has yet discovered. Why did the author choose these quotes? Do you think they fit the themes explored in This Boy's Life? Describe the primary pose assumed by each character. Jack's tongue becomes so tied at his first confession that he finds his voice only by borrowing the sins of Sister James. Why is Jack unable to confess his real sins?
Conventional wisdom is almost always wrong. Dealing with problems at school? Kiss a lot of frogs. If they were on a committee to redesign their school to encourage more positive masculinity, what recommendations would they make? This is separate from biological sex.
The father and Sister James are satisfied, even proud of Jack, when he completes the ritual. Do you think Jack is absolved for his sins even though he lied? To the narrator, in the eyes of the church, is the act more important than the truth behind the confession? He was in the living room with me, painting some chairs, but I probably would have given the same answer if I'd been alone. Do you think his reluctance stems from fear? Do you think this protective behavior is positive or negative? Alienation defined much of Jack's childhood, in part because of his fractured family.
Do you think the perfect family is a myth? What expectations does Jack have of his family? The memoir is set mostly in rural Washington, high in the forested mountains. Contrast the depiction of exterior spaces with that of the white interior one in which the family lives. What does Dwight's obsession with painting everything white, including the tree outside, suggest about his personality? The residual influence of fathers plays a prominent role in the story, hinging on brief glimpses of Rosemary's father, referred to as Daddy, and the late emergence of Jack's biological father from back East.
Compare the influence of these fathers—one violent, the other irresponsible—on their children. How do Rosemary's and Jack's behaviors reveal the kind of interaction they had with their fathers? Discuss how this relates to his ability, later in the story, to invent his own persona. When Jack is accused of scrawling obscene graffiti on the bathroom wall at school, we are introduced to the vice-principal and principal, men whose disciplinary approaches radically differ. Compare these two authority figures with the two father figures in Jack's life—Rosemary's first boyfriend, Roy, and her new husband, Dwight.
Is there any correlation? How is Jack's original impression of Dwight turned upside down? Pop culture references are used carefully in the text. We discover, for instance, that Jack and his friends watched The Mickey Mouse Club, and that he and his mother watched The Untouchables. What other pop culture references are used? To give the reader a sense of place and time, what, besides pop culture, does the author refer to? Did the story seem anchored in the s or did it evince a sense of timelessness?
Yet Jack doesn't dream of blending into the crowd of an urban center—his one serious plan of escape is to Alaska. Rather, a huge selection and range of repertoire at all sorts of levels most often at least grades below the student's current level is explored in order to keep students motivated, improve their sight-reading and to give them a broad appreciation of music. Students can be rewarded for every 10 short pieces learnt, or a week of sight-reading, or a performance or composition recorded or uploaded to YouTube.
They love humour and teachers who can make fun of themselves. They love having a say in what goes on in their lessons. Younger boys love movement and action and lots of shorter activities. Teens are happy to work on just one piece for a whole lesson if it's something that's meaningful to them. One really simple way to engage boys who might not be understanding the concept of practice especially the point behind scales is to compare learning piano with training for a sport. Find out what sport your student likes to play preferably, or watch. If they don't play or like sport, then just use whatever sport is most familiar to you!
These are normally known as "drills" and most students will be familiar with the idea even if they don't play the sport as it's common to nearly all pursuits. You can then explain to them that it is the same with piano: it is just as vital to drill the technical aspects of playing, or or to practice small passages and minor details slowly and repeat them many times in order to learn a particular skill that will be needed in performance. I've found this analogy really resonates with boys and can be a useful kick-start to re-invigorate a flagging practice routine!
One thing we know boys love is action, so I created my own approach to teaching beginners using no method books for the first 10 weeks. It's called my No Book Beginner Framework and it's perfect for those wriggly little boys in your studio. Getting kids away from the books and moving around the room, composing, improvising, clapping, chanting, singing - these are the things that should form the bulk of the first lessons with any new student.
This framework will suit any style of teaching and is a pre-method book method, so it will flow nicely into whatever method book you choose to use to teach reading. I guarantee if will get your kids motivated and enjoying themselves.
Best of all, it sets them up perfectly for the rest of their music learning journey. Are you having trouble inspiring boys who are trying to learn to read music in their teens? I've taught a number of students like this and it's really hard to engage them in the slow process of learning to read music when they just want to play something cool for their friends. With PianoMaestro, students get to learn music by playing along to backing tracks while the software listens and responds to their playing, giving them scores and unlocking new levels, just like a computer game.
I've found my male students absolutely love it. It's great for sightreading for students at all levels, it includes heaps of music including music from method books including Alfreds, Piano Pronto and more. Not only is it great fun, students can learn heaps about scales, chords, progressions and form in music with only a few simple instructions. In fact, it's what I tend to use when I start new students.
While it's fun for the students, it gives you the opportunity to quickly assess their musicianship, listening, rhythm and learning style while they are engaged. You can watch as I demonstrate exactly how I teach the 12 Bar Blues to my students in my teaching video and related blog post. In order to make the process as fun and musical as possible, you'll want to get the iReal Pro backing track app for iPhone and iPad.
This is a brilliant app that has hundreds of uses; read about why I like it here. In my experience, boys feel a greater need than girls to study pieces which resonate with them early on and which will sound and look good when performed in front of people. Boys love nothing more than being able to show-off to friends by playing cool stuff that other people recognise — the opening chords of a pop song, the piano riff from a cool dance track or a famous movie theme.
Hence, I believe that finding repertoire for girls is probably a little easier than for boys on the whole. Now to the music. I still find it fascinating how an engaging title can really capture or a bad title can ruin! On the flip-side and as I said earlier, I generally avoid giving boys pieces with titles to do with ballet, tea parties and fairies. The music might be brilliant, but an unappealing title may have a subconsciously negative effect. To find out more, please check out my resource all about Piano Repertoire for Boys.
Have you got some good tips about teaching boys? Perhaps you disagree with my thoughts that boys and girls learn differently? Perhaps you feel this whole resource is a waste of time and you should just tailor programs to suit students , not genders. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Teaching Boys Piano.
You are here: Home Teaching Boys Piano Quick Navigation Introduction Are boys really different? Introduction There seems to be a general consensus among piano teachers that, in the last five or so years, the number of boys in piano studios seems to have increased. This is exactly what I have been searching for - thank you!
I'm constantly trying to think of new things to do or ways for him to concentrate and your post hit the nail on the head regarding his attitude.
He wants to sound cool - but being an absolute beginner I've been struggling for ways of teaching him and making that somehow happen. This is super helpful. Here are a few reasons why:. This means that I tend to spend a large amount of time sourcing and exploring new repertoire which has benefits for all my students and my own sanity.
As they get older, boys sometimes become more and more sullen, moody and monosyllabic, giving teachers an extra hard job as motivators! This means that my engagement methods must be continually honed and developing new and exciting activities is often a priority. While I haven't yet done the research, I have a feeling that more boys than girls lose motivation and focus in their teens and eventually quit piano. This can be because piano becomes "uncool" in their developing adolescent identity and amongst their peer groups, making the job of the teacher even more challenging.
I thrive on the challenge of re-engaging disinterested teenage students and relish the chance to try out new music and teaching ideas to recapture their enthusiasm.