A Companion for Ishmael in the Classroom
IntroductionIshmael, by Daniel Quinn, is the story of a desperate young man in search of a teacher. The teacher he finds is a lowland gorilla, who, being a member of a species entirely different from ours, has an entirely different vision of our history and our role in the universe.
The book won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship in 1991 for a work of fiction offering positive solutions to global problems. It was selected from more than 2500 entries from around the world by a panel of judges that included Nadine Gordimer and Ray Bradbury. Since its initial publication in English in 1992, it has been published in over a dozen languages.
The author was startled when he began getting letters from teachers telling him they were assigning Ishmael to their classes. Even more surprising was the fact that they were not just teachers of literature, who might be expected to use a novel in class, but teachers of biology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, history, and more. He heard from teachers in universities, in graduate schools, in high schools, and even middle schools. They told him how they were using Ishmael in their classes, but they also asked if he knew of other teachers with whom they might compare ideas and notes.
That's why we put together The Ishmael Companion. The teachers who share their thoughts and classroom activities with you in the following pages are representative of the several hundred who have written the author over the past few years to share their classroom experience of using Ishmael. What we found, in collecting information for this guide is that Ishmael lends itself to diversity. The ways teachers use the book are as different and creative as the teachers themselves and the schools they teach in. We hope you'll find their experience stimulating and useful in your own teaching.
Sally Helms Maher & Rennie Quinn
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Contents of the Ishmael Companion:
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