Annotations are more harmful than helpful
September 24, 2018
Going through any Robinson hallway, you’ll hear IB students gripe about the amount of annotations they have to do, with good reason. Annotations are labeled as an assignment that is crucial for building life skills when in reality, life would continue on if annotations were never even a thing. They are meant to aid students in developing skills in analyzing themes in literature, when annotations do nothing of the sort.
It’s true in life that no matter what your reading or watching, chances are it has an alternate meaning or subtext of some kind. However, this doesn’t necessarily imply that you need to annotate in order to understand how to analyze media and literature. Although annotations help some in honing their skills at recognizing deeper meaning, a lot of the times annotations don’t teach kids anything except how to cheat off each other without getting caught.
While these deeper meanings do enhance the book or movie being analyzed, nine times out of ten people pick up on the analogies and hidden messages without ever have annotated a “classic”. The IB English teachers seem to think that annotating is the only way a student will ever learn to analyze text; instead, they should think about implementing essay writing. This will teach students not only to analyze the authors writing but will also further educate students on necessary writing skills needed for life.
Annotations require constant focus and a deep level of understanding of literature and when teachers give a large amount of annotations due in a short period of time, most students end up procrastinating and inevitably putting down random analysis that doesn’t correlate to the actual themes in the novel or movie. This makes the annotations a waste of time because instead of students actually taking away from the authors’ skill in writing they are trying to rush to finish an assignment that will make or break their quarter grade.
Annotations are overrated and by no means are crucial in helping students analyze literature. Students can still learn analysis and writing without noting how the color blue reflects a characters sadness.