54 teachers from 37 New Jersey high schools attended the Institute for the Humanities' workshop for teachers on February 3 entitled "The Frankenstein Factor: Culture and Context." This was the latest in an annual ongoing series of Institute programs which aim to provide teachers with fresh insights into teaching well-loved (and "well worn"!) texts. In past years Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, and Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby were the focus of the day, while this February's program centered around Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein.
MSU faculty Elizabeth Emery (Modern Languages and Literatures) and David del Principe (Spanish and Italian) intrigued attendees with thoughts on "The Monster Speaks" (Emery) and "Eating Frankenstein: An Eco-Gothic Approach" (del Principe). Ridgewood High School English teachers Patricia Hans and Matt Cheplic then described how they teach Frankenstein as part of two exciting new courses they have each developed in their school, Literature, Identity, and the Media (Hans), and Literature and Film (Cheplic). Workshop participants' reactions were enthusiastic, JoAnn Bertelo, English teacher from Rahway High School, for example, commenting, "Truly one of the best Professional Development days I have attended. Wonderful."