“Multicultural education is for everyone regardless of ethnicity, race, language, social class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and other differences” (Neito, 2000, 4).
For many teachers the idea of incorporating multicultural literature into their everyday English curriculum can seem to be a daunting task. In my own experience many teachers are not exposed to the idea of multicultural literature until post-graduate studies. In our increasingly multicultural society and therefore school systems, it is our job as teachers to introduce our students to other cultures different from their own. As Hefflin and Barksdale-Ladd (2001) state “literature is a powerful medium. Through it children construct messages about their culture and roles in society"(810). My own students have asked me repeatedly, “Ms. Pate why do we have to read boring stuff by dead white men” or “Why are the book choices for 9th grade so boring and depressing?” Students are finding it increasingly hard to relate to texts that are considered to be part of our canon. They cannot relate to as they say ‘dead white men' when they themselves are from countries all over the world.
[...] Review of the Literature: For the purposes of this paper multicultural literature will be defined as follows: literature that represents voices typically omitted from the traditional canon (Glazier & Seo 2005). This is not to disregard the canon or the staple texts that are used today but merely to make teachers aware that there are voices that are omitted in the standard curriculum. By using both canonical and multicultural texts teachers have a broad base of culture from which to draw from. [...]
[...] Teachers listed the fear of censorship as a reason they would not include multicultural literature and they also taught what they were familiar with. The authors noted that many teachers may otherwise want to include noncanonical works will not because they fear the potential (real or imagined) problems with parents, colleagues, administrators, students, and the community disagree with the content of the literature curriculum” (Stallworth et al 2006, 484). Other obstacles include that teachers want to teach what they are familiar with (what they themselves were taught), lack of resources, lack of expertise, and time constraints. [...]
[...] Glazier & Seo note that for multicultural literature to be used effectively in the classroom that teachers must use it skillfully. They also note that, “multiple opportunities to view others and oneself across a set of different mirrors- by reading multiple texts- might ultimately increase cultural awareness, decrease ethnocentrism, and create a global perspective” (Glazier & Seo 2005, 699). Joyce Stallworth, Louel Gibbons, and Leigh Fauber in their article on “It's Not on the List: An Exploration of Teacher's Perspectives on Using Multicultural Literature” (2006), looks at how English teachers must consistently design high-quality and balanced literature curricula that involves the purposeful integration of multicultural literature. [...]
[...] Making Room for Culture in the Classroom In the article “Multicultural literature and discussion as mirror and window?” by Jocelyn Glazier and Jung-A Seo (2005), the authors discuss the importance and use of multicultural literature in U.S. schools and also the role of teachers in using multicultural literature in their teaching. Glazier & Seo (2005) state that, use of multicultural literature- coupled with dialogic instruction within a safe classroom context- can provide students with both a window to other cultures and a mirror reflecting their (686). [...]
[...] The researcher will then tabulate the responses and compare to the pre-questionnaire answers. The researcher will then interview the teacher to see if she noticed a difference in motivation between the experimental and control group. Appendix A Questionnaire What type of books do you like to read most? Please only list one type of book, your top choice: How confident are you in your reading abilities? Please check one: Not at all A little___ Somewhat Confident Mostly Very Are you motivated to read the books in English class? [...]
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