ERIC Number: ED213647
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar-19
Reference Count: 0
Sensitizing Students to the Selective Tradition in Children's Literature.
In this paper, a professor discusses how he uses his college-level courses in children's literature as a vehicle through which the significance of selective tradition can be made apparent. Selected tradition is defined as an intentionally selected version of the past or present that is powerfully operative in the process of social and cultural identification. The primary teaching method is to have college students read children's books and discuss them in light of their own experience and in reference to additional information contained in articles or presented in lectures. To discuss sexism or racial stereotyping, the professor usually begins by having students read a book that is obviously and blatantly stereotyped such as Hogan's "Nicodemas and the Little Black Pig." Students then move on to study the pervasiveness of the stereotypes of the other books they have read and discuss the importance of balancing the reading of sexist material. Another effective strategy is to compare two books written about a similar subject, setting, and theme. For example, Forbes'"Johnny Tremain" depicts the American Revolution as an epic struggle pitting the forces of progress and virtue against those of evil tyranny and reaction. The fact that the struggle for liberty and freedom occurred at the very time that slavery was being institutionalized in many colonies is never mentioned in this book. In contrast Edwards'"When the World's On Fire" discusses the Revolutionary War from the point of view of a nine-year-old slave. Comparative reading of these books makes a deep impression on students, most of whom never thought to consider how a black person would have perceived the Revolutionary War. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 19, 1982).