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ERIC Number: EJ779056
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0094-0771
Weaving Multicultural Literature into Middle School Curricula
Landt, Susan M.
Middle School Journal (J1), v39 n2 p19-24 Nov 2007
Middle school students are acutely aware of their social surroundings. In the process of emerging from childhood they attentively observe one another, looking for clues to belonging. Striving for independence from adult authority, young adolescents endeavor to blend in with their contemporaries. From clothes to music, from posture to attitude, middle school students are exploring. While peers have considerable influence, teachers are still a significant factor in students' lives. What teachers say and how they say it, what they include and what they leave out all have an impact on students' perceptions of what is right and how things should be. Teachers, serving as models, affect students beyond the intended lessons they teach. What is the message being sent when the only voices teachers advocate are from white middle class families? Middle school students, absorbing these unintended lessons, come to perceive white middle-class as normative and all other possibilities as atypical, different, unusual, other. This perception is reinforced when, in response to a holiday or a month dedicated to a specific group, teachers unearth the "appropriate" material to be taught and then promptly bury it until the following year. How can teachers avert this tendency in their teaching without either expanding the curriculum or eliminating other valuable content? A solution entails effectively melding literature featuring non-mainstream individuals with content area curriculum. To help teachers proceed toward this goal it is necessary to do two things: first, provide information about high-quality authentic literature representing all people; and second, demonstrate ways to naturally feature a variety of good literature within curriculum. In previous work, the author described important aspects of selecting multicultural literature. In this article, she shares specific ideas for weaving a few exemplary selections into content area curriculum at the middle level. (Contains 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A