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Multiethnic and Multicultural Literature. Providing a Broader World-View for Secondary Level Students. First things first: What is Multiethnic Literature?.

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multiethnic and multicultural literature

Multiethnic and Multicultural Literature

Providing a Broader World-View for Secondary Level Students

first things first what is multiethnic literature
First things first: What is Multiethnic Literature?
  • Stotsky (1994) defines Multiethnic Literature as that coming from second-generation descendents of immigrants, or by various groups of Native Americans
  • Both groups almost always write in English and participate legally, occupationally, and socially within our national framework
what is multicultural literature then
What is Multicultural Literature, then?
  • Multicultural Literature should encompass works that arise in the context of other cultures or people geographically separate from the fifty states of the United States of America.
  • Could also be referred to as Multinational or International Literature
benefits for students broader view of the world landt 2006
Benefits for Students: Broader View of the World (Landt, 2006)
  • Opens doors to other cultures, ideas, and insights
  • They get to see people their age meeting challenges and solving problems
  • Unfamiliar aspects of other cultures: dress, beliefs, and language are less foreign when viewed through the lens of familiar issues
  • It allows students to see that many different cultures have made contributions to the world, and we should celebrate these accomplishments
decreasing prejudice and misunderstandings
Decreasing Prejudice and Misunderstandings
  • When students reading about diverse cultures discover similarities with their own, they begin to look beyond the differences and take a step toward appreciating the cultural connectedness of all humanity
  • Heightens respect for individuals
  • Helps students realize that society has developed a value system that validates some differences and minimizes others. This system is based on ignorance and its existence promotes inequality
  • It encourages students to detect prejudice and to work toward its elimination
reflection of self
Reflection of Self
  • Students see themselves in their reading
  • Not seeing one’s self or representations of one’s culture in literature can activate feelings of marginalization and cause students to question their place within society
  • Seeing themselves or their culture represented in literature heightens student’s self-concept. Students realize that they have a cultural heritage of which they can be proud
choosing multiethnic or multicultural literature the guidelines
Choosing Multiethnic or Multicultural Literature: The Guidelines
  • 1. The accurate portrayal of the culture or cultures depicted in the book includes not only physical characteristics such as clothing and food, but relationships among people within the culture and with people of different cultures.
  • 2. There is diversity within the culture; characters are unique individuals, not stereo- typical representative
  • 3. Dialogue is culturally authentic with characters using speech that accurately represents their oral traditions. Non-English words are spelled and used correctly.
guidelines cont
Guidelines, cont.
  • 4. Realistic social issues and problems are de- picted frankly and accurately without oversimplification.
  • 5. Minority characters are shown as leaders within their community able to solve their own problems. Cultural minorities do not play a supporting or subservient role while whites are seen as possessing all the power.
how do i know what to choose
How Do I Know What to Choose?
  • Cultural Authenticity, that is, the accuracy of the lan-guage, customs, values, and history of the culture - can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine if one is not familiar with the culture depicted.
  • A good resource for finding culturally authentic literature are specific cultural awards
examples of cultural awards for ya literature
Examples of Cultural Awards for YA Literature
  • Coretta Scott King Award (African American)
  • The Pura Belpre Award (Latino/Latina)
  • Tomas Rivera Award (Mexican American)
  • Sydney Taylor Award (Jewish)
  • America’s Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States)
  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award (Most outstanding children’s book originally published in a foreign language and translated into English)
some things to consider
Some Things to Consider
  • Although presenting students with a wide range of minority leaders and heroes, Stotsky (1994) argues that students will gain an even broader world view if their literature shows that all groups have people who can be both admired or criticized
  • Also that different authors in a country’s mainstream literary tradition have held different points of view about members of particular religious or ethnic minority groups
things to consider cont
Things to Consider, cont.
  • An overdose of “white guilt” literature in the curriculum may cause students to develop a negative reason either to white America or to the authors and the groups featured in them depending on the social group in which they may see themselves as a member
bottom line
Bottom Line
  • Educators can approach teaching diverse YA literature from an overall “American imagination” angle, in that all authors, regardless of background, are fundamentally American.
  • This perspective allows students to see that they all have a basic bond, supporting their sense of social responsibility to each other despite racial, ethnic and religious differences
  • Explain to students that these different stories are all a part of the “American Experience”
works cited
Works Cited
  • Landt, S. (2006). Multicultural literature and young adolescents: a kaleidoscope of opportunity.Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(8), 690-697.
  • Stotsky, S. (1994). Academic guidelines for selecting multiethnic and multicultural literature. The English Journal, 83(2), 27-34.
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