In January I will be teaching APA to a class of undergrads. Here’s my presentation:
Teaching Social Justice and Democracy Through Young Adult Literature and the Pedagogical Approach of Critical Literacy
America has a problem. Presidential candidate Donald Trump galvanized his supporters, using the campaign slogan ‘Make America Great Again’. But ‘great’ by what yardstick? The 1940’s or 1950’s era? America has never been great, not for anyone but white (Christian) males. Since Trump’s election victory on November 8th, 2016, diverse groups across the country have expressed their fear for a growing imbalance in power relations, further marginalization within public domains, and discriminatory intrusions on their personal and collective freedoms (including restrictions on their movements). But perhaps a positive outcome of the 2016 election is that this problem – reactionary response against the dismantling of white (Christian) male privilege – has been brought out from the secret corners of the country into the light, now publicly visible where it can be addressed collectively towards a resolution that works for America’s diverse multicultural population as a whole. This same problem has also come to light in Canada since the US election, challenging Canadians towards a collective fix. How do we do this?
In the wake of Trump’s election victory, Harry Potter film star and United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson personally circulated copies of Maya Angelou books on the New York City subway, fostering the opportunity for empathy, enlightenment, healing and solidarity through literary engagement for a handful of lucky subway riders (Watson, 2016), and for 23.3 million more (her Twitter followers) through role-modeling and readers’ advisory by promoting this action via social media. Watson’s social action pinpoints some of the most valuable aspects of literature and reading as resources for affecting social justice: Their potential for building community, challenging the dominant worldview, and therapeutic effect, all critical for teaching and inspiring action towards social justice as a civic imperative and (re)constructing the personal and group processes/dynamics for achieving it.
Classrooms and libraries are ideal spaces for this pursuit, where teachers and students work collaboratively to engage with literature towards curriculum outcomes. [And with the US Common Core for K-12 education threatened by Trump’s selection of Becky deVos for Education Secretary, who is not in favour of the Common Core (deVos, 2016), libraries and librarians may play an increasingly important role in connecting young Americans with materials that foster their civic learning and engagement, inspiring them towards social action in pursuit of social justice.]
In this paper I explore the potential for teaching adolescents democratic processes and social justice experientially through literary engagement within learning communities, and I examine the enhanced benefits of young adult literature relative to other materials such as the classics in this learning. I describe the pedagogical strategy of critical literacy, which includes actively and collaboratively confronting embedded power relationships and the language that constructs power in both texts and literary engagement processes, and collectively recreating these structures of engagement within learning communities to maximize democratic participation and level privilege. Finally, I examine the model of African-American Freedom Schools (a Children’s Defense Fund program) as a case study for using literature and critical literacy to dismantle power structures and reconstruct self- and social-identity, mediating barriers to maximize positive freedoms within diverse communities of learners.
Here is the link to my journal blog on young adult literary: https://bookmarkedx.wordpress.com/
This journalblog explores my reactions.responses to my selected young adult titles, and defines my framework for collection development.
My book talk video assignment for LIS 515. In this video I discuss T. H. White’s The Once and Future King.
I created this blog as an assignment for the couse LIS 518.