As I thoroughly believe that the key to successful education is engagement, I was fascinated by Appleman’s argument that multicultural literature assists in the understanding of similarities and differences in perspectives of students. I think we knew this, but to argue that Marxist criticism is a lens to facilitate that type of discussion with students who may not agree was new to me. I was fascinated by the real-life example and made immediate plans to include such an activity in my unit on identity.
I was equally excited about feminist theory, which I had never heard described as “read[ing] texts and worlds more carefully as they become aware of the ideologies” surrounding them (Appleman, 76). If our goal as teachers, which mine is, remains to demonstrate how and encourage students to investigate and form their own opinions, how could any classroom be complete without examining as many viewpoints as possible? Feminist theory fits right in.
I think that use of theory will broaden the perspectives of students, like those in Appleman’s Marxist example. My biggest concern would be the same as Tyson’s: fighting the stereotypes which surround theory, especially feminism. Yet, the simple facts could be engaging. Drug testing on males only?? (Tyson, 85) I’m pretty sure there are some opinions about that one.
Needless to say, my unit will incorporate as much theory as time will allow. Introducing it quickly will prevent boredom and using activities to illuminate questions will keep my personal views to a minimum. At the moment, my actual activities are vague or borrowed. Can we brainstorm any plans for units which are specific theory-based activities?