Since there was a great number of topics covered in our reading this week, I thought I’d give a few points on each one. Overall, the focus would be to diversify the classroom, as I found myself struggling to do in only five weeks of instruction for my S of I.
Including psychoanalytic criticism seems even more important after talking to teachers at SWW. We already knew that teens are interested in teens, but to have it reenforced by teachers facilitating interdisciplinary classrooms was powerful for me. Teens want to read about themselves, write about themselves, talk about themselves. That is what they choose, if given the choice. So, our structure should be around those identity topics and psychoanalytic theory is a great investigation of those. Despite the difficulty for adminstrators, I think that classrooms should engage in discussions of gender roles and sexuality. Family structures, relationships and healthy choices may be difficult discussions also, but necessary for changing the repetitive nature of society.
African-American criticism was a little more difficult for me because I strongly believe that continuing to distinguish individuals by color is perpetuating discrimination in mulitple directions. I do not consider myself “white” and have difficulty being grouped with all other people who are “not-black”. Yet, I also strongly believe in celebrating cultures in literature classrooms. African-American culture deserves to be part of our examination, whether or not the class is primarily made up of students of African-American descent. In order to examine our own cultures, we should read multicultural works of students’ ethnic backgrounds, but we should also read works relating cultures students have yet to encounter. Based on the diversity of this nation, they will eventually.
Both of the articles/ handouts we read sparked the same reaction for me. If we know all this and have since at least the 1970’s and 80’s, why did my high school experience look similar to the 1960’s column? I found John Gatto’s article powerful, especially as it was directed to parents. How many parents would send their children to school for these lessons? Yet, what is the alternative?
** Finally, a note to LiLi and Mandy: I have my feedback for your units. If you want me to email you my comments, just send me a quick note (firstname.lastname@example.org).